The head of the EAER is Guy Parmelin. He has been a member of the Federal Council since 2016.
Fit for the digital world
Data networking is leading to the creation of totally new products, services and business models. This digital transformation has an impact not only on technical processes: people are also affected. Companies are having to reorganise and often to restructure. Working methods and forms of cooperation are changing for workers, who must support the process of transformation if it is to be successful. This means they need to be involved in it. They need training to prepare them for the challenges of the future. Many job profiles are changing, and new ones are emerging. The cantons, Confederation and private sector are jointly involved in defining and applying the new profiles.
«A trained workforce fit to face the challenges of the future.»
Vocation or occupation?
Digitalisation is transforming the world of work. Until recently, people tended to train for a trade or profession and stay in it for their entire career. This is no longer the case today. People frequently learn a second profession just a few years after qualifying in their first, and do not find out what they really want to do until much later on in life. Internships and work experience give young people a taste of professions that they might wish to pursue. The opportunities in part-time training are being constantly expanded, and this will ensure that the workforce is equipped with the skills required by the labour market of the future.
Competition as the basis of free trade
A skilled workforce is the backbone of our economy, boosting the innovative strength and competitiveness of the private sector. Export-oriented businesses need to be especially competitive. And they need to be able to access foreign markets with as much freedom and as little discrimination as possible.
Free trade agreements (FTAs) are important instruments in achieving these aims. Switzerland already has 30 FTAs with 40 different countries, as well as with the EU and EFTA states. The Federal Council seeks to sign agreements with all of Switzerland’s major trading partners. Last year saw successful negotiations with Indonesia and the Mercosur states, and Switzerland is currently engaged in discussions on FTAs with several other countries.
Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and ResearchEAER
The EAER sets the framework conditions for the economy and the labour market, with the aim of sustainable growth and prosperity for the whole country. With this remit alone almost everyone living in Switzerland is directly affected by the work of the EAER, but other important aspects of everyday life play an important role too, such as agriculture and the food we eat, housing and the roof over our heads, and provision with essential supplies in the event of a crisis.
||CHF 12.24 billion
|Staff (full-time positions) 2018
General Secretariat GS-EAER
The General Secretariat is the staff and coordination office of the head of department. It manages the department’s needs in terms of human and financial resources, prepares parliamentary and Federal Council business and is responsible for keeping the general public informed about the EAER’s activities. The Federal Consumer Affairs Bureau FCAB reports to the General Secretariat for administrative matters. Among other things the FCAB is responsible for granting financial assistance to consumer organisations, ensuring the declaration of origin of wood and wood products, and together with SECO runs a product safety information and reporting office.
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
SECO deals with the key issues concerning economic policy. It aims to promote sustainable economic growth, high employment and fair working conditions. To achieve this it creates the necessary regulatory, economic and foreign economic policy conditions. The range of issues that SECO deals with includes labour market policy, employee protection, the dismantling of trade barriers, access to foreign markets, and economic development and cooperation.
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI
Education, research and innovation (ERI) are of fundamental importance for Switzerland, whose success depends on the generation, dissemination and exploitation of expertise and knowledge. SERI is mandated to strengthen and further develop the quality of the ERI system in collaboration with the cantons, business, higher education institutions and bodies active in promoting research and innovation.
Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG
Switzerland is shaped to a large extent by its agriculture. To ensure that this remains so, the FOAG seeks to ensure a thriving agricultural and food sector capable of achieving market success through its high-quality products, sustainable production methods and the measures it implements to preserve resources. The FOAG is committed to establishing conditions conducive to promoting entrepreneurial capacity in agriculture. The research institute, Agroscope, provides the scientific basis to achieve this.
Federal Office for National Economic Supply FONES
In its capacity as a centre of expertise in matters regarding security of supply, the FONES, in close cooperation with the private sector, partner authorities and the cantons, ensures that serious short-term supply shortages of important goods and services do not result in significant disruption for the Swiss population and economy.
Federal Office for Housing FOH
Housing is a basic need and an important economic asset. The FOH promotes a housing market that is attractive for investors and supplies enough residential space in all price categories. The FOH provides targeted financial support for the construction of non-profit residential buildings. It seeks to reconcile the interests of landlords and tenants in tenancy legislation.
Federal Office for Civilian Service CIVI
The Federal Office for Civilian Service (CIVI) is responsible for all aspects of civilian service. Civilian service is a compulsory service for young men who object to doing military service on grounds of conscience; it provides services to the community where resources are scarce and assumes civilian responsibilities in security policy.
Office of the Price Supervisor
The price supervisor intervenes in situations where prices increase excessively owing to a lack of free market competition. The price supervisor is primarily active in the health and infrastructure sectors.
Competition Commission COMO
COMCO’s task is to ensure open markets. It intervenes in cases of cartel formation, abuse of market power, mergers that threaten open markets, and state obstacles to competition. In its capacity as ‘advocate of competition’ it provides information and advice to companies and government authorities.
Federal Institutes of Technology Group ETH Domain
The ETH Domain consists of the two federal institutes of technology, ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne, and the four research institutes, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Testing and Research (Empa) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). The ETH Board is the strategic management and supervisory body of the ETH Domain. It supervises development plans, carries out control activities and ensures good coordination among its partners.
Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET
SFIVET is Switzerland’s expert organisation for vocational education and training. It offers basic and continuing training to VET professionals, conducts VET research, contributes to the development of occupations and supports international cooperation in vocational and professional education and training. It has regional campuses in Zollikofen near Bern (main campus), Lausanne and Lugano, as well as off-campus space in Olten and Zurich.
Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse
Innosuisse funds innovation projects run jointly by companies and higher education institutions, helps start-ups to launch their business ideas and promotes the transfer of knowledge and technology between academia and industry.