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Why recruitment can never be fully automated

Research shows that approximately 1.2 million jobs in Switzerland could be replaced by computer systems, algorithms and robots. However, the roles typically identified as being ‘at risk’ include bar staff, security guards and drivers – not recruitment professionals. On top of that, there are predictions that robotics and automation can exist alongside human professionals, enhancing their work rather than replacing them entirely.   Though AI has permeated every industry and there’s much reservation surrounding the technology, there are many benefits of automation - particularly for recruitment teams. That being said, recruitment remains a fundamentally relationship-led process that machines will never be able to replicate. Here’s why recruitment can never be fully automated and how AI can instead enable companies to redefine their talent acquisition strategies.   Benefits of new technologies While the human touch of recruitment can never be replicated, there are many ways that automation can help. One instance is AI-powered HR technology tools, which can reduce time to hire and improve the quality of hire simultaneously. AI tools and systems help recruitment professionals to sort through large volumes of applications and identify high-quality candidates – two major challenges that many consultants have faced in the wake of coronavirus. Prior to the outbreak of the virus, many companies were already using such technologies and the pandemic has triggered a widespread adoption of the technology, increasing investment in video interviewing software and virtual assistants.   In McKinsey’s The future of work: Switzerland’s digital opportunity report, results revealed that machine learning could increase the potential for automation of retail recruitment to 60% and to an even higher 66% for finance and insurance. So, how will it do this?   How automation and machine learning can help with the recruitment process People Analytics Recruitment has always been data-rich, but candidate information has traditionally been used to distinguish applicants from one another. The introduction of people analytics has enhanced this, repurposing data to predict what a successful candidate look likes. People analytics – similar to data analytics - tracks high-quality candidates and uses this information to create a personality matrix that predicts future successful hires. But while research from Deloitte found that 71% of businesses agree people analytics is high-priority, how much trust can you really place in a data algorithm?   Writing inclusive job descriptions Various AI tools can help with creating job descriptions using inclusive language such as gender-neutral keywords. As research shows that diversity drives financial progress, there’s more than one incentive for companies to strive for a diverse workforce. This application of AI technology demonstrates how automation will continue to benefit the hiring process and wider business goals by lowering the chance of using biased language.   Recruitment during Covid-19 AI-powered systems have proved their worth during the pandemic, preventing recruitment from coming to an altogether standstill and earning a permanent spot in the recruiter’s tech stack. As a result, the pandemic has accelerated the automation of recruitment, but it’s also exposed the crucial role of the recruiter.   The human element The human element of recruitment is about building relationships. Automation tools take admin tasks off the hands of the recruiter - particularly during the earlier stages of the recruitment process. Hiring teams can then reallocate this time to engage with the candidates who are further along in the process and perhaps more qualified for the role. Therefore, experienced consultants are essential when identifying high-quality candidates and during the executive search process – offering a human touch that automation cannot imitate.   Relationship-driven recruitment creates a superior candidate experience which is a crucial talent attraction strategy in a climate with a ‘war for talent’. Specialist recruiters are trusted to create, develop, enhance and maintain relevant talent pipelines so that companies have access to the best candidates from the talent pool. Whether the talent attraction goal is to ensure cultural fit, tackle D&I targets or source fresh talent from new markets, the human element remains the key piece to the puzzle.   AI and machine learning are enhancing the role of the recruiter Though 24% of Swiss employees fear that robots will replace them in their job, this view fails to consider how AI and machine learning can enhance their job role. Hiring professionals can harness technology to see better results in both their time-to-hire and in identifying high-quality candidates. Before the start of the decade, the job market had confidently established itself as candidate-driven, but now most recruiters and employers are faced with the challenge of sorting through high volumes of applications. This is where technology can help to streamline recruitment, whilst allowing consultants to focus on the core relationship-building and communication elements of the process.     Working in harmony with automation A recent report by Deloitte projected that 270,000 new jobs will be introduced in Switzerland by 2025 - the majority created by automation. The key takeaway is that AI technology doesn’t replace skilled professionals - rather, skilled hiring teams are needed to interpret the data that AI generates and add the personal touch. Though it’s still unclear to what extent recruitment will become automated, the role of the recruiter will remain an important one and will never be fully replaced by robots.   Stay ahead of the curve with Swisslinx At Swisslinx, our international team of consultants make sure to keep stay ahead of the curve, despite operating in an ever-changing recruitment landscape. Our deep understanding of our core recruitment markets and considerate approach to communication means we provide a service that is unrivalled by any technology. Contact us to find out how we can tailor our approach to suit your businesses needs.

How do you know you’re working with the right recruitment partner?

