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Old 10.03.2014, 00:11
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Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Hello!

My name is Juan - 33 yo- and I am currently working as senior manager for a top management consultancy in a EU country. I have a GF and no kids.

I've received an offer from a Swiss multinational company that is looking for someone with my background (i.e. manager from a top tier consultancy, international background, prior experience in their industry sector, etc.) to work as director of strategy.

My current salary is about 150k€ + company car for personal use (BMW 330 xd, in my case) + the usual consultant perks (full reimbursement of dinners, taxis, with little /no distinction between business vs. personal use, etc.).

On paper, my current situation sounds great, but in fact I've very limited time for myself and my GF. Working 70-80 hours per week is the norm. And work tends to infiltrate my holidays and weekends like a malignant disease.

What I'm expecting from this offer and relocation to Switzerland is an improvement in quality of life (more time for myself, my GF, a family, etc.), while maintaining my current purchasing power.

My GF would move to Switzerland with me after I find a house and stabilize my situation. I will have to sell/rent my house in EU and my GFe will have to find a job, but for the moment let's keep these elements out of the equation.

I've done a bit of research and simulations. Here are the main findings:
  • With a gross salary of 150 k€, my net salary in EU is about 85k€.
  • Considering the difference in cost of life (+40% in CH vs, my EU country) I should ask for a net comp of 140k CHF
  • That gives a gross salary of 200 k CHF + company car.

I've seen posts from previous threads commenting that a salary of 50k€ in EU equates to 100 k CHF, so I'm quite confused: should I ask for 200 k CHF (as per my caclulations) or 300 k CHF? There's a big difference!

Please challenge my calculations / assumptions (and forgive my involuted description of the situation - I've just drunk a bottle of white wine).
Cheers
Juan
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  #2  
Old 10.03.2014, 00:33
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Juan, we'd all love to increase our purchasing power whilst working less - preferably not at all ... But at your salary, the cynic in me says either you should be able to figure out what you're worth in your sector, or you're lucky to be earning what you're currently on.

Perhaps try posting when you're not a bit tipsy.
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Old 10.03.2014, 00:38
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Hello and welcome to the forum.

Switzerland is a very expensive country, so if you hoping to maintain your current lifestyle then you will have to ask for and hopefully get significantly more salary wise. That's a given.

As for a better quality of life in terms of more leisure and free time, this is the only country where I have worked and observed that very senior managers and top bosses were able to leave the office every day on the dot at 5pm, or certainly before their assistants and other team members.

Similarly, I have heard of and in fact know some who are on very good salaries in allegedly demanding and high level jobs who seem to spend almost all their working time on Facebook and other social networks! Go figure!

Others with more insights as to the financial costs/benefits ratio of your enquiry will hopefully be along shortly to give more insights from this perspective.

Good luck!
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Old 10.03.2014, 09:16
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

This sticky may help you to find further info:

Salaries in Switzerland - These and other questions answered before you ask!

Company cars aren't part of employment packages as often as they are in other countries so check whether in fact you'd be given one.

At that salary level you'll probably be paying tax by filing a Swiss return every year so again, check with the tax office of the canton where you'll be living (I assume the same one you'll be working in) on what sort of tax commitments you'll have.

What nationality is your GF? If she's non-EU then she can't just move here. You'd have to apply for a "concubine" permit for her to come as your dependent and you'd have to take financial responsibility for her as part of the approval process. Or she could apply for a job here, but it's very difficult for non-EU's to find employment unless they're highly qualified/experienced/specialised in their line of work.

Most people rent here and what they rent are apartments. Houses for sale or rent are much more rare, but can be found with a bit of effort.
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Old 10.03.2014, 10:53
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

well as we're all apparently making 300% what the poor neanderthals left behind in the neighboring wastelands are, that would call for 290k CHF net. I'd accept no less than a chauffeured space shuttle in the deal too.







I suspect you're at the point where a move to the swiss market may be more about the working hours, as you said, than anything else. Careful with the community tax rate - probably easier to get that right than to convince the employer to compensate for a higher rate.
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Old 10.03.2014, 12:07
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Why not just turn off your phone and don't answer emails when its the weekend and whilst on holiday?

