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Working at the ZHAW

The ZHAW employs about 3,000 people of 49 different nationalities. Staff members appreciate our exciting working environment and the opportunities for independence and creativity it provides. Our three locations – in Winterthur, Zurich and Wädenswil – also offer a high quality of life.

The ZHAW as an employer

The ZHAW is one of the largest multi-disciplinary universities of applied sciences in Switzerland with a staff of about 3,000 engaged in teaching, research, continuing education, business services and consulting. The ZHAW has eight Schools, which focus on practice-oriented programmes of study and conduct disciplinary and interdisciplinary research with partners from industry, business and the public sector. Our three locations are all part of the «Greater Zurich Area», which is known for its economic strength and stability. They offer a high quality of life and have good public transport connections.

The ZHAW aspires to employ qualified, motivated and performance-oriented staff in leadership and non-leadership positions and to create an environment which is able to secure, foster and retain such people. We offer working conditions and terms of employment commensurate with higher education institutions, and we actively promote our staff’s personal development. Our university culture is based on personal responsibility, creativity, reflective competences, conflict-resolution ability, respect for others, dialogue, participation, equal opportunities and diversity.

Our workplace culture

Pictogram workplace culture

The ZHAW offers an environment in which qualified and motivated staff in leadership and non-leadership positions can develop their skills and knowledge. Our workplace culture requires and encourages personal responsibility, achievements, creativity, self-reflection, conflict-resolution skills, respect for others, dialogue, participation, equal opportunities and diversity.

  • Freedom and active participation
    Personal responsibility is a central element of our organisational culture. ZHAW managers grant their staff the freedom needed for their work and allow them to participate in decision making.
  • Work and private life
    The ZHAW promotes a work-life balance with its family-friendly structures and annual working time model, which offers staff the flexibility they need and enables a private life alongside work.
  • Childcare
    The ZHAW helps its staff find childcare places and provides income-based subsidies for nursery fees.
  • Equal opportunities and diversity
    The ZHAW is home to people who perceive things in different ways, think differently and act differently. They come from different countries and belong to different cultures and religions. The ZHAW benefits from the diverse experiences of all its staff.

Opportunities for development

Pictogram Opportunities for development

The ZHAW actively promotes the personal development of its staff and managers. Our development cycles are designed with the long term in mind and support staff at both an individual and institutional level.

  • Training
    The ZHAW supports internal and external training of all staff. The internal training programme consists of more than 100 courses, most of which are free of charge. All staff benefit from a discount of 20% on MAS, DAS, CAS and continuing education programmes at the ZHAW. Teaching personnel are awarded 168 hours per year (for a 100% position) for professional development purposes.
  • Encouraging early-stage researchers
    The ZHAW encourages early-stage researchers at all levels. Staff conducting high-quality, internationally recognised research have the opportunity to pursue a doctorate in cooperation with other universities in Switzerland and abroad.
  • Mobility
    The ZHAW encourages its staff to visit partner universities on temporary placements. Access to international research consortia allows young researchers to establish valuable international contacts and gain important experience.
  • Programmes for (prospective) managers
    A balanced gender ratio in management is considered a strength at the ZHAW, which is why it purposefully fosters the careers of junior managers.
  • Management training
    Universities are complex organisations, and the demands placed on managers are correspondingly high. Our own management training scheme fosters a management culture that responds to the specific needs of the ZHAW.

    mentoring fff
    The mentoring programme «Frauen für Führungspositionen» (women for management positions) allows women to gain insight into management roles at the higher education institutions of the Zurich Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts (ZFH) and motivates them to take on management responsibility themselves.

    Mentoring Pro Diversity
    With its Mentoring Pro Diversity programme, the higher education institutions of the Zurich Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts (ZFH) provide targeted support to staff experiencing professional changes, such as during professionalisation, achieving a work-life balance, dealing with change and opening up new perspectives.


Pictogram Health

A positive working environment fosters staff health, which is why the ZHAW raises awareness of health issues and offers the following services:

  • Counselling
    Working life places many expectations on staff, and processes do not always run smoothly. Various key contact points as well as consulting and coaching services can offer support at critical moments. ZHAW services are free of charge and confidential.
  • Sports
    The Academic Sports Association Zurich (ASVZ) offers over 120 sports activities, modern infrastructure and expert support at all ZHAW locations.
  • Ergonomics
    The ZHAW’s ergonomic workplace assessment helps to prevent premature fatigue and physical discomfort. Productivity and well-being are also positively influenced.
  • Case management: support in the event of inability to work
    If an illness or accident results in an extended inability to work or if job performance is impaired for health reasons, the ZHAW offers professional support in addition to support from the line manager.

Offers and discounts

Pictogram Offers and discounts

ZHAW staff benefit from numerous offers and discounts.

  • University library
    All three ZHAW locations offer modern university libraries with a large selection of professional literature and attractive workspaces.
  • Campus Card
    The Campus Card is the ID card for all ZHAW members. It is used for identification purposes, cashless payments and building access. Staff who use the Campus Card also benefit from discounts on external services.
  • Catering
    Canteen, cafeteria or kiosk: all ZHAW locations offer inexpensive catering services.
  • 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.

