Multinational Companies

Multinationals are a reflection of the Lake Geneva area

Geneva's history is strongly associated with its openness to the rest of the world, and both Swiss and foreign multinationals find it a fertile breeding ground for their development. The economic vitality and prosperity of the Lake Geneva region are closely linked to their presence. They provide many jobs, are business partners for thousands of SMEs and the self-employed, and make a significant contribution to the welfare state. They also play a key role in research and education. In this way, they play a key role in raising the profile of Geneva
international reputation.

Geneva is the perfect place for them to thrive:

  • a skilled, multilingual local workforce
  • cultural diversity that reflects the markets in which they operate
  • a spirit of openness
  • shared values

Perfectly integrated into the economic and social fabric, multinationals are committed to the region in a responsible way:

  • They recruit locally: 36% of multinationals' employees are Swiss nationals and 44% are from EU/EFTA countries. Recruitment to management and executive positions increasingly benefits local staff.
  • They train hundreds of young people from the region and develop scientific collaborations with leading universities.
  • They offer attractive working conditions and are developing cutting-edge HR policies, particularly in terms of promoting equality.
  • They are committed to charity, sport, culture and associations in partnership with numerous institutions.
  • They are active in terms of sustainable development and their environmental impact: in particular, they encourage soft mobility through incentives for their employees.


Multinationals contribute towards the prosperity and influence of the whole area

The economic vitality and prosperity of the Lake Geneva area are closely linked to the presence of Swiss and foreign multinationals. For example, these multinationals are:

  • Important job providers
  • The commercial partners of hundreds of SMEs and self-employed workers
  • Major contributors to the social state and its academic institutions
  • A key player in promoting the Lake Geneva area around the world

Multinationals represent :

  • 119,169 direct jobs in the canton of Geneva
  • 185,576 direct, indirect and induced jobs generated by the presence of multinationals, i.e. 47% of jobs in Geneva
  • 5.5% of establishments in the canton and 32% of jobs
  • 4% of companies with at least 250 employees account for 55% of all multinational jobs
  • 1.51 jobs in the company for every job in a multinational company
  • 21.3 billion in value added in the canton of Geneva, i.e. 40% of the canton's GDP
  • 2.52 billion in tax revenue from the taxation of the income of employees of multinationals and VAT in Greater Geneva

 The multinationals also invest in:

  • Training for hundreds of young people each year
  • Research and development: nationally, 89% of investment in R&D comes from the multinational sector, making Switzerland a world leader in discoveries and patents (World Wide Web/CERN, Velcro/EPFL, etc.)


Acting together for the future

In a changing world, competition has increased and numerous factors pose a threat to the competitiveness of companies. These include:

  • Higher costs linked to a strong Swiss franc
  • Tax competition between states
  • A tendency towards over-regulation
  • International pressure

This is why multinationals, like SMEs and SMIs, need to be sure of having favourable conditions for their development if they are to plan in the long-term:

  • A stable legal and regulatory framework
  • A long-term political vision which fosters entrepreneurship
  • Competitive taxation which meets international standards
  • An effective social system that encourages peaceful labour relations
  • easier access to skilled labour to complement the local workforce, which implies maintaining the free movement of people
  • easier access to foreign markets
  • stable and lasting relations with the EU


Source: Study on the impact of the international sector in Geneva, Fondation pour Genève, March 2024