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Old 04.02.2013, 04:45
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In house legal salaries

Trying to get an idea of a realistic salary and total compensation package for a high level legal job for a major Swiss multinational in a larger city in Switzerland. The job I have now pays about $360K (total package) in the USA but the swiss job is at a higher level/profile. I know it's much more expensive to live there and don't want to go unless it covers cost of living and at least a decent raise. Any insights would be appreciated.
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Old 04.02.2013, 04:56
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Re: In house legal salaries

you will do more than fine ... but you will need some more info on kids, married, renting/buying , where you wanne live and where you currently are( the bronx is cheaper than Manhatten yet bot are in NY kinda thing) , cars etc etc.

A couple with kids can comfortable live in CH on less than 150k a year with buying a house, kids in private school and living quit nicely (depending on the lifestyle you can do with much less but gessing if you are used to the salary you have now I imagine you'd like the good life)
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Old 04.02.2013, 05:02
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Re: In house legal salaries

I think that your question is badly constructed and won't get you the information that you want.....how many people do you think are on here who have experience of "high level legal jobs with multinationals" and the associated salary?

I also predict that when Switzerland wakes up, you will get a very sarcastic response about this as your first post - so get ready for that.

With respect, at that level of job, you should know what you are worth and also know how to look at relative cost of living indicators and be able to make your judgement. Similarly, if you are a senior as you hint, I imagine that many elements of your package will be long term incentives like long term bonus, RSUs, options etc, so the immediate cost of living will not be as important (you may not stay here long, for example). Oh, and then there's the whole "American abroad" thing with taxes and stuff....

Just be aware that any package in the 300-400 ($ or CHF) range is in the region of 3x the average Swiss salary, and its reasonable to assume 3x the salary of the average poster here so bear that in mind when you are sifting through the responses that will inevitably follow
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Old 04.02.2013, 05:15
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Re: In house legal salaries

For a solicitor your question is extremely poor at finding out the real answers. The salary you state will easily let you live comfortably with kids in private school, driving an expensive unnecessary car and living in a location that is exclusive.

Beyond that the request is more that of a junior clerks intelligence.
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Old 04.02.2013, 05:54
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Just be aware that any package in the 300-400 ($ or CHF) range is in the region of 3x the average Swiss salary, and its reasonable to assume 3x the salary of the average poster here so bear that in mind when you are sifting through the responses that will inevitably follow

Only on ef is the average salary 120k...

In reality, it's just under 70k gross, nationally.

But yes, it's still a stupid question that reeks of the lazy imploring for free labour.



Having said that, I'd be surprised if the 360k rate was increased at all just for moving. For a higher position, sure, but not just to compensate cost of living. Anecdotally, it seems the wage gap across the borders decreases significantly as you climb the ladder.


As a quick reference, here's the nominal and purchasing power data for the eu from '10 (in &euro to compare.

*spoiler alert* we're not quite as disproportionately well paid as we like to tell ourselves.

http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/e...terloehne.html

Oh, and there are no "big" cities in Switzerland.
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Old 04.02.2013, 06:54
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Re: In house legal salaries

You should be fine. Bear in mind that you will still have to file and possibly pay US tax on your earnings and also at that level of salary you will have to file Swiss tax forms, rather than being taxed at source - the limit for this is CHF120,000 so you'd be way over. That could be a good thing as there are deductions you can claim when filing that you can't when taxed at source.

The main problem could be getting a bank account here; due to the new FATCA law currently being implemented Americans aren't welcome at many banks here; only UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance may take you as a client.

There are a lot of threads here on both FATCA and its implications/problems and also on the US tax filing side for what's claimable/exempt and what's not.
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Old 04.02.2013, 06:58
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Re: In house legal salaries

Bonus's here are not big, don't expect a multiple of salary!

I suspect you will earn more in the US or London.
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Old 04.02.2013, 07:05
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Re: In house legal salaries

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Bonus's here are not big, don't expect a multiple of salary!

I suspect you will earn more in the US or London.

In fact as it is a multi national and your swiss colleagues will be more knowledgeable and most likely more competent in european legislation and languages you will not necessarily be more qualified.

On this basis yes there is a good chance you will get compensation for moving etc as many multinationals have this however everything else depends whether you are a local hire, expat and many other things. Expecting a decent raise is not the best way to approach the exercise at all since the experience and being compensated for certain expenses the most likely. The majority of people who relocate do not get big rises and pay rises here are often of the order of 1-2% a year.

