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Working at the ZHAW

The ZHAW is one of the leading multidisciplinary universities of applied sciences in Switzerland. Some 3,600 employees are involved in the areas of teaching, research, continuing education, business services and consultancy.

The university comprises eight Schools that provide a setting for practice-oriented teaching as well as discipline-specific and interdisciplinary research conducted in cooperation with partners from the worlds of industry and business and the public sector. The ZHAW has regional roots with its locations in Winterthur, Zurich and Wädenswil. All three locations are in the the economically strong Greater Zurich Area, offer a high quality of life and enjoy good public transport links.

Workplace Culture

The ZHAW is committed to fostering a university and workplace culture that is characterised by respect and ethical principles and that places an emphasis on dialogue and the ability to reflect on and resolve conflicts. This endeavour is reflected in its “ZHAW Respect” campaign, which clearly broadcasts the university' stance against discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment.

Work Life Balance

The ZHAW attaches great importance to ensuring that its employees enjoy a healthy work-life balance. It utilises an annual working time model, allowing employees to manage their work in line with their individual needs.

Flexible working and home-office arrangements

All employees can work from home in consultation with their line manager, provided that their work is not location-specific. In order to offer greater flexibility and mobility, ZHAW employees have access to workplaces at all of the university’s locations.

Part-time work, job sharing and co-leadership arrangements

The ZHAW promotes part-time employment and job sharing. This also applies to management positions and co-leadership arrangements.

Combining work and family life and childcare

The ZHAW supports its employees in reconciling their work and family commitments with income-dependent support contributions towards third-party childcare. Together with the pop e poppa daycare centre network, it offers a flexible and professional childcare solution. ZHAW employees can have their children looked after by the hour and at short notice at any of the daycare centres included in the network. The ZHAW will also cover part of the childcare costs irrespective of the employee’s income.


All ZHAW employees are entitled to a minimum of five weeks of holiday per year. The holiday entitlement is based on the age of the employee.

  • Up to and including 20 years of age: 27 days
  • 20 years of age and above: 25 days
  • 50 years of age and above: 27 days
  • 60 years of age and above: 32 days

Parental leave

All female ZHAW employees are entitled to 16 weeks’ maternity leave when their child is born, regardless of the length of tenure. During this period, employees will be paid their full salary. The ZHAW grants ten days of paternity leave when a child is born. The father or co-mother may also take one month of unpaid leave during the child’s first year of life.

Campus Card

The Campus Card is not only the internal ID card for accessing buildings and photocopiers. It can also be used to make cashless payments in the university’s cafeterias and canteens. Employees can likewise benefit with their Campus Card outside the ZHAW by taking advantage of discounts and concessions in numerous stores.

University Library

Our modern university libraries offer an extensive range of specialist literature, media and learning opportunities, and can be accessed both on site and digitally. You can get advice in connection with any questions you may have pertaining to research and the procurement of media. Further services include open access publication, OER consulting, research training and advice as well as media use. Employees can make use of attractive workspaces in the libraries at all ZHAW locations.


All ZHAW locations offer a varied and balanced menu comprising sustainably produced lunchtime meals and snacks at reduced prices.


The ZHAW offers a wide range of events that provide you with the opportunity to get involved, exchange ideas and network. They include the ZHAW-wide University Day, team events and information events.

Housing services for new arrivals

The ZHAW arranges centrally located flats in Winterthur for incoming staff from abroad. The flats are modern and functionally furnished and can be rented for a minimum stay of two weeks.

Diversity and Inclusion

At the ZHAW, people from various walks of life and different generations come together to learn and work. We view diversity as an opportunity to drive innovation and see things from different perspectives. Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring an environment characterised by tolerance and openness. At the same time, we are well aware of our responsibility to create favourable conditions and eliminate any discrimination that may exist.

With the central Diversity Unit based within the President’s Office and Diversity Officers in each of its Schools, the ZHAW has an institutional diversity management system in place with numerous consulting and training services.

Barrier-free university

We are committed to ensuring the equal participation of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and are actively involved in removing any barriers that could act as an obstacle to pursuing a career at the ZHAW.

Gender equality management

The ZHAW’s gender equality management encompasses all strategies and measures in this area.

The ZHAW has taken numerous measures aimed at achieving a gender balance at all levels and across all departments. These measures include increasing the proportion of women in management positions, promoting diversity competence among our management staff and ensuring the equal participation of all genders, be this with respect to the assumption of responsibility, the provision of information, remuneration or access to education.

We also promote part-time management positions and co-leadership arrangements.

Personal Development

The ZHAW promotes lifelong learning by adapting to societal changes and offering employees a wide range of training and continuing education programmes that facilitate their individual development in different life situations. The ZHAW lifelong learning strategy provides a guide for navigating this continuous development process. Thanks to the practice-oriented and wide-ranging training and continuing education courses, the ZHAW is able to support its employees in their continuous development at various stages of their lives.

Continuing education and language courses

As a university, the ZHAW finds itself at the source of education, and our employees can also benefit from this. The ZHAW provides support for internal and external continuing education and offers a wide range of practice-oriented continuing education courses itself. Its offering consists of more than 100 courses, most of which are free of charge. Every ZHAW employee also benefits from a 20% discount on all MAS, DAS, CAS and continuing education courses generally offered by the university. The ZHAW also offers discounted language courses. In addition, ZHAW employees have free access to the LinkedIn Learning online programme that comprises a large selection of courses for professional further development.

