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Millennial job applicants in Switzerland more prepared to make compromises for work

Young job applicants in Switzerland are modest. This is the result of the PageGroup Job Confidence Index from the third quarter. Those who want to take on a new role are willing to make significant compromises, not only when it comes to money but elsewhere too. We undertook a lengthy study and found out the five most common concessions job applicants would be prepared to make:


Young job applicants in Switzerland would make many concessions for their new job


Are these results a surprise, though?

“Definitely, yes!” says Xavier Chauville, Executive Director Switzerland at Page Personnel. For 12 years he has recruited talent within the Swiss market. In our interview Chauville offers his insight on the results and explains why young employees in Switzerland today are prepared to compromise.

  1. 88% of candidates below  30 would be prepared to work within a stressful environment

    ‘In general everyone has a different understanding of what stress means. The question is: how do we define stress? If it means challenges at work that help improve your skills constantly and completing new tasks in short periods of time then it absolutely makes sense. In contrast to their older colleagues, young job applicants accept and don’t appear to fear this kind of stress. They are at the very beginning of their career. They want to prove themselves. Older employees know their value already. They are aware of their limits and know what they are able to do and when it’s too much. ‘

    ‘Work-life balance and flexible working hours are hot topics at the moment. Employees work efficiently and expect a good work-life balance in return.’ Swiss employees generally rate their work-life balance as good. In a European comparison, they are part of the top 3 countries when it comes to a good work life balance. However, the Confidence Index also showed that 63 percent of young job applicants would be prepared to reduce their work-life balance – at least for a short period of time.


  2. 83% of young job applicants below 30 would make concessions on compensation

    Compensation in Switzerland is high and candidates are aware of it. Someone who accepts a lower salary will probably feel some restrictions. But they do not have to move to a smaller flat because they can’t afford their old flat anymore.’ Concessions on compensation levels often come with other benefits in Switzerland: businesses tempt candidates with flexible offers, extra vacation time, special trainings or home office. Especially in Romandy these alternatives go down well.‘ It has to be said that young professionals in Switzerland do not measure the value of their work only by the amount of money they earn: ‘They want the better job. It doesn’t bother them if their neighbour gets more money. They want a challenging job which gives them the possibility to develop themselves.’ These demands are on trend: lifelong learning is an evergreen topic in Switzerland for all age groups.


  1. 81% of job applicants would increase their commute time

    ‘The number is surprisingly high but shows an accurate picture of the current trend in the Swiss market. From our survey with candidates, we know that young professionals in particular commute more than 45 minutes to work reluctantly – but the market is going through a change at the moment’, explains Xavier Chauville. ‘Increasing competition from very qualified local and foreign employees and is only one out of a few challenges candidates in Switzerland have to face nowadays.’ So the willingness of young job applicants to increase their commute time is surprising? Just to certain degree: In Switzerland the majority commute to work by public transport. This gives them the opportunity to use their commute time effectively and make a start on work. So it’s not a waste of time and the commute is really efficient. Because the time they spend working on the train, they do not have to spend in the office. Therefore they can use their time more efficiently and can make the most out of their days. When sitting on the train in the mornings in Zurich or Bern, the trains are fully crowded. Everyone has their notebook and already start to work on some tasks.‘ Those who have the chance to use their commute time to work will therefore not have problems with a longer journey time. ‘This can perfectly be seen in an example from one of our clients. He gives his employees the chance to work during their commute time, as long as the circumstances allow it, and gained good experiences with that.’


  1. 81% of job seekers below 30 would be prepared to make concessions on responsibility

    ‘The high number surprised me. In general, young professionals aim high at the beginning of their career. This usually includes having a big sphere of responsibility. They want to lay the foundations for their later careers. We see a high focus on the development of new skills and knowledge especially in the first years of their working lives. So that means that candidates accept less responsibility when on the other hand they’ve got the chance to pick up deeper knowledge instead. In this sense, the results are coherent across the board. The wish to develop new professional skills  and continue their personal growth is on focus.’

    Another reason might be looking for a diverse range of skills. When I worked for two years in finance and switched to marketing afterwards of course I accepted fewer responsibilities at first. We see this kind of horizontal career management more frequently. A lot of young employees strive for broad development. The younger generation, it could be argued, favours a career ladder that is broader, horizontal and offers a range of diverse responsibilities.’


  1. 79% of candidates below 30 would accept a similar or lower position

    Compared with the aforementioned points, young candidates would be least prepared to compromise when it comes to their job title and their position. 21 percent would not accept a job because of this reason. ‘This makes sense. Young candidates are ambitious and want to improve in their careers. Especially when you are young, job titles and promotion are important.‘

    Nonetheless nearly four out of five candidates would go for a new job, even if it meant accepting a similar or lower position. ‘The young generation is inquisitive and wants to grow – but they are also realistic and know about the current market situation. But there are of course candidates out there who need a job soon, so they are willing to accept a position which is not best suited to them. Of course not everyone is equally ambitious but in this age candidates usually strive for more. And sometimes they need to take a detour on their way up.’


How confident are candidates about the current situation on the job market? Find out here.