Adding gross value of CHF 28 billion in 2014, the Swiss ICT sector is one of Switzerland’s top ten industries.
With the exception of 2003, the ICT industry has grown every year since 1998. Even in the recession year of 2009, when Swiss economic output dropped by 1.9%, ICT generated slight growth.
Switzerland is currently an important ICT export nation. Export volume grew from around CHF 14 billion in 2000 to CHF 18.3 billion in 2014. The export growth is due in particular to ICT services, which increased from CHF 6.5 billion to CHF 11.5 billion in this period. ICT services are currently one of the five most exported services from Switzerland.
With 205,000 ICT (Information and Communications Technology) specialists, ICT is Switzerland’s sixth largest profession. Around two-thirds (62%) of the 205,600 ICT employees work in other sectors, for example banking and corporate consultancy, public administration, wholesale or retail. At 78,200, slightly more than a third of ICT employees work in the ICT sector itself. The distribution of ICT employees confirms the significance of its cross-sector function for all sectors, public administration and also for civil society as a whole.
The outstanding importance of ICT for Switzerland is clearly shown by the fact that the number of ICT employees in Switzerland has more than doubled over the last 20 years. Indeed, since 1991, it has also expanded at four times the speed of the country’s overall workforce. However, Switzerland is currently facing a rapidly growing shortage of ICT specialists. According to a study conducted by ICT Vocational Training Switzerland, the country will need an extra 30,000 ICT specialists by the year 2022. Switzerland is primarily short of software developers. This shortfall will have a negative effect on the Swiss economy. Restrictions on immigration are having a number of repercussions for the overall economy. Firstly, companies are being forced to resort to hiring many people from other sectors. Secondly, certain tasks are having to be exported abroad. And thirdly, companies can no longer capitalise on growth opportunities.