There are too many unknowns to simply assume you will get a decent raise. Remember ASSUME = ASS out of U and ME
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Old 04.02.2013, 09:06
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Re: In house legal salaries

Welcome to the forum.

A key piece of missing information is where will you be based? Cost of living can vary drastically (and so can taxes) between Swiss Cantons. It is quite common for many high-paid expats with family to work in Switzerland and live in bordering EU countries (advantageous tax and cost of living); in theory possible for non-EU citizens, but I have never seen it in practice.

Also, don't expect your standard of living to go up (to be realistic, it may even go down compared to the US, even if you have a slight increase in your Swiss package). To have the same standard of living in Switzerland, multiply your US-based package by three; price of food is usually the killer, especially red meat which ranges from 35 to 70 USD per pound (depending on quality and origin). An average full meal out in Geneva or Zurich will easily cost 80-100 USD per person (wine not included).

Switzerland is a lot more egalitarian than the US; entry-level to mid-level professionals here make a lot more than in the US while senior-level professionals easily make less here than their American counterparts. Read up on the Abzocker-Initiative on how executive compensation may be strongly curtailed if you plan on living here mid to long-term.

Read up on issues surrounding FATCA and citizenship-based taxation also. Swiss banks and financial institutions view US passports as toxic and generally completely avoid them. Many Americans here are renouncing or planning to do so (US embassy in Bern has a backlog and even a special page on its website dealing with renunciations.

Switzerland is not really a country to get rich (the rich here rarely made their money here); it is more of a country to have a secure, stable and high-quality of living.
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Old 04.02.2013, 09:26
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Re: In house legal salaries

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I also predict that when Switzerland wakes up, you will get a very sarcastic response about this as your first post - so get ready for that.
Oh, the possibilities.
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Old 04.02.2013, 09:29
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Re: In house legal salaries

what exactly is your role and what does the company do? Are you being lined up for the job of General Counsel of a firm/legal entity?

this will make a big difference.
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Old 04.02.2013, 09:34
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Re: In house legal salaries

[QUOTE=brusch;1787885]
To have the same standard of living in Switzerland, multiply your US-based package by three.

Read up on issues surrounding FATCA and citizenship-based taxation also. Swiss banks and financial institutions view US passports as toxic and generally completely avoid them.[QUOTE=brusch;1787885]


Bullshit (x3). We moved from NY area to Zug with no increase in wife`s base salary and I took a pay cut to work part time. Cost of living is higher here no doubt but not that much.

You can only buy so much red meat per week and 360k will buy you all you can eat. You need to understand the taxes because the US taxes at that income level or higher could be a killer. You could easily be up for 40k plus in US tax in addition to Swiss taxes. It depends on so many factors especially where you live in Switzerland (low tax Canton won`t help you, will hurt you).

Your family situation will as other posters have said dictate how good a situation is. If you are going to be using International School it will cost 30k per year although maybe you are using private school in USA.

Rents are expensive here and houses less common so that will be the big question. You will pay a LOT of money for a 4000 sq ft house, people just live in smaller places generally although that is still a very good salary.

How senior is senior? Are you managing a legal team? Without managing a team you may not get a lot more than what you are currently earning.

In terms of FATCA it`s a pain in the arse but as long as you are honest it`s a filling problem. Some banks won`t touch Americans but UBS and Credit Suisse will so that`s not an overwhelming problem. The amount of tax you are going to have to pay Uncle Sam is an issue you should be prepared for.

Dining out is expensive. You can still afford it but it tends to turn you off, which means we eat more at home which I see as a good thing. Where we are we can`t just go online and have any type of take out food delivered in 15 minutes.
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Old 04.02.2013, 09:39
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Re: In house legal salaries

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Trying to get an idea of a realistic salary and total compensation package for a high level legal job for a major Swiss multinational in a larger city in Switzerland. The job I have now pays about $360K (total package) in the USA but the swiss job is at a higher level/profile. I know it's much more expensive to live there and don't want to go unless it covers cost of living and at least a decent raise. Any insights would be appreciated.
You can obtain salary reports from the specialized legal recruiters:
www.laurencesimons.com
www.mlaglobal.com
You could also look at the legal jobs posted at www.thelawyer.com - many of them come with a salary range.
Some of the executive recruiters (KornFerry etc.) should also be able to give you a ballpark figure.
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Old 04.02.2013, 09:58
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Re: In house legal salaries

