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Old 08.06.2015, 23:24
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Competetive Salary Package

Hi all,

As you will notice I am new to this forum. I am currently considering to move to Switzerland and have even bagged myself an interview with a very high chance of getting an offer if they like me as a person. The salary is very competetive - in the range that tends to get some sarcastic comments on this site if asked if it is a good salary so I wont even ask as I know it is

So what is the problem? Well my problem is if a good salary is enough for me to give up my cosy/good life as I am currently enjoying in Sweden.

I am working in the finance industry and my current salary package includes:

- Competetive salary but not as good as what I will get in the new job
- Lunch vouchers reducing the cost of eating lunches out by approx 25%
- Gym membership
- Private health insurance
- Final salary pension scheme
- 5 weeks annual leave, however for every hour overtime I do I am compensated by 1,5 hours which can be taken off in time in lieu which I usually do meaning that I am off for around 10 weeks a year.

On top of my salary package I receive some great benefits from the state:
- Free childcare (well pay a nominal amount of approx 120 CHF a month)
- 98 weeks of maternity leave ( and yes I can see myself having a second child in the future) which I can take as I see fit until the child is 12 years old

My biggest issue with moving to Switzerland would be the reduced amount of holidays I can get as I understand that the statutory leave is only 4 weeks (5-6 weeks in Sweden depending on age), my second issue is the statutory maternity leave only being 14 weeks.

Having my doubts I wonder if you could help me to define a "dream salary package" i.e. how much extra holidays can be negotiated, what pension package should I ask for etc. For the maternity leave I understand that it wont be anything that I bring up on my interview however how common is it to get say 12 months leave?

I would really appreciate your help on this matter as I am in serious doubt that a good salary will be enough for me to want to move. To enjoy time of with your children is hard to put a value on!

Cheers

Somel1
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  #2  
Old 08.06.2015, 23:29
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

why on earth would you want to give that up?! forget it and stay!
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Old 08.06.2015, 23:38
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

Anything is better than Sweden.

Speed limits are higher, everything (especially wine) is cheaper, and the food is FAR better.

Move, I'd say.

OK, we do have to import surstroemming, but I still have four cans, and most of the rest, including the aquavit, can be had at your local IKEA.

The almond potatoes, alas, you'll have to get at Migros (but they do have them).

Tom
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Old 08.06.2015, 23:52
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

Stay there!
Childcare is very expensive. Paternity/maternity leave.....we can only dream about it. 5 weeks of holidays + extra-hours compensation? Seriously? Plus here nothing is done for women who work. Unless you get the double amount for the sarcasm...don't move.
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Old 09.06.2015, 00:08
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

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5 weeks of holidays + extra-hours compensation? Seriously?
Been the norm for me for the past 29 years here.

Here, a family can live well on a single salary.

Try that in Sweden (or anywhere in Scandinavia).

Tom
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Old 09.06.2015, 00:31
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

Money can't buy you quality of life, no matter how much Swiss employers would like to insist that it can. High wages in Switzerland come with high expectations, long hours, miserly holidays and a general work-life culture that equates 'life' with 'working time spent out of the office'. In my experience, overtime/travel-time is considered part of the package for high-wage earners, and is only ever compensated if you work a bank holiday (and then as a 'day-in-lieu' arrangement).

Family rarely gets a look-in, at least as far as the main wage-earner is concerned, as one parent (and it's never the dad) is generally expected to give up work in order to look after the family, and much of society is organised with this expectation even now. Adequate childcare is enormously expensive and over-subscribed, and in my case cancelled out my entire earnings [before the wrath of EF descends on me, yes, different cantons provide different degrees of support for working women; yes, it depends on your employer - but apart from that, imagine the rest of Europe in 1963 ] Working day often starts at 8am and runs to 6pm which is also difficult regarding schools/daycare, and summer-holiday childcare is, again, extortionate.

