Sharp increase in the number of small businesses in Switzerland

“Open” sign outside a storefront.

(05.01.2022) The Swiss economy relies increasingly on a network of small companies. According to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), two-thirds of the country's businesses have fewer than three employees.

In Switzerland, between 2011-2019, the number of businesses with fewer than three employees rose from 348,000 to almost 400,000, a growth of around 15%. At the same time, their importance in the country’s economic fabric rose by 2.7 percentage points. In comparison, the share of companies with 3 to 49 jobs has fallen, whereas the share of companies with over 50 jobs has remained relatively stable over the same period.

Despite this, it is the large companies with more than 250 employees that account for the most jobs (37.7%). Their relative share in total employment increased by 1.1 percentage points over the period under review. Companies with fewer than three employees maintain a stable share (+0.2 points). The Swiss economic fabric thus follows a trend whereby the number of large companies remains relatively low, but their size increases over time; and where the number of very small companies is growing, but the number of employees is decreasing.

In 2019, the Swiss economy employed 5.3 million people, an increase of 1.3% compared to 2011. Between 2011 and 2019, Switzerland created almost 500,000 additional jobs. The tertiary sector is the real driving force of this growth with more than 450,000 jobs created.


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Last modification 05.01.2022

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