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Old 05.12.2015, 16:12
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Hello,
I know there are many threads regarding this, I know there is Salanium, Glassdoor, PayScale and other tools. I checked them. But it's all just about medians or average, and I think I can be more specific. Which might also help others in similar situation.

My profile:
- wife, 2 years old kid, second one "planned"
- IT Expert with 15 years experience and good performance (role model several times)
- I worked in these fields: internet, banking (mostly), telecom, healthcare
- A lot of experience in IT Operations (L1>L2>L3), then as IT Project Manager, IT Architect, and Senior Developer (from Java, C++ to web and mobile)
- I have more than 2 times the average IT salary in place where I currently live (Prague, Czech)

Desired destination:
- Zurich, banking
- IT Specialist

Estimated Expenses (this is worst case):
- flat around city center
- 4640 CHF a month for probation period, my wife and kid staying in Czech
- 6680 CHF a month after probation period, wife+kid in Zurich

Questions I have:
1. What salary range should I ask for? My friend (EMEA HR in one SW corp) told me they would give me yearly 135k to 157k chf; is this realistic in banking? Or should I ask for more or less? What's your opinion?

2. I am used to twice the average IT salary in place where I live. That would be over 175k chf/year in Zurich, if I am not mistaken. But that looks way too much for IT Specialist it looks from what I found. What do you think?

3. Is my expenses estimation realistic?

Many thanks.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 05.12.2015 at 17:22. Reason: merging consecutive posts
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Old 05.12.2015, 16:25
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

120K fixed. And be happy if you land that. Shoot lower to be competitive.

Current conditions with the recent overvaluation of the Swiss Franc have redefined the conventional salary expectations. Companies hire from the EU now because they know they can pay less. A lot less.

The good old days of stellar salaries here are gone.
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Old 05.12.2015, 16:44
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

That's pretty damn good to know.
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Old 05.12.2015, 20:12
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

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That's pretty damn good to know.
Take his experience with a grain of salt. Salaries in some fields, for example security, remain strong.

I can't give you any insight into the scale you can get; that's dependent on the institution itself as well as what kind of IT "specialist" you'll be. But in the end, if you don't ask you won't get. I would go in with the position you gave here; double the average salary is your norm. Then accept a little bit of a decrease because taxes are lower here, etc. but don't compromise too much.
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Old 05.12.2015, 20:50
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I originally planned to ask for 150k but I somehow don't feel comfortable with it. Too much noise on the internet (which I understand).

On the other end, double the IT average (100k) is 200k. But it just looks way too much to me.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 06.12.2015 at 17:34. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 05.12.2015, 21:15
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

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2. I am used to twice the average IT salary in place where I live..

Don't know how it is in Prague, but in Poland someone working in an off-shore center of an intl corp may easily get double of a country/city IT average when local companies are included in the average calculation. If you're a star developer you'll also shine here, if you're "just" a solid one, then it will be more dependent whether you get a job in one of the better paying industries and if your skills happen to be in demand. The only way to gauge that is applying for jobs here.

Regarding cost of life - your numbers seem a bit on the low side for a family - I'm quite sure in ZH with a 2+2 family one can easily burn through 7k+ a month nett, holidays and extras not included. Don't underestimate the cost of life here, it is easily 3-4x of Poland.
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Old 05.12.2015, 21:24
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

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I originally planned to ask for 150k but I somehow don't feel comfortable with it. Too much noise on the internet (which I understand).
Probably 150k for a banking environment with 15 years exp is around right. There is always demand for premium people. Normally if you are good finding work is not a problem so there shouldn't be too much worry about salary negotiation.
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Old 05.12.2015, 23:11
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

Do you speak any of the official languages spoken in Switzerland?
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Old 05.12.2015, 23:20
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

No. But I'm using just english even here in Czech at work for past few years.

Would be surprised if they would expect anything else than english in multinational IT team.
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Old 05.12.2015, 23:30
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

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No. But I'm using just english even here in Czech at work for past few years.

Would be surprised if they would expect anything else than english in multinational IT team.
Could be, but some times, depending on the level, a knowledge of the local language is required (my experience from working at multinationals).
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Old 05.12.2015, 23:34
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

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Could be, but some times, depending on the level, a knowledge of the local language is required (my experience from working at multinationals).
Also, Switzerland isn't Czech Republic.
I have no idea what he's actually doing, but talking to local people in a foreign languages isn't always very helpful.
And sometimes, their English isn't too helpful, either.

