Just before Christmas, French television channel France 2 published a report on why Switzerland is succeeding in the current economical uncertainty, while France cannot get out of the ground.
This 93 minutes documentary is structured around 4 topics:
- Swiss companies perform in exporting their products and services, even with high salaries in international comparison
- The education system, and why young people can find a job. It makes a great job on explaining that the social elevator still work in Switzerland (you don’t need to be the “daughter/son of…” to get a good work position and responsibilities… if you work hard)
- The political system. And why strikes is something that we don’t understand in Switzerland.
- The attraction power of Switzerland for people living close to its boundaries, and why it can be sometime tense people living between both sides.
The TV coverage makes an amazing job in explaining how it works in Switzerland, and why a lot of French people have stereotypes on us. And why these stereotypes (OK, by definition) are completely wrong.
IMHO, Switzerland has 2 simple qualities that can differentiate it from some other countries, like France (yes, it can also be seen as a stereotype!):
- Swiss people love working and building high quality stuff. There is a general understanding and acceptation that nothing is due in life – you have to earn it!
- Humility. Even if there are worldwide leading products built in Switzerland, most Swiss people are proud of their work without being arrogant. Sometimes, it’s also an inconvenient as we don’t market enough our qualities (marketing problem!).
Of course, this TV coverage is not completely true and paints Switzerland as an Eldorado. I’m really lucky to be born here, but I don’t feel everything is that better than everywhere else. The international competition is fierce. Even if such documentaries flatter our ego and proudness, we have to wake up.
There are ways to improve Switzerland. Yes, Switzerland is performing, but it could do a lot more. This country has a wide range of top performing industries (and has still a strong industrial component, even if it is not a low-cost country), making it really strong in economical downtimes and uncertainties. But we could do more. We have to do more. Especially on everything related to the internet. Or generally speaking in commercializing innovations (that don’t come from well-established players). But politics don’t realize it that much, as the country performs so well.
The documentary is in French – sorry for everyone not understanding it. It would be amazing if someone would find time to translate it and make subtitles…