Nearly one in two Swiss companies are considering cutting their workforce in a bid to offset pessimistic economic growth prospects, according to a company survey.
The international consultancy company, Deloitte, says more than 60% of firms surveyed plan a hiring freeze and 57% want to freeze salary levels.
The study, conducted among 111 chief financial officers, was carried out in May and June.
Deloitte says the respondents represent all major sector of the Swiss economy, both listed and private companies.
“Swiss businesses are still adapting to the fallout from the removal of the exchange rate floor in January. And uncertainty is the major factor currently affecting CFO’s thinking and strategic outlook,” the report says.
Although there is more scope for optimism among the companies about the Swiss economy, compared with the first quarter of the year, a majority is still pessimistic.
The CFOs also expect the Swiss franc to remain at 1.04 to the euro over the next 12 months and reach 1.07 in the next three years.
In a similar vein, the Employers Organisation said it expected massive job cuts over the next nine months.
Its president, Valentin Vogt, was quoted as saying up to 30,000 jobs cut be lost if the Swiss franc remained at 1.05 to the euro.
“We expect a jobless rate of between 3.6% and 4% by the end of the year,” he told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper in June. The official rate currently stands at 3.1% according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.
However, the president of the Swiss National Bank, Thomas Jordan, in a speech last month said he expected the Swiss economy to grow slightly in the second half of the year mainly as a result of improved growth prospects at an international level.
At least 3,000 jobs have been cut because of the decision by the National Bank in January to lift the exchange rate floor, according a survey by the Trade Union Federation and quoted in the latest edition of the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch