Selection of employers for a career in Valais
In Valais, holidaymakers and locals alike appreciate the proximity of nature and leisure attractions, the tranquillity and the easy-going lifestyle. The Rhône valley is home to many companies and start-ups that offer their staff a working space suited to their needs and a quality of life superior to that in major urban centres. Discover some of the employers in Valais who offer particularly attractive working conditions and career prospects.
Valais is the second most active canton in Switzerland in the field of life sciences. It boasts a long industrial tradition that includes biotechnology, chemistry and the use of alpine medicinal plants, and is home to five production sites operated by the largest Swiss pharmaceutical groups.
These include Lonza, a leading international company in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries; based in Visp, it is one of the largest employers in Valais, with 3,400 employees. It is always looking for highly qualified staff (biologists, chemists and engineers); recently it has invested in the innovative IBEX project, unique worldwide. Lonza has also made news with the production of an anti-Covid vaccine. As an employer, the company has set up many personal and professional development programmes for its employees.
With 5,400 staff, the Valais Hospital is another major employer in the field of health. Its two principal sites, in Brig and Sion, offer a wide variety of jobs not only in general and specialised medicine but also in administration, catering, technical services and logistics. Employees can benefit from further training at simulation and training centres.
Tourism and transport
Hotels, restaurants, welcome services, leisure activities, ski lifts, cable cars and transport: tourism accounts for about 18% of jobs in Valais.
Among the many companies active in the sector, BVZ Holding is one that plays a central role in the image of the canton as a holiday destination. Its tourist trains – the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, the Gornergrat Bahn and the Glacier Express – operate on spectacular lines through magnificent Valais landscapes. The company has been rated one of Switzerland’s 10 best employers by the publications Handelszeitung and Le Temps; professionals in the rail sector enjoy attractive career prospects.
Air Glaciers and Air Zermatt are other companies that fire the imagination. The two firms have been active in air transport for 50 years, and their teams include pilots, paramedics, flight assistants, technicians, mechanics and administrative staff. Their activities range from tourist flights to transport of equipment and goods, and also include a variety of missions, notably mountain rescue: an exceptional environment and mission for a fascinating job.
Innovation, research and development
Valais has evolved into a dynamic innovation and technology hub, bringing creative energy to a variety of high-tech fields and generating numerous ground-breaking projects thanks to its various research institutes, centres of higher education and innovation park.
The Idiap institute, based in Martigny, specialises in research and development in the fields of human-machine interaction and the processing of multimedia information. About a hundred scientists, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers work in projects covering audio processing, video, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Over in Sion, the Energypolis Valais/Wallis campus is creating an ecosystem of innovation in the fields of energy, the environment and health, with 12 laboratories, 226 researchers and 92 PhD students from 43 countries. These scientists are taking part in international projects that are helping shape the world of tomorrow.
Valais boasts a rich and varied ecosystem of start-ups that are developing innovative projects in applications from coffee machines to biometrics and mountain rescue. Employees enjoy the chance to collaborate on pioneering projects in a variety of stimulating fields.
Some of these start-ups are working towards a more sustainable vision of the Valais of tomorrow. RedElec, for example, has developed a solution for producing an eco-friendlier dye for the denim industry. To make aviation cleaner, H55 has designed an electrically propelled aircraft that flies without any CO₂ emissions whatsoever thanks to an innovative battery management system. Aqua 4D has perfected a revolutionary technique that uses electromagnetic signals to solve salinity problems in agricultural land.
Other companies use new technology to simplify daily life. KeyLemon, for example, is a start-up that specialises in 3D face recognition for smartphones, and which now works with Apple. Nivitec has developed drones with thermal vision that help find avalanche victims. Eversys, meanwhile, manufactures connected coffee machines that offer barista quality combined with the simplicity of an automatic machine.
Mechanical and precision industries
Quality and precision are two Swiss values that find perfect expression in Valais mechanical workshops. These produce everything from miniature parts that demand micron precision to machines weighing several tons destined for the wider public and prestigious clients.
At St. Niklaus, in the Zermatt valley, Scintilla AG, which forms part of the Bosch group, manufactures accessories for electrical tools used by DIY enthusiasts, crafts people and mechanics worldwide. 2,800 employees work for the group in Valais, including 680 in St. Niklaus. The company recently invested 32 million Swiss francs in the extension of its site in Upper Valais, and offers its employees a variety of courses ranging from yoga and meditation to sports training.