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Old 05.12.2012, 02:14
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Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

Hey everyone, I was wondering if I could get some advice on the following situation.

I've just been made a job offer as a software engineer for a small company in Zürich, and as is often the case one of the sticking points is money.
The offer currently on the table is 65,000 CHF and frankly I'm not sure how this stacks up in terms of being a salary one could live on.
I'm Single, with no debts which is a bonus but for all I know this is the swiss equivalent of chump change.

So any help (even if it's just pointing me to the threads where this has been done to death before) would be most appreciated, as well as any general advice for living in Zürich.

Thanks in advance

-J
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Old 05.12.2012, 02:28
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

What would you be offered in the UK?

65K CHF in Zurich is low. It'd be equivalent to a low (<35K) offer in London.
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Old 05.12.2012, 02:53
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

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What would you be offered in the UK?

65K CHF in Zurich is low. It'd be equivalent to a low (<35K) offer in London.
As it stands it represents an increase of almost 15K compared to what I'm on now (28K) based on current currency conversions and I'm living fairly comfortably in the south of England.

That said if the figures line up as you say they do, then I'm beginning to think I ought to make a counter offer.
What would be considered "average" in Zürich?
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Old 05.12.2012, 03:17
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

Regarding what salary is typical, check out this thread.

There are also lots of threads here discussing how acceptable the lifestyle here is at various salary levels. I think the only general comment is that Switzerland is expensive and how expensive depends on how you plan to spend or save your money.

My shooting from the hip gut reaction is that you probably shouldn't come just for a salary of 65k, but if you manage a higher offer, or really want to live in Switzerland for some other reason, it could be worth doing.
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Old 05.12.2012, 03:46
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

Things to take into account when you run up your spreadsheet:
Housing - rental can be quite expensive, and it is difficult to get outside certain set periods where people move. You should take into account that you could be staying in hotels/temp accommodation until you find somewhere. Being single helps..
Healthcare (you pay for this, and the excess can be quite a bit)
Food - generally more expensive. Eating out definitely more expensive.

Your setup costs (flights, bringing things over) is also something to put into the equation. Are you getting relocation paid or any help with setting up? if not, I would suggest making a counter offer which includes this.
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Old 05.12.2012, 09:10
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

Also check whether the company pays its workers in 12 or 13 monthly payments. Yeah I know it sounds odd, but many companies pay you a double month around November/December to help with the Christmas expenses. It's quite nice to have a bit extra then of course, but the downside is that the monthly figure will be lower than if they pay you only 12 months. So the salary of 65,000 you mention would be gross 5,416.66 per month for 12, but only gross 5,000 for 13.
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Old 05.12.2012, 09:37
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

Check out this site to see how that wage stacks up against the average for that job based on experience, qualufications etc here. http://www.lohn-sgb.ch/

You'll likely need google translate because like many Swiss sites it's only available in German, French and italian. But it's well worth the effort as the info is excellent.

All these threads should just point to that site.
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Old 05.12.2012, 11:15
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

Thanks for all the advice guys

I probably should have led with the fact that I work as a software engineer in the video games industry and as a rule of thumb we're underpaid compared to our peers in other, more lucrative, programming roles - which may make all the average wages from the various, very helpful, links in the broad umbrella of "Software Engineer " a bit skewed for my particular case.

That said - I'm gonna make a counter offer, see if i can't get some more - probably looking to 70-75K and take Slayer's advice about relocation support as well.

Cheers for everything, I know this must be the umpteenth time someone asked this same question, so thanks for taking the time to give advice

-J
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Old 05.12.2012, 12:08
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

Well, each case if different so sometimes it's worth checking the threads and then asking questions if other answers don't fit your circumstances.

