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Swiss Statistics

Surveys, Sources – Swiss Labour Force Survey (SLFS)Overview

Brief description Conducted for the first time in 1991, the Swiss Labour Force Survey (SLFS) is sent out to individuals every year. The main purpose of the SLFS is to provide information on the structure of the labour force and employment behaviour patterns. Strict adherence to international definitions allows Swiss data to be compared with OECD and EU data. Since 2010, the SLFS is conducted on a continuous basis. The interviews from the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2009 enable the passage from the old to the new SLFS.
Institution responsible Federal Statistical Office
Responsible service Labour Force
Responsible person / information Sylvie Regli Greub, +41 58 46 36292,
- To order anonymised SLFS data for your research project: form and conditions for receipt of anonymised SLFS data (in French External website. Content opens in new window. or German External website. Content opens in new window.).
- Information on FSO surveys for science and research: Communication Portal for Accessing Social Statistics (COMPASS) External website. Content opens in new window.
Conducted by SFSO with the help of LINK Marketing Services Lucerne/Lausanne/Zurich/Lugano
Legal bases Swiss Federal Ordinance of 30 June 1993 (RS 431.012.1)
Type of survey / statistic Survey based on sampling of individuals. The SLFS is a telephone survey based on a sample of some 105,000 interviews (approx. 35,000 from 2002 to 2009 and approx. 16,000 until 2001).
The addresses are selected at random from the FSO’s sample register. This is mainly based of official records of the inhabitants of the municipalities and cantons.Since 2003, an additional sampling of foreigners (15,000 until 2009 and 21,000 from 2010)  was selected from the central information system on migration (ZEMIS). From the 2nd quarter of 2014, this subsample is also selected from the FSO’s sample register.In total, 126’000 interviews are conducted.
The persons who participate in the survey are interviewed 4 times over a period of one and a half year.
Statistical basis and survey units Permanent resident population aged 15 and older
Features registered
  • Employment (current or past)
  • Reasons for remaining economically inactive (retirement, education or training, etc.)
  • Educational background and profession
  • Place of work, work volume (in hours)
  • Working conditions: work schedule, night shift, work over the weekends
  • Economic branch
  • Job income, household income
  • Jobseeker (unemployed, underemployed)
  • Professional and geographical mobility
  • Education and continued education
  • Unpaid work: household and family-related chores, community service and volunteer work, helping relatives, etc.
  • Migrations
  • Social security.
Degree of regionalisation Switzerland and main regions
Reference period from 1991 to 2009: 2nd quarter, every quarter from 2010
Period survey conducted from 1991 to 2008: 2nd quarter, 2009: 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters, from 2010: From January to December on a continuous basis
Periodicity from 1991 to 2009: annually, from 2010: quarterly
Available since 1991
Statistical quality of data Coefficient of variation of 0.6% for all employed persons and of 4% for all unemployed (ILO-based) (2nd quarter 2010). An indication of the coefficients of variation is given in the quarterly press releases "Swiss Labour Force Survey and its derived statistics".
  • 2001: questionnaire revised
  • 2002: population sample increased
  • Since 2003: additional population sample taken from Central Information Service on Migration
  • Since 2010: continuous survey, revision of questionnaire
  • Since 2nd quarter 2014: changing sampling frame
Last Update 19.05.2015
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