Technology continues to disrupt industries across the world in numerous ways; for example, the mobile phone changed the way we communicate. Then came cross-platform messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, which nearly killed SMS. But disruptive technology doesn’t just involve replacing existing technologies; it also creates new marketplaces in itself, like Apple’s App Store and ss technology has continued to disrupt modern society, countries have been racing to keep up. Switzerland is rated the world’s most innovative country, and is leading the way with blockchain and fintech. But why Switzerland? Heinz Tännler, President of the Swiss Blockchain Federation offers the suggestion that start-ups are attracted to Switzerland due to its legal security, world-class infrastructure and the “Crypto Valley’s” strong ecosystem. What also makes Switzerland stand out is the government’s willingness to adopt and adapt to these industry-disrupting technologies as they emerge. It’s important to consider what’s happening in three key industries in Switzerland including fintech, cryptocurrency and blockchain, what led to their rise and the future of these industries within Switzerland. Fintech The popularity of fintech in Switzerland is no surprise. The nation is a world leader in financial services, featuring an array of financial institutions and a corresponding rise in innovative banking software. In addition, huge tech corporations such as Google and IBM have set up base in Switzerland. A lot of the fresh talent can be accounted for by Zurich and Lausanne’s first-class international universities for technology and engineering – a promising factor which may lead to the rise of innovation in the future of technology in Switzerland. This talent surplus is aided by the country’s high quality of life and salaries, attracting international talent and retaining more Swiss grads. Fintech’s current state in Switzerland sees it act as a home to 10% of all global European fintech enterprises with 46% of those in Zurich and 30% of these offering financial services. This can be explained by the fact that Switzerland supports fintech innovation through its financial market laws and the attractively low tax model for start-ups — leaving innovators feeling supported and encouraged. So what has the Swiss government been doing to aid the growth on fintech in the country? Thanks to The Federal Council’s sandbox exemption the start-up process is becoming more streamlined in Switzerland compared to other European countries. This means that under the Banking Act, public deposits that equal CHF 1 million or less won’t require a license requirement, and as of April 1st, 2019 this law has been extended for crowdlending business models as part of the Consumer Credits Act. The new fintech licence also became active as of the 1 st of January, 2019 which saw more lenient requirements when compared to fully-fledged banking licences — for instance, no interest needs to be paid on deposits and there are additional safeguards for customers. Government interest in the continued growth of fintech with these new laws and the rise of new talent, means it’s no surprise that investors are biting — in particular, venture capital giants such as Index Ventures and Google Ventures. Because of the focus on expanding this sector of finance Investments in Swiss start-ups hit the billion mark in 2018, with fintech accounting for CHF 685 million of this, making it Switzerland’s largest venture capital sector. These investments are only likely to increase, and with it, further advancements in fintech thanks to exaggerated buoyancy of government interests. Cryptocurrency Zug, Switzerland’s fastest-growing cryptocurrency hotspot, nicknamed “Crypto valley” has seen billions invested in the sector in just the last few years. Cryptocurrency has revolutionised financial services with its game-changing potential to increase efficiencies and decentralise services. Zug hosts low tax rates — the entire canton charges 14% corporation tax, making it an ideal spot to build a business. Innovators seem to agree as Zug had over 750 companies with over 3,300 employees registered in it by the end of 2018. To keep Switzerland at the forefront of finance innovation the government ensures the crypto-movement in Zurich, and other leading cities in Switzerland, thrives doing so with its’ advantageous elements of digital privacy, a stable economy and supportive IT laws, when compared to other European countries. In addition, companies have begun to form clusters to innovate their services to offer unique expertise in cryptographic and security issues. The Swiss government is clear in its stance to embrace all forms of technical innovations, shown through the way cryptocurrencies are treated as foreign currency, meaning there is no special law based around them. In fact, Zug became the first region in the world to accept bitcoin as a form of payment for a range of governmental services and in politics, and has just successfully completed a trial of blockchain-based voting. Furthermore, it established a digital identity system built on Ethereum as part of the new “e-government” initiative which offered blockchain-based digital IDs for the 30,000 employees working in the Swiss Federal Railway. Switzerland continues to integrate cryptocurrency into businesses, and even into government, due to its low security risk and high accessibility. Blockchain The biggest stakeholder in blockchain development is Switzerland’s affluent financial sector, one of the largest and most diverse in the world. SIX Group, which owns Switzerland’s Stock Exchange, is at present building a trading infrastructure for digital assets using blockchain technology. The government is also updating financial and corporate regulations to support blockchain advancements. Oliver Bussmann, president of the Crypto Valley Association has