Swiss Business Group Sounds Alarm Over Labour Shortages

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In Switzerland, many companies are understaffed and unable to fill certain positions, across almost all sectors. At a press event in Bern on Monday, the Swiss corporate lobby group economiesuisse and its partners warned about the consequences of the worsening skills shortages.

Demographic trends are the main concern among business circles, says economiesuisse. In the coming years, the retirement of so-called “baby boomers” – people born between 1946-1964 – will not be offset by younger workers, economiesuisse President Christoph Mäder told reporters.

The lobby group estimates a shortfall of 431,000 people on the Swiss labour market between now and 2040, the equivalent of 8% of the working population.

This represents a challenge not only for businesses, but also for the financing of Swiss pensions, Mäder said.

Solutions to overcome labour shortages

The free movement of persons model has “proved its worth” and should be maintained, say economiesuisse, the Swiss Employers’ Association and the Swiss Textiles association. But the organisations believe that immigration alone will not fill the growing gap in the labour market.

They propose efforts to increase Swiss productivity, which would in turn lead to higher wages. Switzerland must also invest more in research and innovation and regulate less, they argue.

The economy also needs to make better use of people currently living in Switzerland. And efforts must be made to improve the family-work balance, and create further incentives to keep older workers in the labour market for longer, say business groups.

They also urge the federal government, cantons and state-run industries to curb recent strong employment growth in the numbers of civil servants and government officials, which they say is taking valuable skills away from private industry.

Source : SwissInfo