Economy and industry

What are the most important economic sectors in Switzerland?

The Swiss economy is highly developed, thanks to the liberal economic system, political stability and close integration with foreign countries. The well-educated and trained workforce also plays an important role in Switzerland’s success.


The biggest economic sector in Switzerland is the service sector, incorporating banks, insurance, tourism, the wholesale and retail trades, public administration and social insurance services. The industrial sector is also important to the Swiss economy, encompassing the mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and metal industries, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, medical technology, the food industry and clocks and watch making. The smallest economic sector is agriculture.


In 2017 there were more than 590,000 companies operating under market economy conditions in Switzerland, three quarters of which were active in the service sector. More than 99% of all enterprises in Switzerland are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), i.e. businesses employing fewer than 250 employees. Around 89% are micro enterprises, with fewer than 10 employees. Two thirds of the workforce works in SMEs and one third in large corporations. (Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office, as at 2017).