The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes area faces the fixed arrival of cross-border staff working in Switzerland

In metropolitan France in 2018, 424,400 people worked in one of the eight border countries, ie 1.6% of the employed. “In Europe, France is the country with the largest number of cross-border workers (residents working in the neighboring country),” a recent study by Insee d’Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes reveals. Almost half (43%) of these “commuters” live in the Grand Est (182,900 people) and a third in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (126,400 people). Almost all (125,100) work in Switzerland, including six out of ten (75,200) in the Geneva municipality, which combines an attractive labor market and high wages. “The number of commuters between the region and Switzerland has increased by an average of 4.7% per year since 1999, four and 5 times more than the number of people employed in Switzerland and Auvergne-Rhône. -Alps ”, also refers to Insee. This growth is slowing, but will remain higher than that of all cross-border workers from mainland France to the eight border countries. In 2018, 6,800 new cross-border workers based in Switzerland came to Haute-Savoie or Ain, almost half (3,900) of whom came from abroad and a large part (2,700) from Switzerland. But it is as French as it is Swiss.

Most skilled and low-skilled workers

Among the cross-border workers from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region working in Switzerland, there are the most numerous low-skilled employees with 35,100 commuters who hold, for example, the company’s administrative staff. Almost three quarters (76%) work in Geneva, more than half (61%) are women and more than a third (36%) are foreign nationals, mainly Switzerland, followed by Portuguese and Italians. Mostly workers in the construction or “manufacturing, mining and other” sectors (such as fine watchmaking and mechatronics), workers who are relatively skilled but not very skilled (CAP, BEP or equivalent) form the second most represented contingent among those from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. These 30,800 cross-border workers live furthest from the border and almost half of them (48%) work in Geneva, forcing them to “rent a car a lot” (90%). “Traveling from home to work is a key issue for local public officials,” the study said. Indeed, “Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes border passengers use their vehicle more than people employed in the region (79% compared to 74% in 2018), which contributes to the extremely high concentration of CO₂ in Ain and Haute-Savoie” (read below ).

A quarter of the attendees are nurses and the like

Almost a quarter of these workers working in Switzerland (26,000) work in intermediate professions. They are more women (80%, the highest share of all profiles), of French nationality. More than one in two works in the public administration, education, healthcare and social activities sectors. While the health and social activities sector is one of the most busy in the canton of Geneva, almost a quarter of those in this socio-professional category are nurses and the like. With 18% of cross-border workers (22,400), executives and senior intellectual professions, they are over-represented in the urban community of Greater Annecy. These are mainly French people under the age of 40, three quarters of whom use a car to travel to Switzerland. They have unrestricted work, for example as engineers and heads of studies, research and development in computer science.

  • Develop alternatives to private cars

More than half (62%) of people crossing the border from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes live in the four EPCI areas bordering the canton of Geneva. “In these areas near the Swiss border, traffic issues and tensions in the housing market are extremely important.” Most of the journeys from home to work are therefore made with vehicles, which contributes to clogging the access roads to Switzerland and increasing the concentration of CO₂ “particularly high in Ain and Haute-Savoie”. The authors of the INSEE study recommend “offering these cross-border workers an alternative to an individual car tailored to their needs” by continuing to develop, in addition to soft mobility (greenway in Greater Geneva) . The forthcoming arrival of two new passenger ships on Lake Geneva and the commissioning of the Geneva tram in 2025 should also complement the offer.

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