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Why you should consider Switzerland for your life sciences career

Kasim Zargar our consultant managing the role
Posted by  Kasim Zargar
Published on 2 August 2018

Switzerland has long been known as one of the world’s major innovation hubs, ranked first on the Global Innovation Index in 2018 for the eight consecutive year despite holding just 0.1% of the world’s population. With 41% of total Swiss exports coming from the chemical, pharmaceuticals and biotech sector and a significant focus on R&D underpinning many of the nation’s industries, the life sciences industry is only expected to get bigger in the coming years. And at Quanta, we’re seeing more opportunities coming through for skilled and qualified professionals to take up contracts in this appealing part of the world.

Biotech and pharma continue to boom

The biotechnology and pharmaceuticals sectors in Switzerland are growing steadily, and with several multinational pharmaceutical corporations based in the country, we can expect to see this demand remain strong in years to come. More than a third of Swiss exports come from the pharmaceutical industry, making it a key driver of the local economy – and an incredibly stable sector to work in.

With the high levels of investment in CAPEX projects recently – and Basel a hub for large-scale drug manufacturing facilities – we’re seeing increased opportunity and investment all over the country, including in Zurich, Geneva and Zug. Some projects are seeing billions of Swiss Francs poured into them, which is phenomenal for the size of the country, and the scale and durations of projects are proving to be a huge drawcard for contractors looking for their next move. Switzerland has well and truly cemented its place as the strongest biotechnology hub in Europe, with corporations like Novartis, Biogen and Roche generating major interest from candidates looking to get experience in market-leading organisations.

Roles in demand

The typical roles coming through from our Swiss clients are under the technical operations umbrella, with a focus on engineering. Project engineers, C&Q engineers, validation engineers and process engineers are all in high demand, as are professionals with project management skills and experience within biotech environments.

Long-term contracts are common in Switzerland, with high levels of investment ensuring project timelines are longer than elsewhere in Europe. Contractors can be placed for 12, 18 and even 24-month periods, particularly for more senior hires. Such long-term, large-scale projects are attractive for those within the life sciences sector, and Switzerland provides the opportunity to work within some of the largest multi-national corporations in the world.

Swiss quality of life

Switzerland is picturesque, with higher than average OECD scores in subjective well-being, income and wealth, health status, environment quality, work-life balance and housing. Our contractors in Switzerland report a healthy, balanced lifestyle, where weekend work is discouraged and idyllic landscapes make for an abundance of outdoor adventure opportunities.

Its convenient links to the rest of mainland Europe make for easy weekend getaways, and Switzerland’s large expat community means it’s easy to settle in to life abroad. There are pockets of English speaking communities, however you’ll have an advantage if you can also speak French, German or Italian.

Trends in Switzerland

We’re anticipating ongoing steady growth in the Swiss life sciences sector over the coming years, particularly within the biotechnology subsector. Mammalian Cell Culture is a huge investment piece for many companies, with organisations increasingly looking for candidates who have experience in this emerging field. Quanta has several biotech clients in Switzerland alone, with more throughout Europe, which means we can provide clients a cross-section of qualified and skilled candidates for new projects.

The life sciences industry in Switzerland is seeing consistent levels of investment across the board, including in R&D for life-changing drugs and treatments. The ongoing investment in mammalian cell biotech production facilities is particularly remarkable.

Getting set up

For contractors looking to take up contracts in Switzerland, the transition is relatively straightforward. Swiss law dictates that you must be employed by a Swiss organisation in order to work in the country, so Quanta has a dedicated local payroll partner to assist with paperwork, contracts and providing guidance to those new to the country. Our International Mobilisation service provides further support, ensuring contractors settle in and have everything from bank accounts and work permits to new accommodation sorted.

Find out more

At Quanta, we have a range of life sciences job opportunities in Switzerland. Browse our latest vacancies or speak with us about how we can help you make the move.

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