Foreigners are more and more frequently being recruited to Switzerland to occupy well-paid jobs. Especially in the major Swiss companies almost 50% of management are from abroad. Having foreign managers in Swiss companies is an established tradition and provides great influence for these in the commercial daily life. It is for instance seen in companies such as Henri (Nestlé – food and beverages) and Nicolas Hayek (watches) and many others.
Full employment in Switzerland
The Swiss labour market has limited resources when it comes to manpower, therefore many companies recruit employees from abroad. In this way, the companies achieve international competencies and remain competitive.
Big companies in Switzerland
Among the world’s 20 largest companies, Switzerland has three members: Nestlé, Roche (pharmaceutical Co.) and Novartis (pharmaceutical Co. as well). These three companies altogether with the two big banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, tend to hire many foreigners, i.e. expats.
Schooling in Switzerland
In order for an expat family to function well on a long-term basis, it is important not only for the parents but also for the children to be well integrated. The children’s schooling is therefore very important. Many expat families have to consider what is the better choice for the children; either a local or an international school.
International schooling is expensive
At an international school, the teaching is primarily held in a foreign language, typically English and not German. If the family is staying in Switzerland for a shorter period, this might be a good solution especially for bilingual families. However, one should keep in mind that international schools are liable and expensive compared to public schools in Switzerland.
International high schools in Switzerland
The curriculum at an international school contains several subjects including German. The final exam in most schools contain an international baccalaureate.
International schools in Switzerland
There are about 40 international schools in Switzerland that are organized under an umbrella organization called “Swiss Group of International Schools SSGIS“. In Canton Zurich there are around 3,400 pupils in international schools. This represents approximately 1.9% of all school children in the canton.
In 2011, the politicians in Canton Zurich decided that certain conditions must be met in order to send children to an international school. These conditions are:
- If parents only live temporarily in the canton
- If parents can make it probable that they will take up residence in another country with a foreign language
- If a school-applying child is planning to complete an education in countries with foreign languages
It is not inconceivable that other cantons follow this development so as to harmonise the schooling throughout Switzerland.