Working in Lugano?

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Working in Lugano

Working in Lugano allows you to experience fast-paced city life along with all the benefits of outdoor recreation and the excellence of the Swiss social security system. To find out more, from key sectors to health insurance, read on below.
Regular fireworks on Lake Lugano are a testament to the city's thriving tourist economy.

At a Glance:

  • Lugano is the third-largest financial center in Switzerland, with many of the city’s population employed in the financial sector.
  • Working conditions in the country include a maximum of 45 or 50 hours per week (depending on the sector) and an annual four weeks of paid leave.
  • The Swiss social security system is made up of three pillars: state funds, occupational funds, and private savings. For employees, only contributions to the third pillar are optional.
  • If you decide to move to Lugano, you will need to purchase basic Swiss health insurance. You will also have to contribute ten percent towards the cost of any prescription drugs or treatments.
  • In Switzerland, you are free to access any doctor or hospital. However, pharmacies are usually the first point of call.

Key Employment Sectors

While the economy in Ticino is historically weaker than in German-speaking Switzerland, with slightly higher unemployment rates than the national average (6.1% vs. 4.6% in Q2/2018), there are still opportunities for expats. In 2016, roughly 90 percent of the population were employed in the tertiary sector. For some time now, business, tourism, and finance in particular have been crucial parts of the local economy.

Lugano is the third-largest financial center in Switzerland and not only home to Swiss banks, but there are also plenty of private international banks with offices there. In 2017, there were 54 banks in the city and municipality, as well as over 6,400 other business taking care of financial and trustee activities.

Alternatively, you might find a job in the tourism industry. Tourists are attracted by both Lugano’s historic center and the beautiful scenery, and the industry continues to thrive.

There’s also been steady development in the business and industrial sectors. This has been matched by improvement in the health sector, thanks to scientific research organizations which support Lugano’s medical facilities. The relocation of the Swiss National Supercomputing Center to Lugano in 2012 has also brought further investment to the city.

General Working Conditions in Switzerland

Working hours are limited by Swiss law to a maximum of 45 to 50 hours a week, depending on the sector. This means that you will probably be working longer hours in Lugano than in your home country. However, the good news is that all employees are entitled to four weeks of paid vacation per year, five if they are 20 years or younger.

Next to paid leave, expats working in Lugano can look forward to one federal holiday on 1 August (National Day) and 14 public holidays recognized as such in the canton of Ticino:

  • New Year (1 January)
  • Epiphany (6 January)
  • Saint Joseph (19 March)
  • Easter Monday
  • Labor Day (1 May)
  • Ascension Day
  • Whit Monday
  • Corpus Christi
  • Saint Peter & Paul (29 June)
  • Assumption Day (15 August)
  • All Saints Day (1 November)
  • Immaculate Conception Day (8 December)
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • St. Stephen’s Day (26 December)

Looking for a Job in Lugano

In order to move to Lugano, you typically first need a job offer. The following tools are useful if you wish to search for a job in Lugano:

If you would like some more information about the Swiss workplace, check out our extended guide about jobs and business in Switzerland.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

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