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Census Of Watchmaking Personnel 4,400 More Workers In 2007
Writor:  Information Center  From: www.ewatch.cn   Date: 2008/9/23
Last year the Swiss watch industry beat all records from the point of view of recruiting new workers. It also saw a sharp increase in the number of firms.

According to the census of watchmaking and microtechnology personnel and firms carried out by the Employers?Federation of the Swiss watch industry (CP) dated 28 September 2007, there were 4,391 more people working in the sector on this date than at the end of September 2006. From 44,444 in 2006, the total workforce rose to 48,835, representing an increase of 9.9%. At the same time, the number of firms rose from 595 to 627, an increase of 5.4% or 32 units.

In absolute terms, production personnel benefited most from this growth with manpower rising from 33,161 to 36,515 (+ 3,354, +10.1%). Two other categories also posted high rates of growth: administrative personnel, whose numbers rose from 9,272 to 10,305 (+ 11.1%), and the number of home workers, which increased to 479 (+14.9%). The only exception was the category of management personnel, which registered a slight decline (-3.6% to 1,536).

Since 1987, the year which marked the low point of 29,809 workers, manpower in the watch industry has regularly gone from strength to strength, rising to nearly 40,000 in 2004. The pace of this recovery has accelerated more recently: in the space of three years, nearly 9,000 workers have joined the industry’s ranks (+22%). The watch industry now has the same number of workers as in 1980, a situation reflecting above all the buoyancy of current business trends.

Figures from the census once again show that watchmaking remains the preserve of cantons in the Jura mountain region: Neuchâtel remains the watchmaking canton par excellence with 13,181 workers and 199 firms, followed by Berne (10,206, 155), Geneva (8,343, 72), Jura (4,829, 95), Vaud (4,505, 33), Soleure (3,921, 31) and Bâle-Campagne (887, 6). These seven cantons combined account for 45,872 workers and 591 firms, or 94% of total manpower and all watchmaking companies. Outside this area, other cantons with a significant watchmaking presence are Ticino (1,403 employees), le Valais (584), Schaffhouse (481) and Fribourg (302).

In 2007, growth in manpower was concentrated in the cantons of Neuchâtel (+1,255), Berne (+759), Geneva (+737) and Vaud (+701), which alone accounted for almost 80% of the increase in personnel.

From the point of view of job descriptions, the figures show that 75% of watchmaking personnel work in production. Administrative and organisational duties now only account for a quarter of personnel, with 21.1% of employees in charge of administration and 3.1% active in management.

The level of training of production personnel continues to increase: 10.8% of employees working in production benefit from a higher education and 39.0% have a vocational diploma, to which must be added the 1.9% share of apprentices (with a notably high rate of increase of +22%). Semi-qualified or non-qualified personnel now represent only 48.3% of production personnel and 40.0% of all employees. A phenomenon already observed in previous years, the recruitment of highly qualified people is of capital importance to the Swiss watch industry since it increasingly produces very high quality timepieces for the luxury market.

On a final note, the collective agreement was extended in 2007 to more watchmaking firms: it now covers 446 affiliated companies (+28, +5.8%) employing 40,958 people (+3,749, +10.1%). This means that 83.9% of workers in the Swiss watch industry carry on their activity in firms governed by the collective labour regulations signed with trades unions in the sector.
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