Multinational Companies

Multinationals are a reflection of the Lake Geneva area

The history of Geneva is closely linked to its openness to the rest of the world. For more than 50 years, Swiss and foreign multinationals have found it to be the perfect environment for their development:

  • A highly skilled and multilingual local labour force
  • Cultural diversity which reflects the markets in which they operate
  • A spirit of openness
  • Shared values

 Multinationals are fully integrated into the region’s economic and social fabric and are committed to the area:

  • They recruit most of their staff locally: multinationals have the same proportion of Swiss employees and employees with residence permits as other sectors of the economy.
  • They train thousands of young people from the area and develop scientific partnerships with higher education institutes.
  • They offer attractive terms and employment conditions and develop avant-garde HR policies, in particular as regards promoting equality.
  • They are committed to charitable, sports, cultural and voluntary issues, in partnership with numerous institutions.
  • They are focused on sustainable development and their impact on the environment; for example they promote sustainable transport through measures aimed at encouraging its use among their employees.


Multinationals contribute towards the prosperity and influence of the whole area

The economic vitality and prosperity of the Lake Geneva area are closely linked to the presence of Swiss and foreign multinationals. For example, these multinationals are:

  • Important job providers
  • The commercial partners of hundreds of SMEs and self-employed workers
  • Major contributors to the social state and its academic institutions
  • A key player in promoting the Lake Geneva area around the world

 The figures speak for themselves. Multinationals account for:

  • 76,000 jobs in Geneva, 88,000 in the canton of Vaud
  • 2 out of every 3 jobs created in the last 10 years in the region
  • Thousands of indirect jobs, since each job in a multinational generates 1.6 jobs in society (e.g. service providers, shopkeepers, hoteliers, hauliers)
  • More than 40% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the cantons of Geneva and Vaud
  • A substantial proportion of income tax, equating to about 50% of Swiss direct federal taxes

 The multinationals also invest in:

  • Training for hundreds of young people each year
  • Research and development: nationally, 75% of investment in R&D comes from the multinational sector, making Switzerland a world leader in discoveries and patents (World Wide Web/CERN, Velcro/EPFL, etc.)


Acting together for the future

In a changing world, competition has increased and numerous factors pose a threat to the competitiveness of companies. These include:

  • Higher costs linked to a strong Swiss franc
  • Tax competition between states
  • A tendency towards over-regulation
  • International pressure

This is why multinationals, like SMEs and SMIs, need to be sure of having favourable conditions for their development if they are to plan in the long-term:

  • A stable legal and regulatory framework
  • A long-term political vision which fosters entrepreneurship
  • Competitive taxation which meets international standards
  • An effective social system that encourages peaceful labour relations


Sources: the figures published are taken from studies by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the CREA Institute of Applied Macroeconomics, the Foundation for Geneva as well as statistics from the Federal Statistics Office (FSO) and the Cantonal Statistics Office (OCSTAT).