Working on the 5,000 per month figure, a rough guide for rental is not to commit more than a third of your gross figure so that would give you around 1,600 a month to rent something like a studio or 1-bed flat. Check out the following sites to see what you can find in and around Zurich in that price range:

www.immostreet.ch
www.immoscout24.ch
www.home.ch
www.homegate.ch

If you know where the job is based in Zurich then use either GoogleMaps or a good detailed one for Switzerland that would let you see the surrounding districts/towns to you can have an idea of how far out some of the places might be and which is easier for work. There's not much point in finding a good place to the west of Zurich if your company's based on the eastern side as you'll have to plough through all the city traffic to get there. The www.sbb.ch site is also good for checking public transport times and frequency of services.
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Old 05.12.2012, 12:48
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

65,000 CHF per annum is very low. Typically small companies offer lower salaries, but not to this extent.
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Old 05.12.2012, 13:18
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

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65,000 CHF per annum is very low. Typically small companies offer lower salaries, but not to this extent.
Cheers for that
Would you feel that 70-75K CHF would be more reasonable?
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Old 05.12.2012, 13:32
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

i think 65-75 is reasonable.
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Old 06.12.2012, 23:08
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

You can also try this site, http://www.lohnrechner.bfs.admin.ch/...iumWizard.aspx - it's the salary comparison site of the national office of statistics.

Obviously what's average for you depends on your circumstances. I am on less than the amount you're talking about, but I'm 25 and working in a non-megabucks industry. And I still live in Zurich, in my own flat (not a 1 room studio, for the record!), living a much more comfortable life than I ever did in London and I still have money left at the end of the month for savings. Just depends on your expectations, I guess.
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Old 07.12.2012, 00:05
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

If you're currently earning 28K in the UK, then 65K CHF is probably not that bad. Many people reading your message are likely to be earning much more than this, so 65K will seem difficult to live on.

Definitely worth trying for a rise. If you're negotiating with British people you can produce evidence of average flat rentals and health insurance etc to strengthen your case. You should at least ask for relocation help e.g. removal costs and a couple of months flat rental while you look for a permanent place.

Depends a lot on what sort of lifestyle you have / want. If you like to go out on the town, boozing and clubbing, you will be in for a financial shock. If you're after a quieter life and happy to live outside the city, as most expats do, in one of the many nice towns / villages around the lake for instance, you will manage pretty well. Once you've been here a while, you can always cast your eye around for a move to a better paid job.

Good luck. Nowhere is perfect, but most expats like living in Switzerland. Personally, I'm glad to be here rather than the UK. YMMV.
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Old 07.12.2012, 02:58
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

That salary offer you get is too low, in the sense that it should not be your main motivation to move to Zürich.

If you get an offer above 85k start considering it.

As said, if you have any other reasons to move here, than it is a different story.
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Old 07.12.2012, 11:50
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

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65,000 CHF per annum is very low. Typically small companies offer lower salaries, but not to this extent.
Maybe they are offering low salaries to foreigners because swiss people don't want to work for that kind of salary. These kinds of salaries sound good to foreigners, until they actually come and live here for a while and then realize how expensive everything is.
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Old 07.12.2012, 12:01
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

If you can't get a better salary, from my perspective you can live off that just fine if you don't have big financial obligations at home. You'll probably be better off getting a roommate if you want to travel, ski, and enjoy going out on the town.
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Old 07.12.2012, 12:16
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

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That salary offer you get is too low, in the sense that it should not be your main motivation to move to Zürich.

If you get an offer above 85k start considering it.

As said, if you have any other reasons to move here, than it is a different story.
This is the mark I would say if you want a life and be able to do things in Switzerland, Zurich isn't cheap, housing is the biggest cost and would eat 1/2 your salary at 65k.
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Old 07.12.2012, 12:27
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

I think any kind of software development role in Zurich must be worth 80,000 minimum. OP, just what skills do you have?
It's not a good sign if your company is offering you a below market level salary.
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Old 07.12.2012, 12:38
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Re: Considering a Job offer in Zürich - looking for advice.

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Cheers for that
Would you feel that 70-75K CHF would be more reasonable?
Around 75k-85k CHF 'd be a more reasonable range.
btw be careful before you sign anything.
Compared to other EU countries, the legal regime governing the employment relationship in Switzerland is very liberal.
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