said that Switzerland is “a global leading ecosystem for blockchain technology. To establish that, you have to work on all dimensions: start-ups, investors, governments, corporations, R&D etc. You have to bring them together.” These factors are exactly what Switzerland’s government has considered and incorporated with the introduction of ICOs, which allow start-ups to sell digital crypto tokens to investors globally online and have accounted for over $9 billion in assets last year. Financial security is of utmost importance in fintech, and blockchain technology provides this along with five other sources of value. These include: 1. Simplification of internal operating procedures 2. Time-saving financial transactions 3. Optimised use of a company’s liquid assets 4. Reduced risk of fraud and efficient regulator 5. Supervised financial firm interactions Blockchain technology is still being developed and refined every day. It has countless possibilities for growth within the fintech industry and Switzerland’s governing parties are keen to play a leading role in cultivating innovation within its businesses. Disruptive industries still require established recruitment Swisslinx are market leaders in recruiting for the technology sector and financial services. We have been an established part of the recruitment landscape since 1999 and have successfully placed thousands of candidates in technology and finance roles, winning countless awards while doing so. We also have offices internationally and a home office in the heart of innovation capital, Zurich. Our expert consultants on hand are equipped to hire the best financial services and technology candidates for your company while being trained and steered by industry-leading experts so you can recruit reliably with Swisslinx. If you’re interested in working in these booming industries, we have exciting roles available in key tech hotspots in Switzerland, Germany and Dubai. Apply for a role with us today.
Doing business in Dubai: Trends and developments to keep an eye on Dubai has become an increasingly desirable location in which to live and work, with a competitive and diverse business landscape. New developments announced by the government look set to continue the emirate’s upward trajectory as a fully-fledged global business capital, and at Swisslinx we’re excited to continue expanding in this part of the world. With exciting developments in tech entrepreneurship, oil and gas movements and a booming finance sector, there’s plenty to keep an eye on. Here are some of our highlights: A growing market As the biggest re-exporting centre in the Middle East, Dubai’s economy has become more dynamic and diversified in recent years, with international trade growing at an average of more than 11% each year since 1998. The emirate also recorded 41% year-on-year growth in foreign direct investment in 2018, creating around 25,000 new jobs and reflecting investors’ optimism in the future of the local economy. As the leading hub for finance and transportation in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Dubai is also ranked in the first quartile for business activity, human capital, information exchange and cultural exchange. It hosts the headquarters for most major international corporations based in the GCC and is an international tourism destination, with entrepreneurship and private investments beginning to emerge to shape a culture of innovation. Alongside that, the UAE has reached the 11th rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business list for 2019 thanks to its modern infrastructure, supportive legislature and access to networking opportunities. Put simply, the Dubai business market is expanding in many different directions, making it an exciting time to be doing business in this part of the world. The emergence of tech entrepreneurship Early-stage start-ups make up nearly half of all companies registered in Dubai, according to Dubai Statistics Sector, with accelerators and incubators emerging at pace. The UAE sees high levels of commitment from the government and independent programmes to support the tech ecosystem, with Dubai Future Foundation and Dubai Future Accelerators supporting growth in innovation. Alongside incubators are initiatives such as the STEP Conference and GITEX Technology week, providing entrepreneurs and start-ups with the ability to showcase their work and engage with investors. Banking and finance gain steam The financial services market has long been a key pillar of Dubai’s economy, and this shows no sign of abating. So far this year we’ve seen the launch of a project aimed at providing 1,500 banking and finance jobs to Emirati citizens within 100 days and plans to triple the size of Dubai’s financial district (DIFC). This expansion is part of a move to cement Dubai’s position as an economic and commercial hub for the region, adding 13 million square feet to the existing Dubai International Financial Center. The DIFC investment hub is already high-performing, reporting its best-ever year for new company registrations in 2018 with a total of 437 new registrations. This saw an 11% rise in net profits for the year, taking the number of registered financial companies to 625. Transformation is ongoing within the UAE banking sector, with banks operating with high capital and a positive outlook for the sector both now and into the future. Oil and gas continues to recover As a major oil and gas hub globally, it’s no surprise that the UAE’s presence in this sector remains strong. After a well-documented price slump in late 2014 the market has recently shown continued stability with the current brent crude price averaging USD $67 - $71. The sector has seen a recent increase in exploration investment, demonstrating a renewed confidence in the market. The GCC has USD $835bn worth of active oil and gas construction projects underway currently. Development