A positive working environment and constructive cooperation are especially important. Skyguide therefore takes its role as employer very seriously, for the sake of both its employees and of its customers and partners.
In 2016, skyguide was for the first time ranked among Switzerland’s 100 best employers in the “Universum Top 100” market survey to find the most attractive employers in Switzerland, and since then has managed to improve its position every year. Especially students and professionals in engineering, IT and natural sciences value skyguide as an employer.
Not surprisingly, the fluctuation rate at skyguide is low compared with that of other companies (between 2 and 3 per cent) and length of service within the company is high in all functions (14 years on average).
Each year, skyguide invests 30 million Swiss francs – and much passion – into the continuing professional development of its employees, including the next generation. Four to six per cent of skyguide employees are in training, and there is particular emphasis on the training of operational personnel (air traffic controllers, air navigation service employees).
As well as participating in individual targeted initiatives specific to their jobs, in recent years all employees have completed and passed modules on active improvement of the safety culture.
For their part, management and promising new talent are continually improving their leadership skills through multi-level (basic, intermediate, advanced and executive) training courses.
The objective of this considerable investment is to retain highly qualified and committed employees – not only by encouraging them to specialise, but also by developing their employability generally.
At skyguide, all health-related issues are coordinated by a professionally staffed Health Unit, in close cooperation with external experts and institutes. It introduces measures related to occupational health & safety and healthcare, and measures for the retraining of employees, as well as organising internal campaigns. Accident prevention, workplace ergonomics, health coaching, burnout prevention and addiction prevention are only a few of the issues addressed.
In addition to the medical assistance provided by the two company doctors – for operational personnel, regular health checks are obligatory – all employees also have access to external advice and counselling centres for help with, for example, psychological or social issues.
For many years now, skyguide has had clear processes and lines of authority in place, both for dealing with conflict and supporting employees following psychologically stressful incidents (critical incident stress management). These internal, strictly confidential services are available to all employees when needed. In the case of long-term absence caused by illness or accident, skyguide’s case management system offers employees systematic assistance and support in working towards their eventual reinsertion into the workplace.
Skyguide fully intends to maintain the high standard of its health policy and assure its long-term development. Recent initiatives introduced include fatigue management, which is primarily for operational staff, and campaigns to foster increased health awareness and accident prevention for individuals, including in the private sphere.
Skyguide supports measures that make it easier to balance family and career. These include generous pre-natal, maternity, paternity and adoption leave, as well as different ways of granting annual leave and opportunities for flexible, part-time and remote-office working.
Part-time working has, in fact, increased continually in recent years, with some 18% of all employees now working less than a 90 percent week. The proportion of women has remained stable (at around 11 percent), whereas more men are now working part time (up from 3 percent in 2012 to around 7 percent now).
Progression of part-time working at skyguide
Skyguide employees are expected not only to apply themselves to their own work, but also to play a constructive part in the shaping of the company. This is reflected in cooperation with the staff committees, in the regular staff surveys that are conducted and, at a very fundamental level, in open communication.
The staff and professional associations have a particular role to play here. Skyguide’s social partners currently include five trade unions: the air traffic controllers are represented by the staff associations Aerocontrol, Skycontrol, APTC and PVB, and the administrative, operational and technical staff are represented by the Swiss national trade union, Syndicom.
The objective of the social partnership is to foster a positive working environment in which the employees have opportunities for professional and personal development and the organisation makes progress towards its goals at the same time. Skyguide offers all its permanent staff collective labour agreements, and these are regularly renegotiated. All staff enjoy attractive working conditions and pension schemes.
The staff associations for air traffic controllers and the air traffic safety electronics personnel’s association, SATTA (Swiss Air Traffic Technical Association), also fulfil the role of professional associations. Regular meetings between them and the various corporate departments provide forums for the exchange of views and the discussion of operational and safety issues, as well as for collaboration generally. Once a year, representatives of the associations meet the Chairman of the Board of Directors for an open discussion.
Skyguide’s compensation system is fair, coherent and attractive. For air traffic controllers, it is largely dependent on number of years of service and place of work. For other administrative, operational and technical personnel, as well as for management, the compensation system is based on an analytic evaluation of functions. And of course, skyguide is committed to the principle of equal pay for men and women.
Skyguide rewards responsibility and performance in both individuals and groups – always subject to the financial situation of the company, of course. Accordingly, the system includes, on the one hand, collectively agreed salary development and profit sharing, based on the degree to which corporate goals are achieved.
On the other hand, there are various additional forms of individual compensation and salary development. For example, air traffic controllers receive compensation for night and Sunday work, and for certain other activities. The other categories of employee benefit from performance-based increases in individual basic salaries, as well as from a variable salary component, which is partly based on the degree to which individually set goals are achieved.
Because of the high levels of responsibility and specialisation of all its employees, average salaries at skyguide compare very well with those in other industries. Providing attractive working conditions is a deliberate policy of skyguide’s, as they add to air navigation services’ intrinsic allure, as well as attracting and retaining the best talent.
Other attractive conditions include those of the pension schemes offered through the “skycare” pension fund. Despite widespread problems in the area of occupational pension schemes generally, skyguide’s own occupational pension scheme still offers good benefits.
Virtual tour of Area Control Centre East in Dübendorf