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Switzerland to enjoy job boom in 2007

The search for a job should become easier according to the report

(Keystone)

Swiss firms are to create thousands of new jobs next year, according to a survey carried out by the Handelszeitung business newspaper.

The results come from a study of the top ten biggest companies in Switzerland, as well as the 25 firms listed on the Swiss blue-chip index - SMI.

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis is planning to recruit 300 people in the country, and 80 new posts are to be created at chemicals company Lonza, the newspaper reported.

Zurich Financial Services is intending to add 110 jobs and up to 200 jobs are foreseen at the Manor department store group.

The country's largest employer, supermarket Migros, is also employing, as are SMI companies Syngenta, Adecco, Nestlé and Givaudan.

Not included in the survey were small and medium-sized businesses, which make up the backbone of the Swiss economy, and Swiss subsidiaries of international companies.

But not all firms are on an expansion course. The paper noted that some large firms – including Clariant, Swiss Re and Swisscom - were shedding jobs. State-owned enterprises Swiss Federal Railways and Swiss Post have also announced job cuts.

The paper said in its commentary that there was a tendency to report on jobs cuts affecting the country without considering that new posts were actually being created. But it warned there were still employment problems.

Job woes

According to the report, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) says that 11,200 jobs in Switzerland are currently vacant – 20 per cent more than last year.

There is a lack of highly qualified specialists and gaps are often filled with people from abroad.

Experts believe the problem could get worse. "This could lead to productivity bottlenecks and could even slow down the economy if personnel cannot even be found abroad," Thomas Daum, head of Swiss Employers Association, told the Handelszeitung.

Seco said that good employee training was needed and should continue throughout the career.

Seco believes that the unemployment rate – currently at 3.1 per cent – could sink next year to 2.8 per cent. The trend could continue in the near future.

"I do not rule out an unemployment rate of under two per cent," the head of labour at Seco, Jean-Luc Nordmann, was quoted as saying.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

October unemployment figures:
Unemployment rate: 3.1 per cent
Jobseekers: 186,149
Vacant jobs: 11,203

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