Employment Agencies


There are various kinds of agencies that help graduates find a job. Roughly speaking, they can be divided into three main groups:

1. Executive Search

Mostly large international companies that recruit executive staff for their corporate customers. Important to know for first-time employees: These agencies do not offer jobs to newcomers. However, they will certainly be interested at a later date.

2. Job Agencies

Either small offices (staff of 1 to 10) that are specialized in a subject area (finance, IT, pharmaceuticals, sales, etc.) or larger companies with several subsidiaries spread across various regions in Switzerland and across different fields.
Important to know for first-time employees: It is worth comparing a number of job agencies. Depending on the field a job agency can indeed be of help in finding a job but it highly depends on the field. For graduates, the specialized job agencies are particularly helpful (specialized in finance, pharmaceuticals, engineering). It is worth also looking at smaller boutique agencies too which are often specialized in a niche market (engineering, pharmaceuticals, quants, etc.)

3. Staff Leasing Services

Usually larger agencies with several subsidiaries, distributed across all regions of Switzerland, these HR service providers are specialized in hiring out staff. The agencies recruit the candidates on behalf of the customer, and employ them themselves, to then contract the candidates out to the customer. Many large corporations use this recruiting method for temporary projects.
Important to know for first-time employees: This can give first-time employees the chance to get a foot into a large corporation by way of a project.

General Tips for University Graduates

  • A recent trend among companies looking for first-time employees sees a gradual return to inhouse recruiting methods. However, for specialized and highly sought-after candidates, these companies often use the services of employment agencies.
  • Therefore, the more specialized and more sought-after your qualifications, the better it is to use an employment agency.
  • Entering an organization through a project: Take a look at the possibility of accepting a temporary position to gain entry into a company.
  • Working with job agencies: Do not work with too many agencies to avoid overlaps. Always check where the agency is sending your application as companies react badly if they receive an application twice for the same job.
  • Private employment agencies, of which there are many, are agencies that have contracts with companies to fill positions that are not publicly advertised.
  • At www.avg-seco.admin.ch you will find a list of approved private employment agencies and staff leasing agencies.
  • The Swissstaffing association of HR service providers enables you to search for recruitment agencies based on canton or sector.


If you are registered as unemployed, you will have access to the services provided by the government’s regional employment offices, RAV. Further information on RAV can be found here.