Number of Swiss Watch Workers Hits 25-Year High

Manpower in the Swiss watch industry increased to 44,444 workers in 2006, a 6.5 percent gain and the highest number in 25 years, said a June report from the Federation of the Swiss Watchmaking Industry FH. Male workers account for 54.2 percent of the total, female workers 45.8 percent.

The workforce had fluctuated for several years around 40,000, but the new figures make 2006 the second consecutive year with an increase.

Most of the gain was in production personnel (up 6.9 percent, to 33,161), which accounts for about 75 percent of Swiss watch industry workers. Managers also recorded strong increases. Home workers were the only category to decline, falling to 417 people, a 14 percent drop.

The report noted the level of training of production personnel is rising steadily, primarily because Swiss watchmakers increasingly target the luxury market, which requires highly qualified personnel.