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Foreign workers

Job indicator developed to guide quota decision

In the wake of a Swiss vote to limit immigration from the European Union, canton Zurich’s Office for Economy and Labour has developed an indicator showing which jobs have the most and least demand for foreign workers. Doctors are in highest demand, while cashiers and customer service workers are least needed. 

The indicator is based around four criteria: how difficult it is to recruit personnel, the relationship between the number of open jobs in a field and the number of people seeking jobs, how long jobs in the field remain advertised and how long people spend looking for jobs. 

In general, the indicator shows that jobs requiring specific skills and a higher level of education see the greatest demand for workers on the Swiss market. Many of those, such as doctors and software developers, have traditionally been filled by foreign workers.

The indicator was created to help politicians decide how to implement the terms of a February 2014 vote on limiting immigrants from the European Union. Last week, the Political Institutions Committee, made up of members of the Senate and House of Representatives, suggested a compromise whereby indigenous workers would get priority on the job market through a requirement that jobs first be advertised regionally. 

Parliament will consider that measure and other ways to implement the 2014 vote during its upcoming session.

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