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Old 15.12.2015, 00:03
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Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

Hello!

I was wondering if anyone has been able to find work if they only speak English? I find a lot of places require both.
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Old 15.12.2015, 00:07
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

In IT it's very easy to get one. What is your profession?
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Old 15.12.2015, 00:08
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

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Hello!

I was wondering if anyone has been able to find work if they only speak English? I find a lot of places require both.
Yes. But unfortunately they are few and far between.

But you are in a country where English is not a National language, so it is to be expected, no? You couldn't go to the UK for example and easily find a job without English.

What industry are you looking in?
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Old 15.12.2015, 00:35
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

i have the same problem,i am a chinese woman,i can speak english ,but i can not speak good french,hard to find a job.
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Old 15.12.2015, 01:34
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

I know so many people here in the German part of Switzerland who cannot speak a word of German and have had jobs here for many years. I actually work for an accoutancy firm which provides tax services to expatriates and we have to service most of them in English. I have been in Switzerland for more than 7 years and don't speak German (well, not very good anyway).
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Old 15.12.2015, 02:42
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

I'm a native English speaker, very little German. I got a very good job as a project manager when I arrived in CH. It wasn't an issue. Depends on the company I guess.
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Old 15.12.2015, 08:18
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

It'll depend on your qualifications/experience, but also as a non-EU national on what permit you have. Tell us what work you do and what permit you hold and then we'll be able to get you more specific advice.
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Old 15.12.2015, 09:47
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

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...But you are in a country where English is not a National language, so it is to be expected, no? You couldn't go to the UK for example and easily find a job without English...
English is the international language of business, so it's not exactly a fair comparison. Proportionally there will be more English (only) speaking jobs here than German/French (only) speaking jobs in the UK.

In specialist/technical areas, large companies often have English as the working language. If you have specialist skills that are not commonly held and not covered by apprenticeship schemes at the bottom, then there is a greater chance of finding English speaking only work. If you are thinking of shop assistant, clerical work etc. then it's unlikely.
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Old 15.12.2015, 10:03
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

True, but even so often meetings can change into French or German despite the office language being English, if most of the speakers are not native English. This is what my non-French speaking husband finds at his workplace where English is the office language. So even if you're a specialist, knowing at least a fair amount of the relevant Swiss language where you're going to be working is useful.
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Old 15.12.2015, 10:23
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

There's plenty of jobs to be had here without speaking a word of the local language. It just depends on what industry you're in.
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Old 15.12.2015, 10:24
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

I've found work and have been working for the past 9 months, I only speak English even though I do attempt some German.


It took a while and it was hard but I did find a job, just keep at it and be persistent!


Good luck
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Old 15.12.2015, 10:57
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

There are plenty of jobs that don't require English, especially in IT and/or multinationals, but if you limit yourself to these, you're effectively limiting yourself to a subset of the jobs you otherwise could apply for.

Additionally, since the start of the financial crisis, and particularly since the Swiss economy has been under pressure thanks to the high Franc, companies can afford to be more picky and so have been able to demand more German/French speaking skills - supply and demand.

Ultimately, while you can find jobs that require only English, they will limit what you can apply for. This is not a native English-speaking country so German/French (and to a much lesser extent Italian) speaking skills are ultimately important if you choose to remain long term.

Don't procrastinate on language even if it won't do you much good right now, is my advice.
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Old 15.12.2015, 13:44
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

I don't speak any German, Italian or French, only English but am currently working for an American firm in Zurich. The business language we use is English and even when I serve clients in Zurich, Basel, Bern etc. we conduct all our meetings and correspondence in English.

So it is possible if you only speak English, but like others have also mentioned here,
1) Have specialized skills and/or experience that will be hard(er) to seek out from the general Swiss population
2) Work for an organization that is not too traditionally "Swiss" and the working language is in English
3) Work for an organization that serves clients/customers that are multi-national, multi-lingual

Good luck!
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Old 17.12.2015, 12:49
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

