German Bundesbank vs Swiss National Bank: The Importance of Employees During Recessions

Julian Herzog
6 min readOct 13, 2022

National banks are tasked with complex decisions, from managing interest rates to overseeing the money supply. During times of recession, national banks are indispensable tools that help avoid financial disasters.

How exactly are these national banks able to make the right decisions to support their constituents? Although it may be surprising, national leaders aren’t always the ones making the financial decisions that impact lending and spending.

In fact, one of the top resources at national banks is the people who work there. Understanding the specifics of the employment and education of both the German and Swiss national banks gives insight into how these companies are able to make sound financial decisions, even in periods of recession.

The German Bundesbank was formed in 1957 and has just over 10,000 employees. On the other hand, the Swiss National Bank was formed in 1906 and reports just under 1,000 employees. This makes sense given that the population of Germany is around 9 times larger compared to Switzerland. The data we will use for comparison is provided by Osterus, a software program that analyzes hundreds of sources to compile insightful statistics.

Let’s first start by looking at the work experience distribution. We see that both the German Bundesbank and the Swiss National Bank prioritize employee experience with 48% and 78% in the 10+ year category, respectively. The next highest category is the 5–10 year category with 17% and 10% for the German Bundesbank and the Swiss National Bank, respectively.

Being well equipped to navigate through uncertain times calls on having employees who have experience with market downturns. By retaining staff with over 10 years of experience, both banks are able to make strong decisions during economic declines. Supporting this is that only 10% and 3% of employees have under 3 years of experience for German Bundesbank and Swiss National Bank, respectively.

The work experience in previous companies further supports the initiative to hire experienced personnel. The category with the most employees is 10+ years with 28% and 44% of employees for German Bundesbank and Swiss National Bank, respectively. The 5–10 year category shows 15% for both banks.

Hiring competent employees with extensive experience working at other companies is crucial when it comes time to make high-level decisions during recessionary periods. We can also see that many of these employees have experience working at other local banks. German Bundesbank shows 13.03% of employees with experience at European Central Bank, 10.15% at Deutsche Bank and 4.63% at Commerzbank Ag.

Similarly, Swiss National Bank reports 15.63% of employees with prior experience at Credit Suisse, 9.37% at UBS, and 9.38% at Universität Zurich. Prior experience working at other financial institutions gives these banks fresh perspectives and added insight. Additionally, we can infer that both companies aren’t hiring individuals directly out of college. Instead, they prefer to hire employees that have experience at other financial institutions, creating an experienced team.

Looking at the education of employees at German Bundesbank and Swiss National Bank highlights that some formal training is generally required. The data shows that 45.58% and 16.67% of employees hold bachelor’s degrees, 39.78% and 63.33% have master’s degrees, and 14.64% and 20% have doctoral degrees for German Bundesbank and Swiss National Bank, respectively.

A surprising difference between these two companies is the gender distribution of college degrees. Both companies retain more educated males, but Swiss National Bank has a larger gap with an 80% to 20% ratio while German Bundesbank has a 62.43% male to 37.57% female ratio.

A significant portion of the workforce has a formal education degree. This makes sense given the complexity of the work environment with finance, retail banking, middle management, data science, and information technology ranking at the top of the job title list. Each of these positions would require extensive knowledge of a variety of topics.

Since both companies have various locations located throughout their respective countries, multiple language capabilities are also necessary. The finance, data science, middle management, and retail banking job titles all have on average over 4 language capabilities. This allows employees to communicate with other locations and with authoritative bodies.

Diversifying their employee capabilities through multiple language options is crucial to converse with banks in other countries to find the right strategies to manage recessions. Maybe this includes offering bonds to other banks or special investing agreements. Whatever the case, the language abilities highlight the importance of having well-rounded employees.

Finally, analyzing the loyalty and diversity scores of each company is important. Osterus recently released these two scores that serve as a high-level overview of employee sentiment toward their companies. Understanding where each bank falls gives us critical insight into how employees value their current position, which impacts the work environment and productivity.

We can see that both German Bundesbank and Swiss National Bank have high loyalty scores. This means that employees value their positions and enjoy working at these companies. When employees aren’t dreading going into work, they are more likely to display higher productivity and offer valuable contributions to the company.

Moving on to the diversity score, we can tell that German Bundesbank has a high score while Swiss National Bank retains a medium score. Both companies have high gender diversity, education diversity, language diversity, and age group diversity, which is great.

It appears that Swiss National Bank falls short on work experience, which is not uncommon given that many employees are leaving their jobs in pursuit of other opportunities. Swiss National Bank reports 24% of employees that have been with the company for under 3 years, so we would expect this metric to shift as time goes on.

Overall, both German Bundesbank and Swiss National Bank have prioritized attracting qualified and educated employees. This contributes to their ability to effectively navigate economic events, like a recession. When your workforce has the experience and expertise surrounding uncertainty, banks are more likely to make the right decisions to promote the well-being of their constituents.

The insights found from analyzing employment, education, loyalty, and diversity data are just the start of what employee-based information can provide us with. Soon, we can expect to visualize the quality of life working at these companies and more. For more information or to schedule a demo, reach out to contact us directly or on LinkedIn.