Anyone who’s ever worked a recruitment agency will know that no two companies are the same. This is due to many factors: agency size, local and international knowledge, access to roles and candidates and use of technology are just a few. One of the biggest differentiators amongst recruitment agencies is the emphasis they place on recruitment standards. The recruitment industry is large, with relatively few bars to entry. As of 2018, there were around 800 recruitment agencies in Switzerland, employing approximately 5,000 consultants to place 340,000 temporary workers each year. It’s an important industry that makes a valuable contribution to the Swiss employment market and therefore economy, but how do candidates and clients know that the recruitment partner they choose to work with is upholding high standards and providing the best possible recruitment experience? What do high standards in recruitment look like? What makes a good recruitment experience? For a candidate, this comes down to several things, including: <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Relationship building: A good recruitment consultant will treat their candidates like professionals, not commodities. Look for a consultant who takes the time to understand your career goals, both long-term and short-term, and listens to what you’re looking for in your next role. A relationship between recruitment consultant and candidate can span years or even decades and can provide crucial guidance and support outside of simply finding new roles. <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Market insights: A recruitment professional should be interested – in the candidate’s wants and needs, in the market, and it the roles they recruit for. Look for a consultant who is passionate about what they do and the sectors they work in, as they’ll likely go the extra mile to find the right move for you. They should also understand trends and developments in the market to help guide you through the recruitment process. How do you know you’re working with the right recruitment partner? Many clients want to build-long term partnerships with recruitment agencies they trust and can rely on. So what should these clients look out for? <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Industry expertise: While generalist recruitment agencies have their place, many organisations benefit from working with an agency that has specific experience in the sectors they operate in, whether that’s financial services, healthcare or technology. Look for consultants who know their markets inside and out, can advise on current trends and know who the best candidates in your sector are. <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->An extensive talent pool: A good recruitment agency can be judged by the depth and breadth of its talent pool. They should be able to access not only active candidates readily looking for opportunities, but also those high-level passive candidates who you would not otherwise be able to engage with. A good recruitment company will have existing relationships with professionals who might just be the perfect ft for your role. <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Honesty and integrity: Recruitment agencies are increasingly being seen as strategic partners for organisations, rather than just supply lines. To be able to build this partnership, an agency must work with honesty and integrity, clearly communicating with both candidate and client and ensuring the recruitment experience is a positive one for all parties involved. Swisslinx is leading the way in recruitment standards At Swisslinx, we have in-depth industry experience in many sectors. Our broad candidate pool accesses local and international professionals and we organise our teams to respond quickly and accurately to client and candidate needs. In addition to these strengths, we pride ourselves on maintaining extremely high standards of service at all times. With one of the highest staff retention rates in recruitment, our consultant’ work ethic, commitment and trustworthiness has been acknowledged by many in the industry. As an example, Account Manager Tim William received the below feedback from one of Swisslinx’ newest clients:   I don't like recruiters in general, but when I do, it's definitely people like Tim. He doesn't cast his net over hundreds of candidates with the same automatically-generated content, but rather hunts for people who - in his opinion - match best with the client's brief. He's highly communicative, keeps candidates in the loop even if he doesn't have any information from the clients and even gets to know where they live and what their current situation is. This is what I call very good relationship-building. And it all sits atop other skills and experience like good client relations, good insights and tips. I can wholeheartedly recommend Tim to any experienced job-seeker that looks for that special human touch and individual approach along with the feel of uniqueness. Well done to Tim, and thanks to all our Swisslinx consultants who go above and beyond to make our clients and candidates get the best possible care every day. If you’re interested in working with us and seeing high recruitment standards in action, contact us or view our client services to find out more.  

Is Switzerland the smartest country in the world?

The digital age has transformed the meaning of ‘smart’. What was once a nod towards human intelligence is now a reference to a product, service – even a city - that is connected via the Internet of Things (IoT). Data and information are the building blocks of a smart city, where they are captured and transmitted using electrical signals to improve the functioning of the city. The only country to steal two spots in the 2020 Smart City Index is the home of luxury chocolates and high-precision watchmaking – Switzerland. Could this be a signal that Switzerland is the smartest country in the world?   Smart cities ‘Smart’ conjures up the image of multiple wireless connections beaming to form a complex network of signals. These signals are what make a city interconnected but what makes the city smart is when the data is used to make more informed decisions and improve the lives of the residents. In the Smart City Index, Zurich was awarded the bronze medal - only beaten by Singapore and Helsinki – and was recognised for its health facilities, governance and education. However, the citizens of Zurich addressed the need for e-voting and greater investment in mobile apps for car sharing. Meanwhile, Geneva took seventh place for their basic amenities, health, education and social mobility. Air pollution was identified as a problem in this Swiss city and this could be a call for increased investment in smart devices that conserve natural resources.   This continuous investment in new technologies is one of the reasons why Switzerland took first place in the 2020 Global Innovation Index once again, but how has the push towards developing smart applications and devices impacted the healthcare system?   Smart healthcare Despite there being no universal coverage in Switzerland, the nation is renowned for having a high-quality healthcare system. And as the digital revolution sweeps over the country, technologies such as wearables, implanted sensors and smart textiles are beginning to push the boundaries and alter the skillset required for healthcare jobs. In PwC’s Digital opportunity in the Swiss healthcare system report, smart devices are identified as an emerging technology, suggesting that the true potential of Switzerland’s smart healthcare is yet to be seen. These devices are being used to collect patient data and report it in real-time, resulting in both reduced costs and improved operational efficiency.   One of the first uses of smart technology within Switzerland’s healthcare system was Google Glass. Swiss developers created an app to allow paramedics and doctors to use the augmented reality (AR) glasses to improve the quality of treatment, particularly in time-sensitive cases. Several years on,  more applications of AR and VR tools within life sciences are beginning to emerge. The smart devices are now being used to help surgeons to prepare for surgery and assisting patients to perform their therapy exercises at home.   How can Switzerland get smarter? In 2009, the chief technology officer for the District of Columbia (D.C) – Vivek Kundra – announced a competition for software developers to create a mobile app that used the open data made public by the municipality. The purpose of the competition was to take the stores of data that the local government collects and put it to use in a way that benefitted the public. The resulting 47 applications – including a real-time parking app and an app to track a safe route home from any bar in the city – achieving in one month what would have taken years had the government chosen to outsource the work.   Despite the number of software developers living in Switzerland being yet to reach the numbers in the US, and estimates that the shortfall of ICT specialists will reach 40,000 by 2026, the job market is growing. The combination of Covid-19, increased government investment in technology and a booming fintech market have led to a heightened demand for tech and digital skills, with no signs of the trend slowing down. Now, many software developers are trading in their coveted roles in Silicon Valley to relocate to the culturally vibrant Zurich. And with the rise of disruptive technology in Switzerland, more smart apps like those developed in D.C. look to be on the horizon. Perhaps all it will take is a competition to draw out these innovative ideas.   Access our team of market specialists Whether Switzerland is the smartest country in the world remains up for debate, but one thing for sure is that the nation is making a name for itself in the smart technology market. It is trends and technology drivers like these that the team at Swisslinx are committed to keeping pace with, so we can provide you with timely career advice. Contact us to speak to a member of the team or begin the search for your next digital and technology job.

