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Good times Swiss watch sector jobs up for first time in years

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Swiss watchmakers are concentrated in the Jura Arc, from Geneva to Basel, an area dubbed the "Watch Valley." 

(Keystone)

The workforce of Switzerland's watchmaking sector has grown for the first time in four years. At the end of September 2018, the industry's workforce stood at 57,812 workers, an increase of 2,868 jobs or 5.2% compared to 2017.

"This is the first time the numbers have risen in four years, after a loss of 4,168 units (-7.1%) between 2014 and 2017," said the Employers' Association of the Swiss Watch Industry (CP)external link, which presented its annual census on Monday.

The increase reflects the overall growth of Swiss watch exports in 2018 (+6.3%).

"The sector has almost compensated, in terms of personnel, for the losses suffered in recent years. Despite this good result, caution is still required," says the Employers' Agreement of the Swiss watch industry (CP) on Monday when presenting its annual census.

Most of the jobs created related to production staff  (+2,691 or +7.0%). The watchmaking industry also clocked a slight increase in the number of managers (+152) and administrative staff (+35).

The number of home-based staff fell by 10 units (-7.8%). "This development is not very significant, as home work is carried out by only about a hundred people," says the CP. The proportion of workers with a trades diploma increased by 5.7%, now representing 46.9% of the total workforce.

The top three watchmaking cantons in terms of number of employees remain Neuchâtel (15,289), Berne (12,228) and Geneva (10,077). Formed by these three cantons as well as Jura, Vaud and Solothurn, the "Watchmaking Arc" is home to 53,075 workers (nearly 92% of the total workforce).

The number of watchmaking companies in Switzerland has increased by 3.3% since the last census (694 compared to 672), mainly thanks to the opening of new points of sale, according to the CP.

Opportunities and uncertainties Mixed outlook for Swiss watchmakers

The Swiss watchmaking industry expects a continuing rise in exports next year but is concerned that the US protectionist trade policy.

This content was published on December 27, 2018 2:10 PM

SDA-Keystone/ds

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