SWICO – the trade association for ICT providers and other related industries in Switzerland, has just published the results of an ICT study survey conducted for SWICO by the University of Bern.
According to the SWICO website, their mission is to close perceived knowledge gaps regarding the software industry in Switzerland. And results of the latest Industry Survey point to a mixed snapshot for 2021. While there is plenty of good news to be had, an ongoing shortage of skilled IT workers in Switzerland darkens the picture.
The software industry in Switzerland is recording growth rates, not witnessed since before the Covid pandemic. For 2022 and 23, specifically this equates to 6 % growth predicted. While this is obviously great news, the downside is that this could also exacerbate an already acute shortage of skilled workers in the IT sector.
In addition to sales growth, the survey conducted across 321 companies also pointed to a rise in profitability (EBIT) of 1.3 percentage points versus the previous year at 9.4 percent.
Business source markets
In 2022, the Swiss software sector derived only just over 6% of its total turnover from outside of Switzerland. And with Germany remaining the most important sales market outside of Switzerland, the lack of foreign business is compensated by orders from the Federal Government.
In fact, the public sector in Switzerland was the main source for 34.4% of the total turnover in 2021. The financial sector followed some distance behind, driving just over 9% of software turnover.
Skills shortage to get worse
The predicted growth for Swiss software companies means the software sector will need to hire 5.7 per cent more skilled workers this year. This corresponds to an increase of about 3.6 percentage points. Staff churn in the IT Sector remains relatively stable at an average of just under 11%, which is only 0.4 percentage points higher than last year.
The focus topic this year for survey is the shortage of skilled workers, which particularly affects the software industry. Software companies need 81 days on average to fill one vacancy – significantly more than in other industries, where the “time-to-fill” is estimated at around 50 days.
According to SWICO, one key indicator is that the software industry cannot fully exploit its value creation potential, due to the shortage of skilled workers. This is likely to significantly slow down digitisation progress in Switzerland.
New ideas to find a solution
One of the solutions the software industry is looking at to solve the current situation, is to make work “more flexible”. This is also a reason for workers to remain longer with a specific employer. In fact, according to the recent survey, 70 % of employers say they have now introduced more flexible working models in the last three years in order to retain staff. Some examples:
- Offering part time for those nearing retirement or wanting to spend more time with their families or for education
- Offering above-average fringe benefits is more popular than raising salaries
According to Judith Bellaiche, the Executive Director of SWICO the above is in line with the findings from the survey. And efforts to make work more flexible and adapt to new framework conditions will be a major factor in making Switzerland an attractive location for innovation and work.
Jobs in demand
Data from August 2022 indicate the top five roles in IT recruitment activity and which commanded a 100% market share