What does the post-Covid workplace look like - and how can businesses thrive?

In the US, 41% of the workforce is expected to continue working partly remotely beyond Covid-19, compared to the 30% prior to the outbreak. A similar trend is expected to sweep over the globe, meaning that in the post-Covid landscape companies that are ‘remote-friendly’ may gain a competitive edge. Though the damaging effects of coronavirus will be felt for some time, for some industries the pandemic is likened to a double-edged sword. So, can the post-Covid workplace be more productive and enable businesses to thrive?   When, where and how?  The 9-5 working model was one greatly favoured by businesses around the globe, but with commuting times creeping up and taking precious time away from employees’ personal lives a gradual shift towards flexible working was forming even before the virus outbreak. Now, with 80% of employees stating they’ve enjoyed the transition to home working, it’s hard to imagine the age-old working pattern being put back into play.   In countries like Wales, the government is exploring new options where cities are no longer the hub of the working world. Instead, smaller co-working spaces will be set up in housing districts – thereby cutting pollution and improving the work-life balance while still creating that sense of community on a smaller scale. As companies strive to keep their culture alive and prioritise the employee work-life balance, new flexible working practices will begin to take root.   Similarly, technology has demonstrated its power to create new working practices and has shown business leaders that remote does not equal diminished collaboration. Within days, Zoom confidently replaced client meetings and over weeks conferences moved to the digital space too. This is a cause for celebration for introverted employees but a challenge for companies to understand their teams’ behavioural drives and examine how to make remote-working work for everyone. As the employee tech stack continues to grow to include more collaboration tools such as Asana and Trello, so will the job opportunities for software developers.   The workplace culture Workplace culture is key when securing top talent and promoting employee engagement, but the remote working model appears to pose a threat to carefully nurtured cultures. However, culture is intangible and a physical workspace is not essential to enforce company values and behaviours.   Covid-19 presents the opportunity to fortify culture. To do so leaders need to establish creative solutions that encourage autonomous working and actively engage the workforce, but a one-size-fits-all approach will not suffice. A McKinsey survey found a huge discrepancy amongst remote workers with children or dependents, with 63.2% of males and 38.5% of females revealing they are engaged with their work.   Technology will become cemented at the core of all businesses 2020 marked the fifth decade of the Information Age – a period which has seen technology play an increasingly important role in everyday life and business. No period has witnessed such rapid development, with technology transforming the way humans communicate, creating jobs that were unheard of a few years ago and improving the overall quality of life. While coronavirus was a threat to all this and more, it gave technology the platform to prove its value and has propelled the adoption of technology forward two years, paving the way for a more automated working world.   How businesses can thrive post-Covid The ability to thrive hinges on adaptability. Businesses that hire individuals with this transferrable skill and back projects that are centred around this idea will likely survive the pandemic and flourish in the post-Covid world. Where Covid-19 initially forced industries into reactive decisions, now the stance will change to a proactive one. This has drawn out operational inefficiencies and demonstrated how the new world of working can be more productive than before.   One example of this is the life sciences industry. Globally, 826 companies have noted a disruption to clinical trials, of which over 50% are US-based and 3.7% located in Switzerland. The banning of nonessential appointments was a challenge for life sciences companies but the response was to take a new approach to study, investing more in digital technologies for remote appointments and using smartphone apps to improve patient care management.   Helping you hiring during uncertain times Since 1999, we’ve been providing unmatchable talent acquisition solutions to Swiss companies and the international market. Hiring in these uncertain times calls for recruitment expertise and this is where Swisslinx can help. Learn about our client services, or if you’re looking for a job take a look at our financial services roles.   Get in touch to discuss your needs.