Paid maternity leave only came into effect two days after I had my youngest child, so I'm not sure how it works in practice. Paternity leave doesn't exist - my partner was 'given' a day off for each of our children (and two days off when we needed to move house, to give you a sense of priorities).

Sorry to sound negative but it's one of the huge disadvantages of living in CH. I'm sure it's possible to find a sympathetic employer who understands the value of family life, but you would be enormously lucky. I'm with Phil - why would you move away from such a fantastic system just to have a higher wage?
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Old 09.06.2015, 02:25
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

OP, it sounds like you have a great deal in Sweden, and it sounds like your priorities (time off, good work-life balance, parental leave time, etc.) are met where you are. Money is not all - once your bills are paid, these non-monetary aspects of the job are as important, if not more, than the marginal salary increases.
Based on your facts, unless you really want to try out something new, I'd stay put.

In my profession, I found Switzerland's work-life balance excellent compared to some other places I lived/worked in, but worse than others. For one, I really value rapid career progression, competitiveness, fast pace, maximum flexibility in work schedule, and wide array of options for families with both parents working, so for me, at this point, the U.S. + my current employer is the optimal scenario.

Which was not always the case in the past, and may or may not be the case at some unspecified point in the future!
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Old 09.06.2015, 06:30
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

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why on earth would you want to give that up?! forget it and stay!
Because of money, that's why. When I was a vastly underpaid junior in a, cough, let's say "large Swedish telecom infrastructure company" did I earn in Switzerland after taxes twice as much as my boss in Sweden. With my current salary probably three times what a similarly employed person in Sweden has after the tax eats most of your income. And I am not a big roller and know that somebody in the financial industry can make easily twice of what I earn...
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Old 09.06.2015, 08:16
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

Depends on where and who you work for and at what level. Some companies offer flexitime until quite a high grade, plus 25 days leave minimum, and all sorts of other perks.

Switzerland offers a minimum of 8.5 hours of daylight, but a maximum of only 16.
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Old 09.06.2015, 10:02
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

As you consider the move and negotiate your package:

Be aware that any non-salary perk can be taken away. That has happened at several large MNCs during the financial crisis, meaning that many employees were in effect handed a 10-30% cut in compensation.

If money is important, get it in salary.

Also understand that you have little job protection in Switzerland. An employee can be fired for any reason, or for no reason. All that is required is sticking to the notice period. So in effect your job security is three (or six) months of your contractual notice period. One would be wise to negotiate a decent exit package.

---

The financial industry is notorious for... shall we say... not valuing the work/life balance. If that is important to you, make sure you talk candidly, outside the interview process, to people at various levels within the company to get a feel for the real character of the organization.
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Old 09.06.2015, 10:47
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

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Because of money, that's why. When I was a vastly underpaid junior in a, cough, let's say "large Swedish telecom infrastructure company" did I earn in Switzerland after taxes twice as much as my boss in Sweden. With my current salary probably three times what a similarly employed person in Sweden has after the tax eats most of your income. And I am not a big roller and know that somebody in the financial industry can make easily twice of what I earn...
but the OP already has a good salary.

if you already have enough money, very good benefits and lots of time to spend with your kids, why give it up to have a bit more money? doesn't sound like a good deal to me.
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Old 09.06.2015, 10:54
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

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The financial industry is notorious for... shall we say... not valuing the work/life balance. If that is important to you, make sure you talk candidly, outside the interview process, to people at various levels within the company to get a feel for the real character of the organization.
This is the main point - I know from friends who have moved back that the work-life balance at Swiss financial companies is much worse than in Scandinavian countries.
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Old 09.06.2015, 10:59
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

Stay there, childcare is very expensive here, you have to pay for your own health insurance. Maybe at the end of the day the very competitive salary will not be that much!
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Old 09.06.2015, 11:35
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

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but the OP already has a good salary.

if you already have enough money, very good benefits and lots of time to spend with your kids, why give it up to have a bit more money? doesn't sound like a good deal to me.
I am not saying the OP should, but in my experience is a "good" net salary in Sweden vs Switzerland quite some worlds apart. And then it boils down to what you want from life - more free time and a great social security net: Sweden. Money, low taxes and personal choices you can do with your money: Switzerland.
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Old 09.06.2015, 11:48
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

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..... - Final salary pension scheme.....

