Information and communications technologies

The Information and Communication Technologies’ industry (ICT) is a pillar of the Swiss economy, employing more than 150,000 workers in the telecommunications and IT sectors combined, making the industry one of the top five employers in the country.

In the software sector, more than 80% of the companies offer software development and consulting, while the remaining companies are active in wholesale and retail trade. The Swiss software industry largely focuses on the implementation of standard software programs from abroad. The sector is primarily comprised of SMEs, employing on average fewer than ten staff members.

The strength of the telecommunications’ sector is evident in its workforce productivity, being approximately three times more productive than the Swiss average. These results bring the industry close to high-added-value sectors, such as the chemical-pharmaceutical and banking industries.

Over the years, the ICT sector has succeeded in attracting numerous prestigious multinationals to Switzerland for business activities such as identifying research partners, establishing support and sales subsidiaries and relocating international headquarters.

More than 700 companies employing some 32,000 people work in the field of information and communication technology in the canton of Vaud, divided equally between research and development and the production and distribution of high value added products and services.

This pool of know-how covers everything from software programming to data storage, processing, analysis and transmission. Multimedia applications and man/machine interfaces are two new emerging fields in the canton along with e-commerce, which is developing quickly.

Active and productive research is carried out in the ICT sector, notably by the School of Computer and Communication Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL), which specialises in computer security for instance, or the Information Systems Institute at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) or even by the Computer Science Department and the Telecommunications Department at Vaud School of Business and Engineering (HEIG-VD).

A few examples of companies