Recommended by the EU, the activity rate is one of the most important labour market indicators. Stable labour market participation considerably enhances a person’s chances of integration. The closer the activity rates of the different population groups are, the greater the trend towards equality of the two groups in labour market participation - at least in terms of quantity and without taking into account the specific situation of each economic sector. Wide disparity in the activity rates can be interpreted as an indication that the labour standards usually and currently in place in Switzerland are not being respected.
Overall, the activity rates of people aged 15 to 64 with different migration statuses were close in 2020. However, the activity rate is slightly lower in the population with a migration background from the first generation and from the second or subsequent generations than in the population without a migration background (83% compared with 85%).
The opposite holds true when observing the activity rates in full-time equivalents (FTE). They are higher in the population with a migration background than in the population without a migration background. The first generation and the second or subsequent generations show higher rates than the population without a migration background (75% and 74% respectively compared to 72%).
Whereas among men, the activity rate and the activity rate in FTE show the same tendencies by migration status, the situation is different among women.
Men from the second or subsequent generations show the lowest activity rate and activity rate in FTE (85% and 83% respectively). Men from the first generation show the highest activity rates (90% and 88% for the activity rate in FTE). These rates are higher than those of men without a migration background (88% and 85%).
Among women, differences are seen depending on the type of activity rate considered. Although women without a migration background show a higher activity rate (82%) than women with a migration background regardless of the generation observed (77% for the first generation and 80% for the second generation), the same women show the lowest activity rate in FTE (60% compared with around 62% for the first generation and 63% for the second or subsequent generations).
Between 2012 and 2020, the activity rates and the activity rates in FTE of 15 to 64 year-olds rose in a contrasting way in all of the population groups observed. The population with a migration background from the first generation saw the strongest increase (+2.2 percentage points).
Regarding the activity rate in FTE, the increase was strongest among the first generation (+3.4 percentage points), whereas it was weakest among the population without a migration background (+1.0 percentage point).
In Espace Mittelland, the population without a migration background shows a significant higher activity rate than the population with a migration background. In terms of the activity rate in FTE, the population with a migration background shows the highest rate everywhere.
With activity rates of 76% and in FTE, of 66%, the population without a migration background living in Ticino has the lowest figures. The highest figures are found among the population without a migration background living in Central Switzerland: 87% and 75% (FTE).
The activity rates (see definition on this page) indicate the labour market participation of the population aged 16 to 64 by migration status. However, they make no distinction between people working full-time or part-time. This information is completed by the activity rates in full-time equivalents, which take into account the work-time percentage.
Economically active persons includes employed and unemployed persons as defined by the ILO. Economically active persons constitute the labour supply. The reference population is the permanent resident population aged 15 to 64.
The activity rate of 15-64 year-olds is the proportion of people participating in the labour market (employed persons) in the reference population.
ContactFederal Statistical Office Section Demography and Migration
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