3 Reasons Why Switzerland Could Be The New Silicon Valley

When someone mentions Switzerland, it’s typically things like alpine skiing, artisan chocolate, luxury watches and banking that come to mind. Technology is rarely associated with the affluent country, but perhaps it should be.

According to dealroom.co, Swiss startups raised a record $3.1 billion in 2021, with the country’s entire startup ecosystem worth around $149 billion (almost four times its value five years previously). Switzerland also has more startups per million inhabitants than the likes of the UK, Germany, France and Spain, and the second-most unicorns per million inhabitants in the whole of Europe (behind Israel). It’s no wonder that the country has attracted more and more foreign workers in recent times, with the number rising by over 9% between 2014 and 2019. 

The pace of growth is substantial, leading to some proclaiming that Switzerland could be the new Silicon Valley.  Here are three reasons why Switzerland is placing itself firmly on the map as a global tech hub.



1. High tech salaries 

One reason so many people want to work in Switzerland’s tech industry is the high salaries on offer, something that bodes well for its future prospects too. For example, one study found that the country offered the highest cloud tech salaries in the world, with the average being $133,326, ahead of the US ($114,772) and Australia ($102,423). The story is similar for software developers in Switzerland too, with the average salary being $107,922, above the US ($98,000) and Iceland ($77,720).

Although the higher salaries are partly down to Switzerland’s high cost of living, this is countered by its low tax rates, making the country a very appealing prospect for tech workers, whether domestic or foreign. 

It’s also easier than ever to find a tech job in the country with a rise in specialist job websites, whether someone’s looking for a role in software development, SAP or e-finance


2. An infrastructure primed for success

Switzerland’s infrastructure has played a massive role in the success of its tech industry. Take its top-ranking research institutions and universities like the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich ETH) and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), for example. Or its array of incubators and accelerators, such as Bluelion, DayOne and VentureKick. These organisations both train up the talent required for tech innovation, and give startups all the tools they need to follow through on their ideas. 

What’s more, the Swiss government has done lots to remove any barriers to success through measures like tax breaks and reducing bureaucracy via online platforms such as EasyGov.swiss.

It also invests roughly 3.15% of its GDP into research and development, which is significantly higher than the OECD average of 2.38%, and offers a wide range of work permits for international talent. In regions like Vaud, the majority of business owners are non-Swiss. All of this suggests that the future of the Swiss tech industry will be bright. 


3. Huge innovation levels 

Another reason for the Swiss tech scene’s rising stock is its high innovation levels. It was named Europe’s most innovative country in 2021 by the European Commission, while it has also been awarded the most innovative country in the world by the Global Innovation Index (GII) every year since 2011.

One example of this innovation in practice is Switzerland’s thriving cryptocurrency sector, which has been dubbed Europe’s “crypto valley”. As well as having a fully regulated cryptocurrency and digital securities industry, the country also boasts a digital stock exchange and a nationwide crypto fund (called the Crypto Market Index Fund).

Meanwhile, other examples of innovation include production of leading technologies in areas like artificial intelligence, digital personalised health, robotics and manufacturing. The country is home to an array of globally successful tech businesses too, including the likes of Bitcoin Suisse, Swisscom and ALSO Holding. With all this going on, it’s no wonder that the Swiss tech scene has been compared to Silicon Valley.

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