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Western Switzerland as a prime destination for company headquarters

Why Switzerland

Switzerland’s liberal economic system, political stability, and close integration with the economies of other countries make it a sought-after location for global and regional headquarters of international companies.

Excellent accessibility and infrastructure

Strategically located at the center of Europe, Switzerland provides privileged access to the European market and its 500 million consumers. All the European capitals are only a short hop from the international airports of Geneva, Zurich and Basel. Switzerland’s motorways and railroad networks are among the most well developed and maintained in Europe. The main transportation axes, namely the TGV to France, the ICE to Germany and the EuroCity to Italy, all pass-through Western Switzerland.

Economic, political and legal stability

In an increasingly unpredictable world, Switzerland stands out as a reassuring beacon of economic, political and legal stability. It was ranked the world’s most economically and politically stable country in the world in the 2022 edition of U.S News and World Report’s Best Countries Index. Thanks to this and Switzerland’s sound and transparent legal system, investors are able to engage in long-term activities with complete peace of mind.

Liberal labor market

The Swiss labor market is renowned for its flexibility. Companies can employ and dismiss staff at short notice with no difficulty. The country is very competitive in terms of workforce productivity as a result of the high employment rate, longer working hours (40-44 hours per week), and less vacation (4-5 weeks per year) compared to neighboring countries. The rate of employee absenteeism is very low, and labor strikes are extremely rare. In 2012, the Swiss voted against increasing statutory holiday entitlement from four to six weeks.  

An important global talent hub

Switzerland has been firmly leading the IMD World Talent Ranking for sixth consecutive years, emerging as the best country in the world at attracting, developing and retaining top talent. With the combination of vocational training and quality university programs, the Swiss education system is well positioned to meet the needs of a competitive economy. The excellent living and working conditions that Switzerland offers explain why the country is a magnet for international talent

Free movement of persons

Thanks to the bilateral agreement on the free movement of persons, the Swiss labor market effectively includes the entire area of the EU and EFTA, making it easier for Swiss-based businesses to hire suitably qualified staff. Nationals of the EU and EFTA member states enjoy the right to enter, live and work freely in Switzerland. Citizens from third-party countries must obtain work and residence permits.

Free movement of capital, goods and services

Switzerland is fully integrated into the EU market, its main trading partner, thanks to a free trade agreement and numerous bilateral agreements covering the free movement of capital, goods and services. The country also benefits from a network of 33 free trade agreements with 43 partners outside of the European Union, most notably with China.

Competitive taxation

Switzerland has a modern corporate tax system designed to respond to the needs of the economy. Consistent with the country’s federal structure, taxes are imposed at the federal, cantonal and municipal levels. In Western Switzerland, the combined tax rates range from 11.7% to 21.6%, which is highly competitive by international standards. An array of possible deductions are available, with a focus on R&D and innovation. At 8.1%, Switzerland has the lowest VAT rate in Europe.

Proactive and supportive authorities

As a result of Switzerland’s federal structure, investing companies have easy access to government decision-makers, far more so than in other countries with a centralized government. Every canton has a number of tools at its disposal to support investors. Depending on the project and the value it brings, most notably in terms of job creation, the cantonal authorities can provide either financial assistance or tax relief.

An international and multilingual environment

Very few regions in the world are as international and cosmopolitan as Western Switzerland. From Bern to Geneva, around one-fifth of the population holds a foreign passport. French and German are the two official languages in the region. The third national language, Italian, is also spoken, while English is widely used in business. This linguistic and cultural diversity, coupled with the high concentration of foreign residents, make Western Switzerland a region of tolerance and openness.

Switzerland’s liberal economic system, political stability, and close integration with the economies of other countries make it a sought-after location for global and regional headquarters of international companies.

In a nutshell: Western Switzerland has been chosen by some of the world’s largest banks, high-tech companies, and international distribution firms as the location for their headquarters or other essential business operations. The region’s attractive investment environment, international factor, and pleasant quality of life make it an ideal destination for companies looking to establish their headquarters or international service centers.