Swiss Post opens its own IT development site in Portugal to secure vital IT expertise for future development
Swiss Post is seeing automation and digitization increase every year. At the same time, there is an acute shortage of IT specialists in Switzerland and the battle to attract the best IT professionals is intensifying. This is having a direct impact on Swiss Post. Vacancies increasingly remain unfilled as the company is now unable to recruit enough IT professionals in Switzerland. In response, Swiss Post is adopting a fresh approach: it is setting up its own European IT development site in Portugal with up to 120 additional employees in the medium term. This step will give the company access to the international labour market to secure the IT skills it will need for the future. It will enable Swiss Post to continue providing people and companies in Switzerland with its high-quality logistics and digital services in future. However, the Swiss labour market remains key to Swiss Post, including the IT sector. The company will not transfer any IT jobs abroad. On the contrary, it plans to create 200 new IT jobs in Switzerland by 2030.
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Swiss Post is adapting to meet the changing requirements of its customers. Switzerland and its companies are becoming increasingly digital. More and more Swiss Post solutions, processes and working procedures are based on information technology. Swiss Post is also continually developing new digital services. The company’s IT unit with its 1,300 staff is the driving force behind these rapid developments. Swiss Post has one of the biggest IT departments in Switzerland. It is making considerable investments in this area by improving internal basic and advanced training opportunities, promoting mobile working and by focusing on diversity. “We’re doing everything we can to position ourselves as an attractive IT employer,” says Wolfgang Eger, CIO and Member of Executive Management. “Despite all these efforts, it’s still taking a long time to fill vacancies or we’re unable to find enough of the specialists needed. This means we face a growing risk of a shortage of the vital IT resources required over the medium and long term to implement the digitization of Swiss Post as planned,” adds Eger. This wouldn’t only have a negative impact on Swiss Post itself, but also on the Swiss public and economy. Swiss Post needs to avoid such a scenario. That’s why the company has no option but to look for fresh solutions.
Switzerland will face a shortage of around 35,000 IT professionals up to 2028.
Around 70 IT vacancies at Swiss Post were unfilled at the end of August 2022. The recruitment process is taking increasingly longer – and often takes over nine months for data specialists. There are no signs of this trend reversing. On the contrary, the shortage of IT professionals and battle to attract the best IT talent is intensifying. Estimates indicate that Switzerland will face a shortage of around 35,000 IT professionals up to 2028. On top of that, around 270 employees are also set to retire from Swiss Post’s IT unit over the next decade. And Swiss Post also wants to remain independent of external IT providers in key areas of expertise in future.
Setting up a subsidiary in Portugal will provide access to more IT specialists
Against this backdrop, Swiss Post is adopting a fresh approach and setting up its own IT site in Portugal. This move will give the company access to the IT skills required on the European labour market – particularly in software development, data and business analysis and cybersecurity. The Swiss Post site in Lisbon will begin operations in the first quarter of 2023 with around 50 specialists. It then aims to increase headcount to around 120 employees over the coming years. Swiss Post is founding a new subsidiary in Portugal with the name “Swiss Post I/T Portugal”. Out of the various locations evaluated, Lisbon best meets Swiss Post’s requirements. IT professionals in Portugal possess extensive expertise, the quality of work is high and the working conditions and work culture are similar to Switzerland. A site in Europe also facilitates close, day-to-day collaboration with the IT teams in Switzerland.
Swiss Post is retaining its Swiss IT sites and will not transfer any jobs abroad
Swiss Post agreed the setting-up of an IT site in Portugal in close collaboration with the social partners and has provided them with transparent information about the reasons and objectives of the project. Wolfgang Eger, CIO at Swiss Post underlines the point: “The setting-up of the campus in Portugal does not involve the transfer of any jobs from Switzerland abroad. The aim is to recruit the IT specialists in Portugal that we are unable to find sufficient numbers of in Switzerland”. This means the Lisbon site will complement Swiss Post’s existing IT sites in Switzerland.
One thing is clear: Switzerland will remain Swiss Post’s main location for IT. And Swiss Post will continue developing its existing IT sites in Switzerland. The company intends to strengthen its position as a key IT employer and training company over the coming years and is set to create around 200 new IT jobs by 2030. “The demand for IT skills at Swiss Post will continue to grow,” adds Eger.
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Swiss Post IT: one of Switzerland’s biggest IT departments with around 1,300 employees
- Swiss Post has the third-largest IT department of companies operating nationally in Switzerland. 1,300 employees and around 400 external IT specialists are driving forward the digitization of Swiss Post.
- The department handles over 400 software projects each year, runs more than 1,000 applications and has around 5,000 databases – with these figures set to rise in future.
- Swiss Post has comprehensively transformed its IT department since 2019, consistently aligning it with the new “Swiss Post of tomorrow” strategy.
- Besides its headquarters in Zollikofen, Swiss Post has IT sites in Bern, Zurich and many other places in Switzerland. It has also upgraded its locations in Neuchâtel and Bellinzona into competence centers over recent years. This provides Swiss Post with key IT expertise throughout Switzerland.
- Swiss Post also takes on around 60 ICT apprentices a year, providing training in information and communication technology.