How a Swiss law change is ushering blockchain and cryptocurrencies into a new era

Switzerland has long been known as an innovator, even earning the title of the most innovative country in the world. The nation has a proud history of adopting new technologies and registering patents, with an entrepreneurial, forward-thinking spirit that permeates businesses all over the country. This has just been taken one step further thanks to the parliamentary passing of new finance and corporate law amendments which officially recognise the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. What are blockchain and cryptocurrency? Blockchain has been a major buzzword in Switzerland – and around the world – in recent years, for many reasons. As a technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency, blockchain provides data security solutions, allowing users to make and confirm transactions without needing a central clearing authority. It has a range of applications within different industries, particularly within banking and finance where it has enormous potential for fund transfers and settling trades. A cryptocurrency, meanwhile, is a digital medium of monetary exchange, using encryption techniques to control the creation and transfer of funds. When most people think of cryptocurrency they’ll think of Bitcoin, which is the name of the market-leading cryptocurrency for which blockchain technology was invented. Cryptocurrency hasn’t always had the most positive public image and has in the past been associated with money laundering and crime, with different countries taking different approaches to the regulation of cryptocurrencies. Switzerland, however, has always been one of the world’s most crypto-friendly nations, with a strong cryptocurrency network in Zug and around 900 blockchain companies calling Switzerland home. What do the new Swiss laws mean? In early September, Swiss Senate parliamentarians passed a set of financial and corporate law reforms, which included the “Blockchain Act”. The Act was unopposed in the House of Representatives which suggests it will likely come into effect as law in early 2021. The ground-breaking law will bring blockchain and cryptocurrency into the mainstream, removing obstacles for applications and creating more legal security and abuse prevention. It will set standards for crypto exchanges, facilitating providers who only serve institutional and professional customers and creating a new framework to limit the risk of distributed ledger technology (DLT) abuse. All of this could potentially create a platform for a decentralised finance landscape, providing plenty of new job opportunities in both the technology and financial services sectors. Switzerland boasts a range of crypto banks, alpine cryptocurrency vaults, different blockchains, digital currency projects and digital stock exchanges, making it perfectly positioned to embrace new blockchain and cryptocurrency laws. If and when the laws are passed, there will be “an established legal basis for exchanging digital-only securities and for reclaiming digital assets from bankrupt companies”, according to Swissinfo, something which Swiss banks will be paying close attention to. After the somewhat chaotic 2017-2018 phase of blockchain start-up crowd funding, more regulations and security will be a welcome change, and banks would be smart to consider how they could incorporate blockchain and cryptocurrency in a bid to remain competitive. We’ve already seen Credit Suisse and UBS begin to test the potential of DLT trading, while Julius Bär has established a partnership with crypto bank SEBA, and a handful of private banks are already offering cryptocurrency services to some clients. As the laws look set to usher in a new era for crypto and blockchain, we can expect to see similar moves being made throughout the banking world. Keep informed with Swisslinx At Swisslinx, our company’s roots lie within technology, which means we have a vested interested in keeping ahead of the latest market tends. We have a special interest in fintech and disruptive technologies and organisations, as well as the more established financial institutions in Switzerland and around the world. This makes us ideally positioned to support both candidates and clients in the markets of technology and financial services. Contact us to see how we can work together, or follow our blog to stay up to date with the latest industry news.

How can you stand out in a competitive job market?

The Swiss job market has historically been very stable, with an unemployment rate of less than 3.5% since October 2019. However, Covid-19 has hit the global job market hard, and Switzerland hasn’t escaped entirely unscathed. According to Reuters, there were 55% more people out of work in June 2020 than there were in 2020, with the novel coronavirus leaving restaurants and tourist enterprises vulnerable. The Swiss scheme to compensate people working shorter hours to avoid mass layoffs has helped to prevent more widespread damage, however, and we are now seeing green shoots in the local job market. The number of open positions registered with employment agencies more than doubled from May to June, and we continue to see exciting new opportunities open up to professionals. But how can job seekers stand out and secure these roles? Step one: Optimise your LinkedIn In order to stand out in a crowded marketplace, you must make sure you’re easy to be found. Start by looking at your LinkedIn profile and any other professional networking presence you have. Make sure all your recent and relevant work experience is listed in detail, including job titles, key skills, technologies you’ve worked with and any other keywords that recruiters might use to search for you. Take a LinkedIn skills assessment to demonstrate your abilities and add a Verified Skills badge to your profile – research shows that candidates with verified skills are 30% more likely to be hired. Make sure you’ve got a photo uploaded and a title that reflects what you’re looking for and you’re on your way to getting noticed. Step two: Network and make connections Once you’ve polished your online profiles, it’s time to develop your personal brand and do some digital networking. Connect with industry leaders you admire, follow companies and profiles that relate to your sector and don’t be afraid to share your opinions and ideas. You might not quite feel ready to publish your own thought leadership article on LinkedIn, but it’s easy to ask a question of your network or even share a thought-provoking blog. One of the best ways to network online is by joining LinkedIn groups related to your niche – for instance, Life Sciences in Switzerland and Job & Career in Switzerland. And don’t forget to reach out to recruiters and executive search consultants in your industry! Step three: Overhaul your CV Once you’ve found roles to apply to, you’ll want to tailor your CV accordingly. Your CV should act as a snapshot of your career and highlight all your key skills and achievements. Make sure to include any details that might set you apart from another candidate, whether that’s German language skills, recent digital accreditation or success in influencing senior stakeholders. Think of what you’re really proud of and what value you can add in a company, and highlight these in your CV and cover letter. Try to keep your CV to two pages where possible and triple-check it before sending it away, watching out for typos and inconsistencies. Step four: Apply thoughtfully and carefully If you’re looking for new opportunities, it can be tempting to simply send the same version of your CV out far and wide to as many places as possible. However, recruiters and hiring managers will know if you’ve not put any effort into your application. Where possible, tailor your CV or cover letter to the role you’re applying for, matching skills and requirements to those from the job ad. This approach can be more time consuming than a ‘send to all’ strategy, but by showing specifically how your experience aligns with the vacancy, you’ll have a higher chance of progression in the application. Step five: Bring your best self to the interview Whether it’s a video interview or traditional in-person meeting, getting to this stage is a great sign that the company is interested in you. With that in mind, approach the interview with confidence and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Organisations are increasingly looking for cultural and organisational fit, as well as technical and experiential prowess, so it’s important to be yourself at the interview stage. Try to relax and remember that the interviewer will be looking to sell the position, just like you are trying to demonstrate your value. If it’s a good match, then congratulations! If not, continue the above steps until you find a position that suits you. Find your next role with Swisslinx Even in the most competitive job market, our strong industry relationships and understanding our industries means we can offer candidates access to a variety of roles across our recruitment markets. Find out more about being a Swisslinx candidate or view our latest jobs to take your next career step.

