Switzerland has more global companies than any country of comparable size. Four of these feature among the top ten largest in Continental Europe. In 2010, 15 Swiss firms, including the pharmaceutical giant Novartis (No. 160) featured on the “Fortune Global 500”, an annual ranking of the 500 most powerful corporations. With few natural resources, the two mainstays of the Swiss economy are its substantial “invisibles” sector and its well-established, largely export-orientated, industrial manufacturing base.
Switzerland’s economy is based on a highly qualified labour force performing highly skilled work. The main areas include micro technology, hi-tech, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, as well as banking and insurance. The service sector now employs the greatest number of people. Most of the people working in Switzerland are employed by small and medium-sized enterprises.