What's your mother tongue, OP?
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Old 06.12.2015, 00:07
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

Hello hidden footprint,

Your research is spot on, and your gut feeling about 200K being too much is correct.

You and I have identical backgrounds, in the broadstrokes anyway.

Aim for CHF150K, establish your FOB, later relo. the family.
Learn German and the local dialect.

Alternatively, join a TBTF at the VP level, Band 4, andask for CHF 1200 per day.
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Old 06.12.2015, 01:34
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

My friend is in IT and recently found that no one was paying near what the salary calculators where suggesting. Also more than 15 years in the biz and senior. So take them with a grain of salt.

From what he has seen London wages are the highest for IT gigs right now. Zurich has more than the French side and although many are not demanding German I know when they found out he spoke German they where thrilled.

You can ask for whatever you like but they will only pay what they want to pay at the end of the day.
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Old 06.12.2015, 12:29
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

120 - 140 for senior BA / PM / architect roles with significant experience. Probably get your foot in the door at the lower end (120 - 130) considering you are new to Switzerland. You might be lucky to land something around 140 or slightly higher. If you are considering management, that's another situation.
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Old 06.12.2015, 14:20
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

This is all good to know. Everything which will help me knowing my price is a big help. Many thanks.

Looks like I will risk it with 140-150k. This change must be worth it, as my current job I have is really good (for this country).

It's also possible that they will not even ask me give me fixed offer instead.
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Old 06.12.2015, 14:52
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

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Could be, but some times, depending on the level, a knowledge of the local language is required (my experience from working at multinationals).
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Also, Switzerland isn't Czech Republic.
I have no idea what he's actually doing, but talking to local people in a foreign languages isn't always very helpful.
And sometimes, their English isn't too helpful, either.

What's your mother tongue, OP?
Not likely at all. In the type of job he would go to in IT, English would be the business language, and the teams would be very multinational, likely with Indian and Eastern European colleagues. This is now pretty much a standard at many banks and financial institution in Switzerland as the country can't provide the IT expertise it needs if it recruits only from it's own nationals. The days of German being the business language in Switzerland in these industries is rapidly changing and will only continue to do so.

Last edited by Richdog; 06.12.2015 at 15:20.
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Old 06.12.2015, 19:32
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

Excuse me but there is nothing special on your profile, a ton of people with similar experience are on the 120k-130k range.

Especially coming from abroad and without any German skills you'd be lucky if you can even land that. I'd say wake up now before reality does it for you.
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Old 06.12.2015, 19:58
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

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Excuse me but there is nothing special on your profile, a ton of people with similar experience are on the 120k-130k range.

Especially coming from abroad and without any German skills you'd be lucky if you can even land that. I'd say wake up now before reality does it for you.
as was pointed out above, German is not likely to be that important. In large environments global IT Infrastructure will commonly be run in English and a seperatie regional IT support or Infrastructure unit will exist using local dialects.

I do realize salaries have lowered in recent years but I know a couple of people recently who have been offered work from swiss banks and it was around the 150 range. It is for established proven track records but the salaries are still being offered.

What is different is the average-pool salaries are being dumped, of that there is no question.

Last edited by Mikers; 06.12.2015 at 20:08.
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Old 06.12.2015, 20:52
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

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as was pointed out above, German is not likely to be that important. In large environments global IT Infrastructure will commonly be run in English and a seperatie regional IT support or Infrastructure unit will exist using local dialects.

I do realize salaries have lowered in recent years but I know a couple of people recently who have been offered work from swiss banks and it was around the 150 range. It is for established proven track records but the salaries are still being offered.

What is different is the average-pool salaries are being dumped, of that there is no question.
I don't know, my friend applied in both sides of the country and they really wanted French/German although most did work in English. He lost out on jobs as he is not fluent in French
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Old 06.12.2015, 21:40
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Re: IT Expert salary+expenses questions

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as was pointed out above, German is not likely to be that important. In large environments global IT Infrastructure will commonly be run in English and a seperatie regional IT support or Infrastructure unit will exist using local dialects.

I do realize salaries have lowered in recent years but I know a couple of people recently who have been offered work from swiss banks and it was around the 150 range. It is for established proven track records but the salaries are still being offered.

What is different is the average-pool salaries are being dumped, of that there is no question.
Every rule has its exception, but it's hardly worth mentioning. If you also look at his skills he has really nothing special at all, jack of all trades and master of none. I think his 150k goal is far from reality for someone who is not even in the country.

English of course is ok if you restrict yourself to English speaking companies. There's a whole parallel world out there though only available to German speakers, which supplements the English one and increases your changes.

Just being realisting here.
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