Employability & Close Ties to Practice
There are several reasons why people choose a university education in Switzerland. The excellence in education and research and the wide range of programmes are certainly crucial factors. But what happens after graduation? A great many students come to study in Switzerland in order to become sought-after candidates on the global labour market.
Swiss university education focuses strongly on the relationship between knowledge and practice. The employability of their graduates is a major goal and relies on close links between research, practice and teaching. Teaching is competence-oriented and students are thus supported in acquiring skills they can put into practice in a work environment.
Graduates from all types of Swiss universities are very much in demand on the labour market. Compared to other countries, unemployment rates are significantly lower for higher education graduates (overall approximately <2% five years after graduation). Why is that the case? There are in fact various reasons:
- The vast majority of young people opt for vocational education and training (VET). However, the Swiss education system offers a high permeability, thus ensuring that professionals complete their development at a later stage, for instance at a university of applied sciences and arts.
- Switzerland has three types of universities: all equivalent, but still different. While fundamental research is highly relevant to the traditional universities (UNIs), universities of applied sciences and arts (UASAs) and universities of teacher education (UTEs) have an even stronger focus on the relevance of teaching to practice.
- Admission to Swiss higher education is selective.
- Teaching at a UNI, a UASA or a UTE is competence-based. Many study programmes also include internships or elective and compulsory practice courses.
- 75% of all students enrolled at a Swiss university work part-time alongside their studies. Some study programmes are also designed as part-time to allow practitioners to follow them. This is mostly the case for UASAs and UTEs.
- Swiss university diplomas enjoy a very high level of recognition and are widely acknowledged as top qualifications. Foreigners graduating in Switzerland are on an equal footing with Swiss nationals when it comes to entering the Swiss labour market (Federal Act on Foreign Nationals).
- As a European business hub, Switzerland is home to some of the world’s finest business minds — particularly in the fields of hospitality, finance, pharmaceuticals and chemicals — making it a prestigious location to learn and work. Many multinational corporations are headquartered here. In fact, 15 Fortune 500 companies call Switzerland home and contribute to the country’s international outlook.
- All types of university offer a great variety of continuing/further education among their programmes,ensuring that graduate qualifications remain aligned with labour market requirements.
- Swiss Federal Department for Foreign Affairs: Labour market
- OECD Education at a Glance 2020: Country Note Switzerland