As a recruiter working in Zurich for an international recruitment firm and from Malaysia with a B permit (married to a Swiss) I can say it would be tough (although not impossible) to find a job if you don't speak the national languages of Switzerland. Everyday I interview good or qualified candidates in sales and marketing but not Swiss and they have a hard time finding suitable roles. Having read earlier posts that said it is not difficult, I would be interested to know of your current role if you only speak English only and are working in Switzerland and also indicate was it an internal relocation/transfer. I only have my current job because of internal transfer if not I suspect that I will still be struggling to find a job. Positions that most likely can get by with only English are niche roles in banks e.g. compliance and risk on the corporate level, IT specialists, legal (if international focus), consulting, finance/tax (this is not exhaustive). Companies and hiring managers including HR when they screen CVs from my experience here have been very specific in their requirements and language is one of them. Some companies have even refused to partner with us although we are Swiss licensed and registered because I did not speak German. Luckily we have Swiss colleagues that step in. Ultimately getting an interview is possible but getting hired is the hard part.
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Old 17.12.2015, 13:03
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

With the right skills, I think it can be relatively easy to find an English-only job.

A lot of the larger multi-national companies work in English here & so, that is the most important language.

Note: A lot of job adverts state that they require German, but through my searching - I have found that this is not a strict requirement for the mid-large companies. So apply, even if it says German is mandatory
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Old 17.12.2015, 13:41
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

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Yes. But unfortunately they are few and far between.

But you are in a country where English is not a National language, so it is to be expected, no? You couldn't go to the UK for example and easily find a job without English.

What industry are you looking in?
Erm, many large Swiss and International companies with offices have English as their business language, it is perfectly possible to get a job without the local language. Especially in IT.

Your "you couldn't get a job in Engliasd without English" example is also a bit silly as English is one of the worlds primary languages, and England is the home of it. Switzerland isn't, yet the majority of people speak English.

I'm amazed how much I am reading the same old "you can't find a job without the local language" spiel lately. It just isn't true in many cases.
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Old 17.12.2015, 14:11
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

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Erm, many large Swiss and International companies with offices have English as their business language, it is perfectly possible to get a job without the local language. Especially in IT.

Your "you couldn't get a job in Engliasd without English" example is also a bit silly as English is one of the worlds primary languages, and England is the home of it. Switzerland isn't, yet the majority of people speak English.

I'm amazed how much I am reading the same old "you can't find a job without the local language" spiel lately. It just isn't true in many cases.
As has been said before it depends on your skills and your nationality/permit status. OH is a specialist and expert in his field so him not speaking German/French doesn't really come into it as few people can do what he does. Me on the other hand with little French, even with a Swiss B/C permit, will not find it easy to get a secretarial job. Yes, there are positions out there, but most of them will also want you to speak French/German if you're a secretary.

And primary language or not, few people would go to England expecting to be able to find plenty of positions to apply for when they only speak German. It's the same here - yes there are positions where speaking English only is okay, but those are in the minority compared to the number of jobs available overall. Depending on your skills/experience learning to speak a Swiss language will give you more opportunities to find work than speaking English alone.
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Old 17.12.2015, 14:17
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

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As has been said before it depends on your skills and your nationality/permit status. OH is a specialist and expert in his field so him not speaking German/French doesn't really come into it as few people can do what he does. Me on the other hand with little French, even with a Swiss B/C permit, will not find it easy to get a secretarial job. Yes, there are positions out there, but most of them will also want you to speak French/German if you're a secretary.

And primary language or not, few people would go to England expecting to be able to find plenty of positions to apply for when they only speak German. It's the same here - yes there are positions where speaking English only is okay, but those are in the minority compared to the number of jobs available overall. Depending on your skills/experience learning to speak a Swiss language will give you more opportunities to find work than speaking English alone.
Well obviously speaking both languages will give you more opportunities, not sure that really needs pointing out. Also yes, some jobs and industries need local language knowledge to function. Also self-explanatory.

However the fact is that many industries and positions in areas like Finance and IT (which constitutes a huge number of workers) do not, and many companies, including Swiss companies, don't really care about it.
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Old 17.12.2015, 14:22
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Re: Has anyone been able to find work if they only speak English?

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Well obviously speaking both languages will give you more opportunities, not sure that really needs pointing out. Also yes, some jobs and industries need local language knowledge to function. Also self-explanatory.

However the fact is that many industries and positions in areas like Finance and IT (which constitutes a huge number of workers) do not, and many companies, including Swiss companies, don't really care about it.
Also once the company accepts it has to bow down to the terms of the Employee they are likely to pay more money.
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