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You need to understand the taxes because the US taxes at that income level or higher could be a killer. You could easily be up for 40k plus in US tax in addition to Swiss taxes.
i wonder if you would end up paying more taxes? at 360k or so, taxes are pretty high in both countries. so comparing living in NYC, vs zurich city perhaps there is little to no incremental tax on the swiss salary? maybe JBZ might know?
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Old 04.02.2013, 10:07
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Re: In house legal salaries

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I also predict that when Switzerland wakes up, you will get a very sarcastic response about this as your first post - so get ready for that.
I start with that... to the OP:
What world you are living in?

You are wondering if 360 000 USD/ year is enough to cover cost of living?
(or more because you want a raise!!!)

And you are in a high level legal job .... Oh our societies and legal system is fecked!!

And someone with such a high position as you is not capable of finding information on your own, without having to ask that to this forum??

Maybe you should stick your head out and have a look in the real world...you know the one where people are not wondering if 360K USD is enough to cover the basic of livings...
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Old 04.02.2013, 10:11
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Re: In house legal salaries

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Welcome to the forum.

price of food is usually the killer, especially red meat which ranges from 35 to 70 USD per pound (depending on quality and origin).
If someone earning 360K USD a year is having concerns about the price of meat in Switzerland then I am really left without words...

Maybe we should redirect him to the topics about shopping abroad...???

You know we would not want the OP to have financial issues because of the cost of the meat here....
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Old 04.02.2013, 10:18
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Re: In house legal salaries

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Trying to get an idea of a realistic salary and total compensation package for a high level legal job for a major Swiss multinational in a larger city in Switzerland.
Based on your circumstances and experience I would say something between CHF400k and CHF500k should do the trick.

By reading the above you agree to my advisory fee of 2% of your first year salary in Switzerland.

Regards,

TLD
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Old 04.02.2013, 10:21
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Re: In house legal salaries

May I just add:

ONLY 360k per annum

How can anyone live on such a low salary?

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Old 04.02.2013, 10:28
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Re: In house legal salaries

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May I just add:

ONLY 360k per annum

How can anyone live on such a low salary?

I'm really worrying for the OP now, what if it does not covers basic cost of living?
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Old 04.02.2013, 10:29
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Re: In house legal salaries

[QUOTE=BrianJW;1787921][QUOTE=brusch;1787885]
To have the same standard of living in Switzerland, multiply your US-based package by three.

Read up on issues surrounding FATCA and citizenship-based taxation also. Swiss banks and financial institutions view US passports as toxic and generally completely avoid them.
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Bullshit (x3). We moved from NY area to Zug with no increase in wife`s base salary and I took a pay cut to work part time. Cost of living is higher here no doubt but not that much.

You can only buy so much red meat per week and 360k will buy you all you can eat. You need to understand the taxes because the US taxes at that income level or higher could be a killer. You could easily be up for 40k plus in US tax in addition to Swiss taxes. It depends on so many factors especially where you live in Switzerland (low tax Canton won`t help you, will hurt you).

Your family situation will as other posters have said dictate how good a situation is. If you are going to be using International School it will cost 30k per year although maybe you are using private school in USA.

Rents are expensive here and houses less common so that will be the big question. You will pay a LOT of money for a 4000 sq ft house, people just live in smaller places generally although that is still a very good salary.

How senior is senior? Are you managing a legal team? Without managing a team you may not get a lot more than what you are currently earning.

In terms of FATCA it`s a pain in the arse but as long as you are honest it`s a filling problem. Some banks won`t touch Americans but UBS and Credit Suisse will so that`s not an overwhelming problem. The amount of tax you are going to have to pay Uncle Sam is an issue you should be prepared for.

Dining out is expensive. You can still afford it but it tends to turn you off, which means we eat more at home which I see as a good thing. Where we are we can`t just go online and have any type of take out food delivered in 15 minutes.
New York is an outlier and seasoned legal professionals make more than 360K USD in the Big Apple (OP never mentioned which city he is coming from).

But I stand by my 3x comment (possibly even more). Take a typical mid-western city loaded with Fortune 500 firms where a 300K+ USD income household can afford a 10+ room house, 5 bathrooms, with garden, pool, 5+ car garage, etc... With that income in Switzerland, forget it!
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