.....- however for every hour overtime I do I am compensated by 1,5 hours which can be taken off in time in lieu which I usually do.....
Both of these as rare as hens teeth in Switzerland, particularly in the finance industry.
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Old 09.06.2015, 12:30
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

If you want to have a second child, stay in Sweden. Really. Switzerland has nicer climate and lower taxes, but it is not a great place for working mothers - and I have never heard that anybody has managed to negotiate significantly improved terms for maternity leave here.
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Old 09.06.2015, 12:45
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

These may help:

http://www.seco.admin.ch/dokumentati...x.html?lang=en


http://www.bag.admin.ch/themen/krank...x.html?lang=en

No one gets 12 months maternity leave here so don't even think about asking for it. Your only option from what I can see is to continue breastfeeding for as long as you can. But of course you won't be paid a salary after the 16th week and your employer could decide you're simply not worth waiting for and terminate your employment contract.
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Old 09.06.2015, 23:32
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

Dear all,

Thanks for everyone’s input. I have read through all of the comments and appreciate all various angles.

OK – it is clear that I cannot by default expect to get the same package as here in Sweden although as Tom points out it is not impossible to get a decent package. I have spoken to my contact at the Swiss company today saying that I would not consider anything less than 6 weeks of holiday a year plus bank holidays. It will be interesting how they will perceive that!

Some people have wondered why I would even consider to move to Switzerland and in fact in my case it is not the money although that is a nice attribute as well. The move would mean that I could fast track my career and say in five years time I could then move back to Sweden and land a similar role.

After posting my initial post I realised that I had misrepresented my potential future job a bit. I am currently working in the finance sector however the new job will be within the finance department of a manufacturing company so hopefully not as many hours of overtime as I a currently do.

For the money, being a Charted Accountant by profession it is not a surprise that I have made an Excel sheet calculating what salary I must get to maintain my current standard of living (and yes taking into account the tax). I was quite surprised that I landed at 91% extra and that is excluding entertainment, clothes and holiday. So all in all I would really need a 100% increase to make it worthwhile financially and even than I would not be that interested as it is then not a financial incentive for me to move, only the career aspect.

It will be interesting to find out what they think about my holiday request. If they want to take it further my next question is what is a good pension package?

For my potential second child, I have decided I just have to play it by ear. You never know how quick or how long time those things can take and I have to deal with that when it happens. It may mean that I will get sacked in which case I just have to live on savings.

I will keep you posted on how I am getting on…

Cheers

Somel1
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Old 10.06.2015, 14:32
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

Don't forget to factor in the cost of the dentist here.

Cheers!
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Old 10.06.2015, 15:00
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Re: Competetive Salary Package

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For the maternity leave I understand that it wont be anything that I bring up on my interview however how common is it to get say 12 months leave?

I would really appreciate your help on this matter as I am in serious doubt that a good salary will be enough for me to want to move. To enjoy time of with your children is hard to put a value on!
Somel1, you need also to take into account few things:

1) I assume that you are a female (correct me if I am wrong). It is very usual that women stay at home here, for the first couple of years until kids go to school. The attitude towards moms working long hours (especially single moms) is something a progressive Scandinavian woman will have a hard time adjusting to.

2) You will often get the sarcastic comments from your coworkers (including females) if you need to stay at home to take care of a sick child, get out earlier from work or similar. And you will get comments or looks in kindergarten when you come to pick up your child late.

3) salary and career progression is indeed good here. Also opportunity to travel (for a weekend trip) is way easier than from Sweden. The costs of kindergarten are astronomical, though, so it offsets it a bit.
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