What key skills does the modern developer need?

Information technology departments all over the world have been scrambling in the past few months, with many IT professionals suddenly tasked with the daunting role of mobilising a remote workforce, seemingly overnight. Looking ahead, IT spending forecasts suggest there will be ongoing demand for cloud infrastructure services as businesses continue to work remotely, according to Deloitte. The same goes for communication and telecom services and software. And with more companies using online technologies and software than ever before - to work, collaborate and communicate – we're seeing increasing demand for information technology professionals. Working in information technology recruitment, we make it our business to keep a close eye on market trends and skills in demand by employers. Through this, we’ve seen developers continue to be sought out for companies across Switzerland and further afield. If you’re considering your next career step and want to make sure you stand out to potential employers, consider the following key skills that every modern developer needs. Coding languages Developers and programmers must have a firm knowledge of at least one coding language, such as Java, C++, JavaScript or Python. Most software developers in today’s technology landscape will be expected to know JavaScript, which has been ranked as the most popular developer language for seven years in a row. JavaScript is used alongside HTML and CSS for front-end web development. Meanwhile, user-friendly Python is an ideal language for beginner developers to pick up for back-end development and desktop applications, along with C++ and C# for game and mobile development. Whether you’re a skilled java developer or a creative C++ coder, it’s a clear competitive advantage to have deep experience in at least one coding language, and ideally be familiar with others too. Cloud expertise Cloud computing is one of tech’s biggest boom areas now, with companies of all sizes shifting their environments to the cloud for ease of access, cost-saving and scalability. Many programmers and developers will find themselves needing to work with cloud-native applications in the near future, particularly if they’re working in the development fields of data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning. There are entire roles devoted to cloud development, where you’ll be expected to have database and programming skills along with Linux and cloud platform expertise, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Service and Google Cloud Platform. Even if you don’t want to become a dedicated cloud developer, it’s still well worth developing some cloud skills to have access to more programming jobs in the future. Flexibility and problem-solving skills The modern developer needs to be reactive and quick on their feet. This is particularly true in the post-Covid landscape, where many organisations are entering ‘sink or swim’ mode and some are completely reinventing their business models and service offerings. The rise in remote work and conferencing platforms and online cashless solutions have contributed to a predicted tech industry increase from US$131bn to US$295bn by 2025. This boom is creating challenges for developers to react to, but also an abundance of opportunities to be innovative and creative. Modern web developers should be agile and curious, always challenging the status quo and prepared to look for new solutions and ideas. Doing so will help to remain relevant in the changing job market and stand out to IT recruitment agencies. Find your next developer job at Swisslinx Swisslinx has deep experience in digital and technology executive recruitment, helping to match brilliant candidates with exceptional companies. If you’re looking for your next programmer or developer role, we’d love to help. View our latest digital and technology jobs here or contact us to see how we can help.

