careers and jobs in industry
You are a scientist or a researcher in Switzerland or abroad and you are looking for a job outside academia. Below is some basic information about research jobs and postdoc scientists positions in industry in Switzerland.
The Swiss economy is built on high-quality work and well-trained workers. The important areas for Swiss export are micro-technology, high technology, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, banking and insurance. There is a strong emphasis on research and development. A higher percentage of people work in research and development than in other industrialized countries. Therefore, Swiss industry offers many opportunities for PhDs and highly qualified people.
- Swiss industry needs qualified people at all levels. That means that you can find a job with a Masters degree or a PhD but also with longer research experience.
- For some jobs, companies prefer young people (Masters graduates), for other jobs, highly specialised people with research experience (PhDs, postdocs).
- The chance of finding employment depends on your background: It is generally easier to get a job with a degree in science or engineering than in the humanities, and it is a plus to already have work experience.
- Note: It is not necessarily a disadvantage to be a foreigner, especially if you are an EU/EFTA citizen. Switzerland does not have sufficient highly trained people especially in science and technology, and the Swiss economy relies on foreign employees. Find more information about work permits in the section Work and Residence Permit.
- It is certainly easier to find a job if you speak the local language. However, research teams are often international and the main language spoken is therefore English.
Jobs in industry are generally unlimited in time. (If not, the time frame will be indicated in the job advertisement.)
- Working conditions in industry are usually well-defined and details indicated in the contract of employment.
- Employees are generally employed 100% but part-time jobs are becoming more common. If you are employed less than 100%, then you work less; the percentage corresponds to the real attendance time and you are not expected to do overtime.
The salary depends on your exact position, your age and work experience, and on the company. As a PhD, the gross monthly wage starts at about CHF 6,000 but can be much higher. The salary must be indicated in the contract of employment. For more detailed information, see the salary section.
How to proceed?
Look for open positions in the major job portals. Also look on the webpages of companies that interest you; they sometimes have their own job portals. Apply for the jobs you are interested in. (See also how to apply in Switzerland). If you are a foreigner, the employer will take care of any visa formalities.