Is Switzerland the smartest country in the world?

Posting date: 20 October 2020

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.

The importance of skill-based recruitment

Skill-based recruiting has become all the more important in the modern world of work. While experience will always be valuable, assessing candidates based on skills and holistic competencies, rather than their last job title can pave the way for exceptional talent. Over the years, Switzerland has faced skill shortages in many different fields, so companies must take a skill-based approach to recruitment. Skill-based recruitment places the recruiter in the driver’s seat. It means pursuing all the relevant information to match candidates’ skills with the requirements of the job. Below, we’ve outlined the key benefits of recruiting for skills.   Transferrable skills   Skill-based hiring enables recruiters to find candidates with core expertise that can be applied in a variety of different environments. While candidates with years of direct experience may look like an ideal choice for a role, there’s a chance they might not be as adaptable in a new business. Core skills like problem-solving, interpersonal skills and technical competencies are more likely to be transferrable to other industries, increasing the chances of you make an excellent hire. Simply put, focusing on core skills and personality can be much more beneficial for businesses that are looking to grow, and maintain a clearly defined culture. However, screening candidates for skill and talent rather than previous experience means recruiters will need to pay extra attention to people’s cover letters and CVs. Thanks to recruitment technology, most applications are automatically filtered, helping the recruiter save time and find the ones that match the predefined criteria.   Add Diversity   One of the key benefits of skill-based recruitment is that it can add greater diversity to the workplace. Individuals from different backgrounds and diverse skill sets can add different talents, and experiences to the working environment, which can benefit the organisation. When you focus strictly on candidates with a set amount of experience, you risk missing out on individuals who are otherwise strong candidates. While it can be risky to invest in a candidate who’s less proven, they can bring a diversity of thought across the company with their skill set. Using a skill-based approach combined with “blind hiring” also removes any unconscious bias, enabling hiring managers to make more informed decisions, resulting in a much more diverse workforce.   Focus on potential   When you seek candidates with specialist skills, it allows you to focus more on their potential. New skills and competencies can always be taught whereas highly experienced candidates might have a well-established work style that may not be suited to certain types of companies. We’re now entering an era where professionals are constantly changing career paths, and where the younger generations are starting to dominate the workforce. What younger generations may lack in experience, many of them make up in attitude and digital skills. Taking a skills-based approach to recruitment allows you to expand your talent pool and find potentially great candidates that you may have previously missed.   However, companies must establish systems and internal capabilities that allow for skill-based hiring. This means hiring managers must adjust their mindset and use more skill-based assessments when recruiting, with more discussions about the most critical skills. In this way, businesses can be more organised and match candidates with the appropriate roles.    How can Swisslinx help your business?   Swisslinx has a highly experienced team of consultants who are dedicated to providing the best recruitment service to clients and candidates. We take the time to understand your requirements and then deliver tailored recruitment solutions. Our team recruits the best professionals into a wide range of sectors, including financial services, digital and technology, life sciences, as well as engineering. If you would like more information on how we can assist with your recruitment, contact us today.

READ MORE

How to be successful in the final round interview

As a candidate, the final round interview is the last opportunity to show why you’re the best person for the role. What happens in the first interview can be dramatically different from the final round, so that’s why it’s all the more important to prepare thoroughly and expect to be asked some challenging questions. Hiring managers do not often make final round interviews for candidates they’re not serious about. Therefore, when you’re invited to the final round, the hiring manager already knows that you have the skills for the job. What they’re going to be looking for is how you present yourself under pressure and whether you’re a suitable fit culturally for the organisation. Here’s a swift guide for how to give yourself the best chance of succeeding in the final round interview and securing a job offer.    Review the company and position   Once you’ve made it to the final round, you need to make sure you completely understand the position and the company. The final round may be much longer and involve more people. This means that professionals should review the job specifications again beforehand and be prepared for in-depth questions. At this stage, hiring managers want to determine fit and whether or not the candidate is a team-player. Companies will also use a final round interview to learn how you manage deadlines and juggle workloads. Hiring in a pandemic is no easy task, so companies will likely be paying extra attention to detail and focusing on the candidates who show the most potential. This means it’s important that you thoroughly research the company and come prepared with what you like about the company. Having that extra preparation will increase your chances of being offered a role.    Share your knowledge and expertise   While many final round interviews will be based on how you fit into the company or the team, hiring managers will still want to verify your technical skills and competencies. So, it’s crucial that you effectively share your knowledge and expertise during the interview, and quantify wherever possible. This means discussing your key accomplishments and how they were achieved, as well as any notable skills relevant to the role. For example, you might have excellent time management skills, so you will need to explain how these skills have helped you perform. Whether it’s through project management software or your strategic planning, you must show the unique qualities you bring to a company. Also, always show confidence and evidence of all your skills and experience.   Ask the right questions   In the early rounds of interviews, it’s important to ask thoughtful questions, but in the final stage, you’re going to need to show you’ve thought more seriously about what it would be like to work at the company. Therefore, professionals in the final round should ask questions about what the first month on the job would be like and if there will be any training, as well as what the performance expectations will be when you join. These type of questions show hiring managers that you’re already engaged and eager to be a part of the company.   Show your commitment and passion   In the final round, hiring managers will want to ensure candidates are interested in staying for a long period. Arguably one of the best ways to show you’re a committed professional is by discussing your long-term career plans, and how it’s connected to the role you're interviewing for. Hiring managers want to find candidates who have a strong work ethic and have the potential to be high performing. This means you need to demonstrate a passion for the industry and that you’re genuinely interested in this specific field. For a company, the final round interview is all about evaluating a candidate’s characteristics and attitude, so make sure you tell stories of how you solve problems and why you enjoy your work, which will no doubt help you stand out from other candidates.   Are you looking to advance your career?   At Swisslinx, we have a motivated and friendly team of recruitment consultants who are dedicated to building great relationships with clients and candidates. We specialise in recruiting for a varied range of sectors, including financial services, digital and technology, healthcare and natural resources. Our team works to the highest standards and we’re committed to delivering an exceptional recruitment service on a daily basis. If you would like more information on how we can help your career and even prepare for your next role, contact our team today.

READ MORE