Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2023

Findings for Switzerland

What’s concerning the Swiss workforce?

With the war for talent and employee motivation high on the corporate agenda, organisations need reliable intelligence on the hopes and fears of the workforce.

In April 2023, PwC surveyed 1,070 individuals in Switzerland who are in work or active in the labour market. This was part of the Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey of 53,912 people, one of the largest such studies of its kind. Both in Switzerland and globally, the sample was designed to reflect a range of industries, demographic characteristics and working patterns. The Swiss cut yields a nuanced picture of the issues concerning working people in Switzerland.

Here are the main findings of the Swiss survey:

Hopes and Fears Survey - Swiss findings

Hopes and Fears Survey​

Swiss findings. Interested to download the report with all our latest findings?

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Mood: employees are concerned and restless

The cost of living has become a real issue for working people in Switzerland. Of those polled, 58% say they’re struggling financially and 23% have taken on more than one job. Workers are also worried about the future. Around three in ten think their company won’t survive beyond a decade if it sticks to its current path. Over 4 in 10 think their company is not addressing or not doing enough on climate change.

Amid these growing concerns, employees in Switzerland are seeking to improve their situation. Compared with 2022 they’re even more likely over the next 12 months to ask for a raise in pay (36%), or promotion (27%) or try to change employer (28%).

The message for employers is clear: you can’t take your workforce for granted. Employees with financial concerns are less likely to be productive, and with competition for talent remaining strong, employees are more likely to jump ship.

Skills: lack of readiness for disruption

Workers in Switzerland are less prepared than others around the world for disruption to skills. Only 34% expect the skills their job requires to change significantly over the next five years, versus 43% globally.

What’s more, employees whose roles don’t require specialist skills (half of the workforce) are much less likely to have a sense of how skills will change (14%) than those whose roles do require such skills (50%). The problem is that it’s employees without specialist skills who are most at risk of displacement and most in need of reskilling.

Meanwhile, companies risk not having a sufficient supply of the skills they’ll need for transformation, especially green skills.

One way companies might be better able to find the talent they need is by shifting to skills-based hiring from approaches relying on educational qualifications. One-third of employees think their skills are not clear from their qualifications and job history.

The workforce in Switzerland would like a higher salary, meaningful, fulfilling work, and opportunities to develop their skills

Myriam Denk, Co-Lead People and Organisation, PwC Switzerland

Work environment: culture can be a catalyst for change

Managers are stifling innovation. Around 56% of employees in Switzerland say their managers don’t typically encourage dissent and debate, and 58% say their managers don’t generally tolerate small-scale failures.

Less than half of respondents think their managers are fair, competent, predictable, communicative and act with integrity. These figures are worse than the results at a global level. Switzerland is lagging on promoting women—only 28% of female employees are in manager roles or above compared with 48% of men (globally 37% of women are in manager roles or above).

On the flipside employees are not stepping up. Only 43% say they are likely to take on extra responsibilities (50% globally) and a mere 25% would tend to advocate for their company publicly (34% globally).

All this suggests that companies need to focus on leadership and culture if they want their people to be at their best.

Tech: workers aren’t afraid of AI

There’s been a lot of anticipation and concern around the impact of breakthroughs in generative artificial intelligence (AI) on jobs. Employees in Switzerland think that AI will mostly have positive impacts on their jobs, with 43% of respondents selecting at least one positive statement about the impact of AI compared with only 29% who chose at least one negative statement. But the Swiss workforce is more cautious than the global response (52% positive, 35% negative).

Companies should encourage the adoption of the new technologies (within clear parameters) while reassuring those who are apprehensive about the changes ‒ and doubling down on training in the human skills people will need to work with AI.

Despite positive steps, Swiss employers are often behind international peers in making their workplaces more diverse and inclusive and in advancing women into leadership roles. Based on these figures, there’s work to be done to enhance the experience of female employees.

Adrian Jones, Co-Lead People and Organisation, PwC Switzerland


Contact us

Myriam Denk

Myriam Denk

Partner, People and Organisation, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 26 53

Adrian Jones

Adrian Jones

Partner, People and Organisation, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 40 13

Tobias Sattler

Tobias Sattler

Managing Director, People and Organisation, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 91 44