Working in Geneva



Geneva houses several international organisations including the headquarters of the UN and Red Cross. Because of the abundance of international offices in the city, the chances for expat employment is also quite big. 

Employment Overview 

Who wouldn't want to establish a business in a city of strong financial standing and an environment where different cultures are respected?

Some of the big names that generate opportunities for numerous Swiss and expats are DHL, Lexmark International, Procter & Gamble, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Reuters, the list goes on. In fact, the list has about 130 multinational companies to it.

Geneva is also home to many international NGOs' (non-government organisations) headquarters, including no less than the United Nations and the Red Cross. Of the international ones, there are about 24. There are also 300 other NGOs and 200 diplomatic missions. Most of which require the skills of many expats moving to the city.

Other key sectors are private banking and watchmaking. Brands like Rolex and Omega have their headquarters and production facilities in the city of Geneva.

Despite the economic crisis plaguing the world, Geneva and the Swiss economy continue to stand firm as a hub of finance and services, and in turn, expat employment. Switzerland managed to keep a low unemployment rate of 3.1% as of July 2016.

In Geneva, an average of 6.3% of the population was registered as unemployed, which though considered higher than the country's is still considered manageable. A good 76% of the population still experiences the benefits of being employed in one of Switzerland's top cities.

The Swiss labour and immigration policies have a reputation of being strict and difficult. However, despite this, the number of foreign nationals working in the country continues to increase annually.

Switzerland has about 1.5 million foreign residents in the country, a number that greatly contributes to the country's outstanding economic status. The largest concentration of expatriates is found in the city of Geneva.

Securing a Work Permit 

As part of the European Union bilateral agreement, this guarantees free movement of EU nationals in Switzerland. They would find it easier to gain employment in Geneva as they are prioritised in being granted a work permit.

In connection to that, EU nationals also have the privilege to bring their families to Geneva, and an EU national's family is also able to work in Geneva, or in this case, anywhere else in Switzerland.

On the other hand, foreign workers would have to satisfy additional requirements to secure a work permit. For instance, it should be determined that no Swiss or EU national is qualified and available to take the post. Other additional documents would include recent bank statements and a report from a medical insurance company.

A foreign national must also acquire residency in Geneva and may be required to also present a copy of the employment contract with complete details of employment terms and job description.

Work Culture 

The average Swiss workweek is 40 to 42 hours, but the maximum hours for a week would be 45 hours. Annual leave starts at a minimum of 20 days or four weeks. Additional two three days are given for those getting married and one to three days for a death in the family.

There is no minimum wage in Geneva, and salary is rarely mentioned in job posts or ads. This is gauged based on an employee's age, experience, and skills in relevance to the job to be taken.

Punctuality in the workplace is strictly observed. The Swiss have a high respect for time, so make sure that you do not arrive even five minutes late for a meeting, presentation, or appointment.

The Swiss, though genial and courteous, are reserved and formal when it comes to business relationships. Avoid being too loud or excessively enthusiastic as this would not make a good first impression.

Although there is no dress code in the workplace, you are expected to at least be in smart casual attire. Torn jeans or clothes that are too revealing are definite no-nos.

Despite the fact that there's no minimum wage in Geneva, it has been determined that it is one of the cities in the world with the highest gross pay for any kind of profession. That plus a professional working environment, a variety of employment opportunities, and an overall pleasant city life may well be the perfect combo for a blissful expat life.



See more

Continue reading:

Working in Switzerland

Expat Services in Geneva