Transferable skills that are essential in the new world

Transferable skills are those capabilities that are relevant across multiple industries and various job roles. Candidates with these widely-applicable skills are more flexible, something which is paramount in an ever-changing job market. The Swiss Skills Shortage Index 2019 reveals engineering, pharmaceuticals, technology and law to be some of the most in-demand job areas but what core abilities are most sought after in today’s recruitment scene? Here are four transferable skills that will ensure you succeed in the new world.   Adaptability Adaptability was listed in LinkedIn’s top five soft skills for 2019 and 2020 has seen this skill jump right the top for many organisations. The pandemic has presented a make or break situation for businesses, but fast-thinking decisions have kept many afloat and have even unlocked new opportunities in uncharted markets. This ability to respond to changes by adjusting priorities and applying new approaches is what makes a team agile and a business resilient. The new world signals an era where adaptability is critical for success in all markets, making it a must-have transferable skill.   Digital Prowess Coronavirus has put a rocket under digitalisation and companies are embracing the transformation. The working from home model went from a growing trend to an absolute necessity for businesses to continue providing their products and services. As such, collaboration software – including Slack, Asana and Google Sheets – became essential tools for keeping the wheels of the workforce spinning, magnifying the need for employees with a certain level of digital prowess. The quickening digital transformation will push companies in every industry to ramp up their search for the top tech talent and ensure they’re future-proofing their workforce.   Honing in on the technology job market, hiring managers are directing their attention towards candidates with software and automation skills. But there’s just as much a shortage of IT skills within this job sector as the wider workforce and the European commission has reported 756,000 vacant ICT jobs across Europe. While the IT skills gap is alarming for hiring managers there’s an opportunity for candidates to set themselves apart in the recruitment process, making digital prowess an invaluable transferable skill.   Emotional Intelligence Emotional intelligence (EI) ‘forms the juncture at which cognition and emotion meet’ and an individual’s level of EI determines many other factors, such as how well they communicate, their ability to empathise and their internal motivation. Not only that, 7 in 10 people who present a high emotional quotient (EQ) actually score better on intelligence tests than those with a high IQ.   With companies now embracing a flexible working pattern, relying on their team to collaborate virtually and remain productive whilst away from the office, employers are recognising how essential it is to have a cohort of emotionally intelligent workers. This soft skill enables employees to read social situations, engage in active listening and willingly accept constructive criticism, all of which makes for a great team player who is indispensable to a company.   Data Analytics Analytical reasoning was another skill listed by LinkedIn as a must-have for 2019 and as with adaptability, the lasting impacts of coronavirus have magnified the need for this hard skill. Data analytics cannot be confined to a few industries - instead it’s become a fundamental process for all businesses striving to stay ahead of the competition. Therefore, to be literate in data has become as important as traditional literacy skills.   Before the outbreak, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated a 30% increase in jobs within big data in just 10 years. Now with more data being produced than ever before, businesses need to harness this information and use it to predict future changes in their market. Hiring managers in all sectors are pursuing employees who have a proven track record of analytical reasoning, who can draw insights from data and can make informed decisions. Those without experience in data analytics should not be discouraged bur rather take the opportunity to upskill and diversify their skillset.   Swisslinx is here to help you navigate the job market At Swisslinx, we offer a tailored service for each of our candidates, taking the time to understand your skillset and career aspirations so we can find the job opportunity that’s perfect for you. Get in touch to hear more about our recruitment process. Or if you’re ready to start applying take a look at jobs in financial services or healthcare and life sciences jobs.

Is gender diversity a problem in Switzerland’s life sciences industry

Unlike other industries, Switzerland’s healthcare and life sciences sector doesn’t have a gender diversity problem; it has a ‘women in leadership positions’ problem. This is an issue globally, with women making up less than 30% of executive directors at the top pharmaceutical firms worldwide. This is despite women making up 65% of the workforce and 80% of the buying and usage decisions, suggesting there is a clear gap between women entering the industry and progressing to its most senior roles. So why does healthcare and life sciences struggle to promote women to its leadership positions, and what more can be done to help? A Swiss – and global - problem Not only do women make up just 30% of C-suite teams, but they also account for only 13% of CEOs within the healthcare industry, according to research by Oliver Wyman. And women who do reach CEO level take three to five years longer than their male counterparts. Looking at Switzerland more specifically, we know that there are enormous obstacles for women who want to juggle a family with a career, with Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter declaring: “You cannot have everything: three children, a seat on the board and a career.” Switzerland’s family policies are conservative compared to many other European countries, with high childcare costs, a lack of paternity leave and few incentives for women to continue working after having children. Progression within healthcare and life sciences While female representation is lacking at the senior level of healthcare and life sciences, similar numbers of men and women enter the workforce with life sciences and medicine degrees. However, the further up the seniority chain you go, the more this representation dwindles, from 33% women in senior leadership positions to 29% at COO level. This prompts the question: where do all the women go in healthcare and life sciences? Some organisations do appear to be addressing this issue. Some of the largest pharmaceuticals companies in the world have appointed female CEOs, including GSK, Biocon and Mylan. Meanwhile, women make up 40% of executive committee members at Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer, suggesting green shoots are starting to emerge for women at the top. Why is gender diversity in life sciences so important? Gender diversity is important in every industry, but especially within life sciences and healthcare. For companies to understand the needs of – and produce solutions for – a diverse patient population, they need to reflect this diversity themselves. This is particularly important within R&D. Women and girls bear a bigger burden of disease than men in low-income countries, with many diseases disproportionately or exclusively affecting women. Life science and healthcare companies that understand this and focus on gender diversity and inclusion have a greater chance of meeting those patients’ needs. Within the pharmaceuticals industry, profitability relies on the ability to understand patients. This is demonstrated in the FTSE 350 companies with no women on their executive committee, who only achieve an average of 8.9% net profit margin. Compare this to the companies with 25% female representation at executive level, with average net profit margins of 13.9%, and you’ll see that gender diversity really does lead to better business results. What can we do to improve the outlook for women in this industry? We know that around as many women enter the industry with medical and life science qualifications as men – so how can we ensure they keep progressing within their field? According to a Women in the Workplace report by McKinsey and Lean In, the most significant obstacle women face when trying to progress to senior leadership is the very first step up to management level. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 72 women are, which leaves more women remaining in entry level roles. And while many Swiss life sciences and healthcare firms are contributing to conversations around gender equality, what we need most is more action-driven change. According to the Women Count report, responsibility for this must start at the top down. CEOs should make diversity a business agenda, establishing hard targets for women in senior positions and providing transparent communications to the rest of the business – and industry - about this. Informal mentorships are one of the best ways to promote women in this field, yet many organisations do not pay enough attention to mentorships and sponsorships. Firms that choose to make gender diversity a priority, by establishing clear, concrete goals and providing support and pathways for women, are likely to be the ones who benefit most. How Swisslinx can help As recruiters, we often see an imbalance of men and women applying for senior positions within healthcare and life sciences, particularly in Switzerland. Perhaps related to this, many of our clients are proactively looking for more diverse candidates. Women apply to 20% fewer jobs than men and are 16% less likely to apply to any given job, according to LinkedIn, with women feeling like they need to meet more of the criteria on a job ad than men. There’s clearly a disconnect when it comes to women believing they are qualified for senior level roles, and we’d like to help overcome this. Diversity is important to us at Swisslinx – we're a 75% female team and understand the challenges women face in the Swiss workforce. If you’re considering your next job in healthcare and life sciences, or have a vacancy you’d like to fill, we can help. Find out about our client services or view our latest healthcare and life sciences jobs to get started.

How Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of big data

In the early weeks of coronavirus, all eyes were on how Switzerland’s authorities responded to Covid-19. Several months on and the effects of the virus can now be identified, including how the outbreak has impacted big data.   As the name suggests, big data refers to large collections of information which grow exponentially and are therefore too complex to be stored and processed by traditional software. The term combines both structured – credit card numbers, product names and transaction information - and unstructured data – email messages, video files and imagery – illustrating exactly why big data just keeps getting bigger. Here’s how Covid-19 has boosted the amount of information we generate and accelerated the adoption of big data.   Covid-19 has pushed digitisation in all sectors In 2018, the global big data market was valued at $23.1 billion and it’s predicted to skyrocket up to $79.5 billion by 2024 – which is a CAGR of 25.4%. Covid-19 has amplified this growth by encouraging innovation across the entire digital ecosystem, from big data and AI to cloud computing and IoT. In retail, companies have embraced technology in order to remain relevant and heard by consumers, while the traditional courts have felt the pressure to adopt modern practices - storing evidence in the cloud - to protect the justice system. Just as blockchain technology has enabled the digitisation of the commodities market, big data has facilitated the digitisation of various industries during Covid-19 and even supported growth for the ecommerce market.   More data is being generated than ever before Before the lockdown, when supermarkets, hospitals and car garages were open, people could have as little interaction with digital technologies as they liked. But when social distancing measures were brought in many people were forced to rely on technology to get food to their homes and interact with their doctors online. In every corner of the globe, more people have become reliant on the internet for the most basic of tasks and this has generated an exorbitant amount of data.   The spike in digital interactions is also a result of the increased leisure time people now have. Experts predicted that by 2020 the amount of data generated each second would amount to 1.7MB per person, meaning that each day it would hit a staggering 146,880MB. When this prediction was made, there were 1.25 bitcoins and 3,877,140 Google searches generated each minute, all of which contributed to the growing stocks of big data. Now, with more people spending time online and searching for ways to remain productive in lockdown or information about coronavirus symptoms, the data collections are burgeoning.   How big data will help in the fight against Covid-19 Since the beginning of the pandemic, big data analytics have helped technology professionals provide the healthcare industry and governments with insight into the virus and has enabled app developers to create contact tracing technology that was essential to track the spread. Switzerland was the first country to release a virus tracking app and their swift response has been a large contributor to keeping the infection rate low.   The potential of big data analytics goes beyond tracking coronavirus. The past few months have demonstrated how the sophisticated technology can prove useful right from the point of screening and diagnosing the virus in the early stages, up until developing treatments.     Let Swisslinx help you navigate the job market Our team of consultants are experts in their chosen specialism and well-practiced in providing support throughout the recruitment process and beyond. Whether you’ve got a vacancy to list or you’re searching for your next job we can help. Contact us today to find out more about our services or browse our digital and technology jobs to start your search. 