of the region’s major players is ongoing. Aramco has announced an expansion into international oil and gas exploration, likely putting them in direct competition with Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, while ADNOC is actively seeking venture partners for its 2030 growth strategy. Such large-scale projects and ongoing investment in oil and gas suggests a burgeoning employment space for both local and international candidates. How Swisslinx can help you Established in 2007, our Dubai office has a focus on the Banking & Finance, Technology and Oil & Gas sectors in the Middle East and North Africa. Based in the DIFC, we have access to the huge number of opportunities available to clients and candidates here, keeping ahead of updated and trends within this part of the market. Our multilingual team of specialists are considered experts in their respective markets and have experience in recruiting for all levels of seniority up to and including C-Suite and Board Level. Our consultants have access to the most up-to-date information regarding the market and offer the best local advice possible to our candidates and clients. Get in touch with our Dubai office or view our latest jobs in Dubai and the UAE.
Doing business in Zurich: Trends to watch out for Since being named as the world’s most sustainable city in 2016, Zurich hasn’t rested on its laurels, continuing to flourish as a place to both live and work. The social, environmental, and economic factors that led to the award are things that the city has long been revered for, but it’s not something that’s happened by accident. With a desire to maintain its reputation as a “centre of economic life and education” (a line coined by the official tourist site myswitzerland.com), investment in Zurich’s local infrastructure continues at pace, while being conscious of its environmental impact; the city is one of the lowest generators of emissions and consumers of water in Europe. Why Zurich attracts businesses and people While it’s regularly ranked as the second-most competitive financial centre in Europe behind London, uncertainties around the future of the UK could well play into Zurich’s hands. Already home to 10 of the world’s largest financial firms, the engineering hubs of tech giants and a giant data centre industry, a local startup scene has emerged attracting talent from amongst the 60,000 students who call the city home. While some will naturally be keen to move into an established household name business when they come out of education, the chance to be a part of something new and exciting is just as attractive to the modern workforce. Zurich offers the best of both worlds. Zurich’s low rate of 3.0% unemployment is on a par with the national average, below that of Basel (3.6%) and Geneva (4.9%) and far better than the European average of 6.8%. The business setup is there to cope, no matter how many people want to call the city home! Sensible city planning Of the 425k people who currently call Zurich home, 68% of them are of working age. That’s 2% above the national average in Switzerland and 3% above European averages. Those may sound like small margins, but in a city that’s seen annual population increases of 1.8% over the past decade, it may look from the outside to be a growing city with limited space to expand. In other regions that could create some serious logistical nightmare — over-urbanisation has a habit of pushing the cost of living way up — however, Zurich isn’t just any other city. The planning department at the City of Zurich recognised this trend well before it became a problem, implementing an active policy to make better use of abandoned industrial sites to provide affordable studio spaces and rehearsal rooms. This has seen great redevelopment in Zurich-West, where the former derelict buildings are becoming lively spaces full of contemporary art. Refurbished shipping containers have become pop-up retail spaces and dingy back streets and railway arches now house some of the most desirable restaurants and cafes in the city. Providing a launchpad While Zurich is home to many large corporate financial services organisations, such as UBS, Credit Suisse, Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance, it’s increasingly becoming known for its positive startup environment. Areas like Kreis 5 provide the perfect spot for coworking, and the many meetups, tech conferences and incubator schemes have helped fuel the thriving startup scene. With the close proximity to those making financial decisions, some for these companies can be expected to break out of startup mode in the coming years. Exactly who it will be is a matter for debate, but there are some strong contenders. Of course, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, and within the financial sector companies such as Advanon and Wefox are attempting to challenge the traditional norms of the industry. The medical folk are arguably even more active when it comes to innovation, with Ava becoming a vital service for women across the world, and Versantis, Xeltis and Cutiss showing strength in the pharma and medical devices field. Whether it’s Selfnation in fashion, ComfyLight in home security, Nezasa in travel or Beekeeper in employee communication, every corner of the city has a potential ‘next big thing’ on its hands. For any company considering where to base their HQ, Zurich surely must close to the top of the list. Make your business move with Swisslinx As a specialist recruitment company providing talent solutions across Switzerland and internationally, we’re proud to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and recruitment trends. With a Zurich base, we are active partners to new startups and larger organisations emerging in the city, and have a thriving network of skilled, vetted candidates ready to make their mark in this market. Find out more about what we offer here.