International networking and continuing education

ZHAW employees have the opportunity to attend an international university to undertake continuing education, perform teaching activities or as part of their research. They can also take advantage of two mobility programmes: the Swiss-European Mobility Programme (SEMP) supports university staff and students in continuing their professional development at a partner university or at a corresponding institution in Europe. Swissnex is a global network that connects Switzerland with the world in the areas of research, education and innovation. It has locations in Brazil, China, India, Japan and the US. The network aims to support Swiss universities as well as their employees and students in networking at an international level.

Promoting early-stage researchers

The ZHAW supports early-stage researchers at every step of their journey and provides them with the opportunity to complete a doctorate at a recognised high level in cooperation with national and international universities.

Mentoring programme for women

The “Frauen für Führungspositionen” (women for management positions) mentoring programme provides support to qualified women who are interested in a management role. The programme provides insights into management activities at universities of applied sciences in the canton of Zurich and motivates students to take on such a position.


The ZHAW teaches practical knowledge and learning competences in addition to entrepreneurial skills. As an entrepreneurial university, it empowers students and employees to pursue bold ideas and get involved in new networks and an entrepreneurial community, thus enabling them to play their part in shaping the future and meeting the needs of society and the economy.

Environmental, Economic and Social Sustainability at the ZHAW

At the ZHAW, we are committed to ensuring the sustainability of society and preserving natural resources.

The ZHAW lives up to its shared responsibility for a sustainable society: it conducts research in the field of sustainable development, and educates and prepares all ZHAW staff and students with the aim of shaping the present and the future in a way that will enable future generations to face up to social, economic and ecological challenges.

Sustainability strategy

The ZHAW’s sustainability strategy is long term and adopts a participatory approach. It relies on the commitment of the ZHAW’s staff and students to make an impact. The Green Impact Book (GIB) sets out specific environmental sustainability goals for the ZHAW to pursue. It defines basic measures that both have a significant impact and can be implemented independently by the ZHAW.

Occupational Health Management

The ZHAW attaches great significance to the health and well-being of its staff. We therefore believe it is important to raise our employees’ awareness of health issues, create a positive working environment and support them with a wide range of health promotion offers.

Counselling and coaching

Working life can see employees subjected to a wide range of expectations in which complex situations need to be overcome. It is our wish to provide support and assistance in such critical moments. The ZHAW’s counselling centres provide all employees with quick and uncomplicated support in performing their duties and in navigating the problem-solving process. The counselling and coaching services are available to all ZHAW staff and students and are provided in a confidential manner.


The Academic Sports Association Zurich (ASVZ) offers a wide range of sporting activities at all ZHAW locations. ZHAW staff and students can enjoy a total of 120 different sports disciplines, a comprehensive and modern infrastructure at every sports centre and expert support.


The ZHAW’s ergonomic workplace assessment service helps employees to avoid fatigue and physical ailments and improve their well-being. Individual advice is offered by specialist units at the ZHAW’s Schools.

Case management: support in the event of an inability to work

The ZHAW offers its employees occupational case management if they suffer an extended period of absence owing to illness or accident. The objective is to promote individual well-being and the employees’ rapid reintegration into the workplace.

Salary and Pension Provision

The ZHAW has a transparent and fair salary system that complies with the ordinances in place in the Canton of Zurich (PG, PVO, VVO).

Equal pay and cost-of-living adjustment

The ZHAW uses a position-oriented salary system. Each position is assigned to salary class within the framework of the law (employment act and employment ordinance). At the start of employment, the salary is set to a specific salary level within a salary class based on the individual employee's level of education, experience and skills. The salary level is adjusted in line with the employee’s professional development. A cost-of-living allowance is also determined each year by the Government Council of the Canton of Zurich and paid out from the following year.

Old-age provision, generous social benefits and occupational pension provision (BVG

ZHAW employees are insured with the civil service insurance fund of the Canton of Zurich (BVK). 60% of the BVK savings contribution is funded by the ZHAW and the remaining 40% by the staff. BVK offers employee-friendly benefits that go beyond the legal minimum. Employees with an annual salary exceeding CHF 22,050 can be admitted to the fund (as at 1 January 2023). The retirement age is 65, while early retirement is possible from age 60.

Salary and years of service award

The thirteenth month’s salary is paid in December. Long service to the ZHAW is rewarded with a years of service award.

Probation period

The probation period is defined as the first three months of permanent employment.

Notice period

The notice period is based on an employee's tenure.

  • During the probation period: 7 days
  • During the first year of service: 1 month, as per the end of a month
  • During the second and third year of service: 2 months, as per the end of a month
  • During the fourth to the ninth year of service: 3 months, as per the end of a month
  • As of the tenth year of service: 6 months, as per the end of a month

For employees belonging to salary class 21 and above, the notice period after the third year of service is 6 months. Unless stated otherwise in the employment contract, fixed-term employment contracts cannot be terminated after the probation period has ended.