Why the Swiss job market is banking on blockchain

Switzerland’s strong reputation as bankers, chocolatiers and watchmakers didn’t come about by chance. Their dominance in these markets is a result of a focus on exceptional service and high value products which has earnt them the second highest GDP per capita worldwide. Emerging industries such as blockchain are benefiting from Switzerland’s prominence in the global marketplace and are gaining noticeable momentum. This reputation has enabled the nation’s Crypto Valley to establish itself as blockchain hotspot, attracting 100 new businesses in 2019 and creating over 1,000 jobs. Here are four reasons why the Swiss job market is banking on blockchain.   Blockchain is the answer to our security issues Bitcoin made its entrance in 2008 and questions began flying as to whether the digital currency could be trusted. Enter blockchain, which provided the security to users by recording chains of information about the transaction - but now fast forward to the year 2020 and a new security issue has emerged. Covid-19 has exposed a growing threat to data security, and yet again blockchain technology has stepped up to the mark and exposed a growing demand for blockchain developers and site reliability engineers among other IT professionals. This illustrates how the technology will help protect the global economy and may even be used to prevent crises in the future.   A growing digital token market In 2017, a surge in initial coin offerings (ICOs) led to the hub of token-funded projects in Zug being named Switzerland’s Crypto Valley. An ICO is the most effective way for start-ups to generate investments and for this reason they’re commonly thought of as a source of crowdfunding. While fintech start-ups and other new businesses rely on this method for raising capital, the smart contracts rely on blockchain technology to provide the digital tokens.   Despite the amount of published ICOs flattening after the peak in 2017, there remains a steady number of launches each year and Switzerland just misses out on a medal in the worldwide rankings for capital raised from ICOs, coming in fourth place with an impressive total of $2 billion. Technology professionals can expect their blockchain skills to remain in high demand as Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs) and Security Token Offerings (STOs) steal a share of the digital token market.   A government who is backing blockchain Switzerland’s National Council have held back from applying tax laws to digital tokens which is cause for celebration for the cryptocurrency market and in turn for blockchain technology. While the market remains in its infancy, the government will not apply capital gains tax legislation on any earnings and in doing so hopes to encourage more investments. Though this exemption can’t be expected to continue well into the future, it gives ample time for blockchain to put down roots in Swiss soil and establish a strong job market.   In addition, the National Council have announced a legislative package, passing several new laws that are designed to eliminate the legal obstacles that apply to blockchain and distributed ledger technology. This will attract more blockchain start-ups to Switzerland, and professionals with expertise in this field will reap the benefits as the nation asserts its dominance in the global blockchain market.   Working remotely Shortly after the turn of the decade, workplaces around the world had to solve the puzzle of continuing business operations whilst observing social distancing. Thankfully, for companies in the blockchain space, working out the logistics was far easier compared to other industries and moving their teams online has revealed some added benefits such as increased productivity. Now the challenge lies with product managers, technical business analysts and their IT colleagues to master the art of maximising productivity when working from home.   Since the outbreak of coronavirus, Blockchain has proved itself to be an essential and resilient industry, and the Swiss job market’s confidence in the technology will continue to grow as our world continues on the path to digitalisation.   Apply for a role with Swisslinx today Are you banking on blockchain? Our consultants at Swisslinx understand the importance of keeping a keen eye on technology drivers and trends such as blockchain. This deep understanding of the industry enables them to identify the top talent and place these candidates in organisations at every point of the scale – from boutique start-ups to global corporations. View our vacancies in financial services or explore our digital and technology jobs to start your application.

What does the growth of fintech mean for Switzerland's banking market?

According to the IFZ Fintech Study 2020, Swiss fintechs are “beginning to outpace the [traditional] financial companies” and are growing at an annual rate of 7%. As the fintech companies make a name for themselves – particularly in investment management and banking infrastructure – this has raised the question of whether they pose a threat to the long-standing banking institutes.   While it may be true that traditional business models need to be revamped to fit in with the digital world there are many complex financial services that banks offer which fintech companies don’t. Here lies the solution to maximising the growth of fintech while protecting Switzerland’s banks - both markets can prosper when they focus on their unique services. HOW LONG CAN A TRADITIONAL MODEL WORK IN THE DIGITAL WORLD? Switzerland’s banking market attracts a huge amount of international investment, and in 2018 they were said to have $6.5 trillion in assets, which amounts to 25% of all global cross-border finances.   But with fintech companies flooding the market there’s been a wakeup call for traditional banks to apply technology-driven models. This has been answered by Swissquote Bank who have adopted a blockchain infrastructure and integrated robo-advisory. As more banks begin to adapt their functions it will leave those relying on their traditional business model and reputation struggling to keep pace with the digital world. BANKING INFRASTRUCTURE There are many services that the fintech market seamlessly offers - trading in cryptocurrencies, crowd funding and banking infrastructure – that established banks do not compete on. Narrowing in on banking infrastructure, it was found that in 2019 74% of Swiss fintech employees were working in this fintech niche. Banking infrastructure will continue to dominate the Swiss fintech market as financial services move over to the digital sphere – a change accelerate by Covid-19 – and institutions realise their responsibility to seek out systems that protect sensitive data and shield from potential attacks. THE HOME OF THE CRYPTO VALLEY Just as the US has the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, Switzerland has its own hub of fintech activity between Zug and Zurich. Known as the Crypto Valley, this region houses over 800 companies and 4,000 employees - with skills in cryptocurrency and blockchain - who handle the mining, storing, trading and investing of currencies such as Bitcoin. Bitcoin hit the market in 2009 and brought with it fear that digital assets would replace the traditional banking system but as it became clear that the volatile currencies would never be used to pay salaries or to take out mortgages, banks recognised they weren’t a direct threat to their services. THE START-UP SCENE With its world-renowned banking market, it’s no surprise that fintech has been crowned an up and coming star in Switzerland. Despite having a small population, the nation ranks fifth in the world based on their fintech business infrastructure and ecosystem quality, competing with the powerhouses that are the US and the UK. More fintech start-ups are springing up each day in Switzerland and though banks have traditionally been wary of investing in new businesses with little capital and unproven business models, they are beginning to get behind the smaller companies as they recognise their disruptive business models are the future. WORKING TOGETHER AND SIDE BY SIDE While Swiss fintech companies operate in the same realm as the banking market, they provide a distinctly different service and therefore there is an opportunity for the two to work together and benefit from one another. The two markets can collaborate on banking infrastructure and by doing so protect maximise data security and gain more of their trust. Meanwhile, they must continue providing services that the other market doesn’t offer, meaning that banks should direct their resources towards providing complex financial services and fintech companies focus on supplying currencies that are safe from hyperinflation. ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB OPPORTUNITY IN FINANCIAL SERVICES? At Swisslinx, we understand the finance industry is subject to an ever-evolving regulatory landscape and exposed to continuous innovations, so navigating the financial services job market can be challenging. Our team of specialist consultants are constantly updating their knowledge and are sure to keep a keen eye on changes in the market. Browse our financial services jobs to find your next job in fintech, investment banking, wealth management and asset management or insurance.

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