The economy must keep older workers on board to squeeze the maximum potential from the local labour force, according to the Swiss Employers’ Association.
“The aging population and the popular decision to limit immigration has set the Swiss economy a Herculean task,” said association president Valentin Vogt on Tuesday. He was speaking at a press conference held in conjunction with the think-tank Avenir Suisse and Swissmem, the umbrella organisation for 1,000 companies in the machine industry.
“The baby boomers are about to retire. We have to find ways to compensate for this structural shortage,” Vogt said.
Those employed to replace the retirees could be from Switzerland or abroad, the Swiss Employers’ Association says. However, the local workforce offers limited options.
Currently, about 70% of the Swiss labour force is from Switzerland. The association describes this as an “extraordinarily high [percentage]” which includes the over 60s.
Women also account for over 60% of people working part time in Switzerland, a rate much higher than in nearly all other European countries.
In this context, Vogt’s organisation supports employers in their efforts to maintain the productivity and employment of workers over 60. Yet he notes that companies often face regulations contrary to their interests.
The association has called for fiscal measures to eliminate disincentives with regard to the professional activity – a topic expected to come up at the upcoming national conference on elderly workers in April. At the forum, it hopes to consolidate measures already undertaken but refuses new initiatives such as extra protection against the redundancies of elderly workers.
The Swiss Employers’ Union counts about 80 regional employers’ organisations and many individual companies as members. It represents more than 100,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises, employing nearly two million workers.