Number of staff at banks in Switzerland
At the end of 2021, the banks in Switzerland employed 90,576 people (full-time equivalents), 619 more than in 2020. The unemployment rate in the financial sector was slightly lower than that of the overall economy at 2.4% and much lower than in 2020, which was dominated by the pandemic.
TRENDS IN 2022
Positive short-term outlook for jobs
Trends in 2021
The number of people employed in the banking sector, which had been in gradual decline since 2013, showed a small rise in 2020 and then again in 2021, when it was up 0.7%. The unemployment rate in the financial sector was slightly lower than that of the overall economy at 2.4%.
The banks employed 90,576 full-time equivalents in Switzerland in 2021, up 619 or 0.7% year-on-year. Following a gradual decline, the number of staff in the banking sector thus increased for the second year in succession, reaching a level last seen in 2018. According to SECO, the Swiss financial sector’s average unemployment rate in December 2021 was 2.4%.36 This is just below the figure of 2.6% for the overall economy, which has fallen back to pre-pandemic levels. In total, 3,081 banking sector workers were registered unemployed at the end of the year, down 1,256 year-on-year. The big banks shed around 314 jobs in 2021, while banks in the remaining categories added a total of 933. Despite the increase in headcount, personnel expenses fell by CHF 206.7 mn year-on-year. The proportion of female staff fell slightly compared with 2020 to 38.3% (34,733 full-time equivalents). As in prior years, the highest proportions of female staff were recorded at the Raiffeisen banks with 45% and the regional and savings banks with 44.1%.
Positive short-term outlook for jobs
Both the current employment situation and the outlook for the remainder of the year are positive. The total number of staff rose by around 1% in the first half of the year, but foreign headcount showed a much higher increase (1.5%) than domestic headcount (0.4%). Almost a third of the banks surveyed expect this trend to continue in the second half of the year.
According to the SBA survey, headcount at the banks in Switzerland showed a small rise of 325 full-time equivalents or 0.4% between the end of 2021 and June 2022. Foreign headcount grew strongly over the same period, rising by 1,412 full-time equivalents or 1.5%. The detailed results show just over 4,100 full-time equivalents joining banks in Switzerland in the first six months of 2022 and 3,800 leaving. Fluctuation was more pronounced outside Switzerland, with around 6,800 joining and a little more than 5,400 leaving.
Optimistic outlook for rest of 2022
As in 2021, the banks surveyed are optimistic as regards the trend in their own headcount for the second half of the year. Over a third of them expect their headcount to increase further up to the end of 2022, whereas only around 6% expect it to decline. The proportion of banks expecting an increase has thus increased slightly year-on-year. With over 90% of the banks surveyed continuing to expect stable or higher employment, it can be assumed that the total number of staff will at least remain unchanged in the final six months of this year.
Minority of banks expecting employment to fall
In past SBA employment surveys, the banks predicting that their own headcount would stay more or less the same had been in the majority. Since 2013, however, the proportion of banks expecting employment to fall has steadily declined – with the exception of 2019. This trend has continued in 2022. Only 5.7% of the banks surveyed now expect a reduction in their headcount in the second half of the year.
Employment expected to increase in several areas of business
The banks’ responses concerning employment trends in individual areas of business reveal a generally positive outlook in almost all areas. Job trends in retail banking, wealth management, and logistics and operations (back office) were viewed positively to the same degree (more than a quarter in each case). The vast majority of respondents expect employment to remain stable in institutional asset management (around 80%) and securities trading (around 95%).
Slight fall in banking sector unemployment rate
The unemployment rates for Switzerland as a whole (2.6%) and the financial sector (2.4%) at the end of 2021 were well below the high levels recorded in the pandemic-hit prior year. The situation has calmed down further over the course of 2022. At the end of June, the financial sector unemployment rate stood at 2.2%, in line with the rate for Switzerland as a whole.
36 SECO (2021). The situation on the job market in December 2021