Embracing new technologies will help your career in healthcare and life sciences The impact of digital technologies is being felt in nearly every industry around the world, and healthcare and life sciences are no exception. With the advancement of technology accelerating and the costs of software and hardware plummeting – it’s no surprise that the role of tech in healthcare is set to increase in the coming years. So what are the areas you should expect to see growing within the healthcare and life sciences industry? How will Artificial Intelligence have an impact on healthcare and life science? AI has enormous potential for the healthcare and life sciences industry, with machine learning technology poised to radicalise how the market operates. Increasingly intelligent machines can access, interpret and process R&D data that has previously been siloed, allowing for greater personalisation across the industry. This enables researchers to better understand biological information, in turn helping them to develop more targeted – and effective – therapies. We can expect to see automation play a bigger part in drug discovery and development processes, with smart machines learning how to complete routine knowledge work in order to free up human experts for value-added work. Automation can be used to hit key stages – such as hypothesis to target, target to hit – faster, saving time and money for life science organisations. Already we’ve seen Oxford researchers develop AI to diagnose scans for heart disease and lung cancer, and connected devices being used in the homes of patients the world over to feed their data through to care practitioners, creating better monitoring environments and earlier interventions. Blockchain’s global impact on life science and healthcare Blockchain’s use in life sciences and healthcare can lead to enhanced collaboration, traceability, trust and auditability, according to Deloitte, with the data sharing and authentication technology touching functions including clinical trials, claims processing, supply chain management and financial transactions. Blockchain will also have an impact on handling identity, allowing electronic health records to be combined into a single patient record that is shared system-wide without the loss of privacy or security. This will give patients full access to their own data and introduce a less fragmented system of tracking information across different providers. Blockchain can work alongside other technologies, including wearables, to securely collect detailed, real-time medical information from patients that can then be timestamped and made immutable. Blockchain has enormous potential when it comes to streamlining and enhancing communication in the entire life sciences and healthcare ecosystem, but this relies on the adoption and trust of stakeholders – including healthcare professionals, drug developers and patients themselves. The benefits of Virtual and Augmented Reality in healthcare and life sciences Augmented and virtual reality have numerous practical applications within life sciences, most obviously when it comes to allowing patients and professionals to visualise and practice situations in a ‘real world’ setting. Immersive AR and VR tools are already going beyond simple gameplay to more practical, progressive applications. AR and VR technologies will allow people to explore ‘what-if’ scenarios and practice new techniques in a digital reality. From a consumer perspective, digital reality can be used to assist patients to carry out exercise and therapy programmes in the comfort of their own homes. Meanwhile, such technology can help surgeons to prepare for and perform surgery, with German company ApoQlar developing a Virtual Surgery Intelligence tool to render MRI and CT images in 3D. So what does this mean for candidates? The innovation of technology is already beginning to touch so many different parts of healthcare and life sciences it’s clear anyone working within or looking to break into this industry must have a willingness to adapt and take digital developments onboard. Move forward with your healthcare and life sciences career. Contact us to see how we can help, or view our latest jobs. here.