Swiss watch work force at 25 year high

The workforce of the Swiss watch industry is at its highest number in 25 years, says the latest census of the Employers’ Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (CP). This indicates “an economic sector with the wind in its sails,” said the CP report, which also noted that “the degree of qualification” is becoming more important.

According to CP figures, as of Sept. 30, 2005, the Swiss watch and micro-engineering industry employed 41,728 workers (a 4.3 percent increase). Much of this was in production, where the workforce increased 5.8 percent (to 31,000 people).

“After fluctuating for a number of years around the 40,000 mark, the number of watch industry workers has taken a noticeable upturn, bringing the sector close to the potential it had 25 years ago,” said the CP report. “Indeed one has to go back to 1981 to find a similar number of workers (45,885).”

The report also noted that:

* Three quarters of those on the watch industry payroll work in company workshops.

*The ratio between men and women is male workers (54.3%) and female workers (45.7%).

* The level of training of production personnel has risen constantly in recent years, as Swiss watchmaking has “focused increasingly on top-of-the-range products aimed at the luxury market.”