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Why Zurich is a leading destination for tech workers in Europe

Zurich, Switzerland has become a European haven for tech career development in recent years.
Zurich, Switzerland has become a European haven for tech career development in recent years.   -   Copyright  Canva   -  

By Kirstie McDermott

Food might be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Switzerland: delicious, dark Swiss chocolate, unctuous, melting cheese-based raclette and fondue – or even the more austere muesli.

While this alpine nation has exported its culinary delights globally, adding to its international reputation, it is equally known for the strength of its financial sector.

Switzerland is a wealthy nation with a strong economic foundation built on agriculture, industry and services. The banking industry is one of its key pillars.

Money and Switzerland go together like snow on the Matterhorn.

The country has enjoyed prosperity through its financial services sector for over two centuries, with many private Swiss investment banks catering to global investors and handling wealth management.

Other institutions deal with more day-to-day consumer banking, and big players here include Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and UBS.

Swiss banks are highly capitalised, offering economic security, confidentiality, and asset protection to clients, as well as low levels of financial risk and high levels of privacy.

Focus on fintech and neo-banking

Like other large financial centres including London and New York, Switzerland’s banking market has undergone significant changes.

The country has diversified by developing its neo-banking and fintech.

The fintech sector has had a strong showing in recent years, according to a report from Deep Knowledge Analytics.

There are now more than 355 fintech companies in Switzerland, 37 percent of which are located in Zürich, the traditional home of Swiss banking.

In 2021, $3.3 billion (€3.18 billion) was invested and projections estimate there will be $44.5 billion (€42.97 billion) worth of transactions in the country’s neo-banking segment by the end of the year.

There are many leading international players here, as well as home-grown startups such as Crowdhouse, a real estate investment platform, or regtech startup Qumram, which was acquired in 2017 by Dynatrace.

CSX is a Credit Suisse subsidiary, while the foreign neobanks N26, Revolut and Wise also have presences.

A bustling tech scene

With a reputation as a leading fintech destination, it is no surprise that Zürich also shines in the areas of cryptocurrency and blockchain.Artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with cybersecurity and biotech are also in focus.

In fact, in the Global Innovation Index 2022 rankings, Switzerland came first for the 12th year in a row.

In this year’s fDi Intelligence rankings, the city emerged as the top mid-sized European tech city of the future.

Thanks to its high economic potential, human capital, a good (albeit expensive) quality of life, international connectivity and business friendliness, it is tipped for even more future success.

Zürich is already home to a number of tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon, and according to Seedtable, its startup sector is booming, with an eclectic mix of hyper-growth scaleups, small creative startups, and everything in between.

Some of this year’s startups include Daedalean, powering autonomous flight control for the electric personal aircraft of the near future, workplace app Beekeeper and healthtech company Ava, which makes a patented multi-sensor bracelet that allows women to predict their fertile days.

There is also Carbon Delta, a climate and market data-platform that was acquired by MSCI in 2019 and CUTISS, which creates unique personalised skin technology to treat skin defects.

European champion for tech career development

The two best cities in the world for tech career development are Zürich and Bern, according to a new report from Scottish digital skills development organisation CodeClan.

Based on a variety of metrics, the study looked at quality of life rankings and assessed their suitability for tech workers, across the indices of average salary, rent and broadband connection speed, as well as tech companies per capita.

The two Swiss cities came out on top thanks to high availability and access to tech companies plus high available broadband speeds.

Of course, Switzerland as a nation is no stranger to technology and innovation: In 1954, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, or CERN, was founded in Geneva, and in 2008, the Large Hadron Collider opened on site.

Job opportunities in Zürich

So if you’re looking for a role in Zürich now, you're in luck, as there are plenty on offer.

This Java Backend Developer role is offered via recruitment company Rocken. You will analyse, design and implement new features, change requests and do bug fixes, as well as be responsible for the development and implementation of solution concepts and integration into customer projects.

Also on offer through Rocken is a Lead Data Engineer role at a top real estate and mortgages company. You will lead the data engineering scrum team and be responsible for its further development, creating modern data pipelines to process, optimise and aggregate data.

Those with a more traditional educational background may be attracted by this International Private Bank – Wealth Management role at Deutsche Bank. Designed for recent graduates, it offers a two-year stepping stone into an exciting industry.

Discover plenty more jobs in Zürich, and all over the continent, on Euronews.jobs