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What 2018 will bring

The Swiss ICT market is continuing to grow thanks to investments in the IT segment. It is more optimistic about 2018 than it has been about any other year in the past seven years. The shortage of skilled professionals remains a problem, and the year will face several political challenges.

The ICT industry in numbers
According to the latest European IT Observatory (EITO) data, the Swiss ICT market grew by 2.3% in 2017, generating overall revenue of CHF 31.4 billion. For 2018, the EITO predicts that the Swiss ICT industry will increase revenue by another 2.2%. The Swico ICT index that is published annually also points to further growth. In the last quarter, the index grew by 7.3 points to a total of 117.6 points, the highest value since 2011.

2018 forecasts and drivers
For the first quarter of 2018, the entire ICT industry is expecting revenue increases. Only the consumer electronics segment could experience declining revenues. Particularly profitable growth is predicted for the software segment, while lower margins are expected in the printing and IT services sectors. The good economic situation, especially in Europe, as well as the passing of the Swiss franc shock are stimulating business for export companies. Digitization and the accompanying business investments in IT projects remain another growth driver.

ICT specialists
The availability of well-trained specialists remains a challenge for ICT companies. The Adecco Group’s Swiss Job Market Index predicts a 74 percent increase in the number of open IT jobs based on a comparison of the 2017 winter quarter with the same quarter in te previous year. This makes IT the occupation with the largest increase in open positions. According to Adecco, the greatest demand in the industry is for specialists for new IT projects.

Political focal points
And what are the current hot political topics for ICT companies? There will be many changes in 2018. The Swiss Data Protection Act is being revised and in May, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. It impacts Swiss companies with customers in the EU zone. At the end of January 2018, the law on gambling (Geldspielgesetz) resulted in the first referendum on a web block (blocking of Internet content from foreign casino offerings). This referendum will be voted on in June 2018. It will set the stage for future web blocks. The Telecommunications Act that applies to all telecommunications companies will be partially revised. The idea is to ensure that all telecommunications companies have access to the market and to pave the way for (more) competition.

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