HWZ survey: Compliance is underestimated by Swiss companies

The importance of compliance and data protection in Swiss companies is still partly underestimated at the strategic level: This is shown by the latest results of a survey of Swiss companies conducted by the HWZ and the law firm Bratschi AG.

While banks, chemical and pharmaceutical companies have provided adequate resources, the construction industry, mechanical engineering and the health and social sector still have some catching up to do. The accompanying cultural change in business toward greater transparency, integrity and sustainability is far from complete.

Nearly 50 percent of companies have only one full-time compliance position, with higher revenue directly correlated to more full-time positions. Up to CHF 100 million in sales, 75 percent have only one full-time position. With company sales of CHF 1 billion, 80 percent of companies have at least two to 50 full-time positions. In the area of data protection, 75 percent of companies have only one full-time position: only with sales of more than CHF 1 billion does the size of the data protection department increase significantly.

According to Christian Wind, partner at Bratschi AG and lecturer at the HWZ, compliance and data protection must be positioned and anchored much more strongly and, above all, more comprehensively in companies, not least because they protect the company's reputation in the long term.

David Wicki-Birchler, head of the CAS Data Protection Officer course at the HWZ, notes: "Compliance and data protection are perceived and implemented differently depending on size and industry. Compliance already seems to be better anchored in the consciousness of companies than data protection. Business ethics aspects are clearly gaining ground and require action-oriented competencies."

Around 75 percent of compliance officers have a university degree. Around 30 percent have completed specific further training in the area of compliance. In the area of data protection, the level of education is somewhat lower than in compliance. Just over 60 percent have a university degree and slightly less than 25 percent have completed specific further training in data protection.

People from 84 companies took part in the survey, which takes a close look at the importance of compliance and data protection in Swiss companies. The results of the study show where Swiss companies are taking account of the strategic importance of compliance and data protection and where there is a need to catch up.

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