Working hours

Pictogram Working hours

At the ZHAW, working hours are 42 hours per week for a full-time position. For part-time staff, the working hours are determined by the level of employment as agreed upon in the contract. Working hours are generally spread over five days, with Saturdays and Sundays off. Due to course schedules, some staff are required to work on Saturdays. Staff can compensate for any overtime incurred by time off in lieu (hours or days).

  • Annual working time model
    The ZHAW offers an annual working time model. Staff can distribute their annual working time over the year on an individual basis or according to their workload. With a full-time contract, the annual working time is 2,184 hours (52 weeks at 42 hours per week). If operational conditions permit, the level of employment can also be adjusted during the year to better reconcile private activities and work, for example.
  • Holidays
    All ZHAW staff are entitled to a minimum of four weeks of holiday per year. The holiday entitlement is based on the age of the employee.

    Up to and including 49 years of age: 4 weeks
    From 50 to 59 years of age: 5 weeks
    From 60 years of age: 6 weeks

    In addition, ‘bridge’ days between holidays and weekends or the time between Christmas and New Year can usually be compensated for before or after, if operational needs permit.
  • Paid vacation
    The ZHAW grants paid vacation days in the event of family events or personal matters such as marriage, change of residence or care of ill family members, if operational needs permit.
  • Parental leave
    All female ZHAW staff are entitled to 16 weeks’ leave when their child is born, regardless of the length of employment. During this period, 100% of the salary is paid.
    The ZHAW grants five days of paternity leave when a child is born. The father may also take unpaid leave of one month during the child’s first year of life.

Employment and salary

Pictogram Employment and salary

The ZHAW is a public university that belongs to the Zurich Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts (ZFH). Staff are employed in accordance with the Canton of Zurich’s personnel law.

  • Probation period
    The probation period is defined as the first three months of permanent employment.
  • Salary and years of service award
    The ZHAW uses a position-oriented salary system based on that of the Canton of Zurich. Each position is linked to a salary class within the framework of the law (personnel law and personnel regulations). A salary class consists of 29 salary levels and 2 preliminary pay grades. At the start of employment, the salary is set to a specific salary level within a salary class on the basis of education, experience and skills. A percentage quota for individual salary increases is set annually by the Government Council of the Canton of Zurich.

    The thirteenth month’s salary is paid in December. Long service to the ZHAW is rewarded with a years of service award.
  • Notice period
    The notice period is based on the employment duration.

    During the probation period: 7 days
    During the 1st year of service: 1 month, as per the end of a month
    During the 2nd and 3rd years of service: 2 months, as per the end of a month
    During the 4th to the 9th year of service: 3 months, as per the end of a month
    As of the 10th year of service: 6 months, as per the end of a month

    For senior personnel (from salary class LK 21), the notice period after the 3rd 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.

Insurance and pension scheme

Pictogram Insurance and pension scheme
  • Pension scheme
    ZHAW staff are insured by the Civil Service Insurance Fund of the Canton of Zurich (BVK), which is the pension fund for staff of the Canton of Zurich. BVK services are worker-friendly and go well beyond the statutory minimum.

    All staff whose annual salary exceeds the minimum of CHF 21,150 (as of 1 January 2015) are required to join the BVK. 60% of the BVK savings contribution is funded by the ZHAW and the remaining 40% by the staff. The retirement age is 65, but early retirement is possible beginning at the age of 60 at the earliest.
  • Sick pay allowance
    If staff are unable to work temporarily due to illness, they are normally paid their salary as follows:

    During the 1st year of service: 3 months full pay and 3 months 75%
    During the 2nd year of service: 6 months full pay and 6 months 75%
    As of the 3rd year of service: 12 months full pay

    If, at the end of the period of continued salary payment defined above, there is reason to believe that the staff member will be able to return to work soon or if, due to illness or disability, it is still unclear whether the staff member will be able to return to work or whether the contract will be terminated, 75% of the salary may be paid for a total continued pay period of up to 2 years.
  • Entitlement to salary in case of occupational and non-occupational accident
    If staff are unable to work temporarily due to an occupational or non-occupational accident, they are normally paid their salary as follows:

    Occupational accident
    During the 1st year of service: 12 months full pay
    During the 2nd year of service: 12 months full pay
    As of the 3rd year of service: 12 months full pay

    Non-occupational accident
    During the 1st year of service: 3 months full pay and 3 months 75%
    During the 2nd year of service: 6 months full pay and 6 months 75%
    As of the 3rd year of service: 12 months full pay

    Should the daily accident allowance paid by the insurance provider exceed the staff’s salary continuation liability (over 75%), the salary will be increased accordingly and paid for as long as the insurance provider pays the daily allowance.
  • Occupational and non-occupational accident insurance
    ZHAW staff are insured under the Swiss Federal Accident Insurance Act (UVG). Those who work a minimum of eight hours per week are also insured against non-occupational accidents. It is possible to take out optional additional insurance.