Or take a lower paid job with less benefits and spend more quality time with your loved ones?
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Old 10.03.2014, 12:16
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Most people I know that are earning this kind of salary are working the kind of hours you say you are currently doing. We are considerably lower down in the salary scales and quite happy that that is the case, as we can enjoy our free-time and earnings accordingly. Same can't be said for my friends who are high flyers. Long, long hours, unable to plan holidays and and and. Yes, some are lucky and can leave the office on time - but I suspect these are in the minority. It's all down to luck and you won't know until you start working here. So be aware. :-)
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Old 10.03.2014, 12:34
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Ask for 230,000 CHF accept 200K assuming they confirm with you that you'll have a bit more family time. I wouldn't factor a company car into the equation unless the company offers one at your level regardless. If they don't, just lease one and expense company mileage.

Otherwise, 150K€ in Italy is a great salary and if you're going to work hard in both places anyway, stay there.
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Old 10.03.2014, 13:41
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Maybe my impression is wrong, but asking for a quarter-million salary and "better work-life balance" just don't go very well together in Switzerland - nor do they in any other country except La-La Land ;-)


The good news is that, depending on where you settle down, you can keep quite a bit more of the money than in almost any other (European) country.
If you have to wreck your health and personal life like that, at least you can maximize the payout ;-)
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:02
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

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Hello!

My name is Juan - 33 yo- and I am currently working as senior manager for a top management consultancy in a EU country. I have a GF and no kids.

I've received an offer from a Swiss multinational company that is looking for someone with my background (i.e. manager from a top tier consultancy, international background, prior experience in their industry sector, etc.) to work as director of strategy.

My current salary is about 150k€ + company car for personal use (BMW 330 xd, in my case) + the usual consultant perks (full reimbursement of dinners, taxis, with little /no distinction between business vs. personal use, etc.).

On paper, my current situation sounds great, but in fact I've very limited time for myself and my GF. Working 70-80 hours per week is the norm. And work tends to infiltrate my holidays and weekends like a malignant disease.

What I'm expecting from this offer and relocation to Switzerland is an improvement in quality of life (more time for myself, my GF, a family, etc.), while maintaining my current purchasing power.

My GF would move to Switzerland with me after I find a house and stabilize my situation. I will have to sell/rent my house in EU and my GFe will have to find a job, but for the moment let's keep these elements out of the equation.


I've done a bit of research and simulations. Here are the main findings:
  • With a gross salary of 150 k€, my net salary in EU is about 85k€.
  • Considering the difference in cost of life (+40% in CH vs, my EU country) I should ask for a net comp of 140k CHF
  • That gives a gross salary of 200 k CHF + company car.
I've seen posts from previous threads commenting that a salary of 50k€ in EU equates to 100 k CHF, so I'm quite confused: should I ask for 200 k CHF (as per my caclulations) or 300 k CHF? There's a big difference!

Please challenge my calculations / assumptions (and forgive my involuted description of the situation - I've just drunk a bottle of white wine).
Cheers
Juan
A senior manager for a management consultancy firm who cant work out whether he will be as well off in a different country...surely im not the only one who sees the irony here?

a consultant who cant do his own consultation

I call bullshit.
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:04
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

I call it a cool first post. Welcome
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:05
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Maybe EF could invoice him, at CH consulting rates
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:35
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

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A senior manager for a management consultancy firm who cant work out whether he will be as well off in a different country...surely im not the only one who sees the irony here?

a consultant who cant do his own consultation

I call bullshit.
I think you'll find he is doing what all senior managers do:-
Asking the poorly paid idiots to do his work for him.
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:43
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

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A senior manager for a management consultancy firm who cant work out whether he will be as well off in a different country...surely im not the only one who sees the irony here?

a consultant who cant do his own consultation

I call bullshit.
In your case, I call epic ****head.

There is no shame on asking a second opinion(s) on a potentially very life-altering decision.
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Old 10.03.2014, 14:53
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

I wonder if he'd posted a lower income whether he would have attracted just as much opprobrium?

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Ask for 230,000 CHF accept 200K assuming they confirm with you that you'll have a bit more family time. I wouldn't factor a company car into the equation unless the company offers one at your level regardless.
I moved here from a job with a fully expensed company car - in my discussions with HR, we worked out the annual benefit and added that to my salary.
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Old 10.03.2014, 15:49
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

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A senior manager for a management consultancy firm who cant work out whether he will be as well off in a different country...surely im not the only one who sees the irony here?

a consultant who cant do his own consultation

I call bullshit.
Nonsense. He already quoted the expat cost of living index relative to his country. That's all you're likely to get from indexed professional figures, the rest is quite personal. And that's why he's here, to get people's opinion with regards to cost of living. He didn't ask what the average salary for his level is, but rather what he should ask for to keep the same purchasing power. There's a huge range in compensation for senior consultants, certainly doesn't hurt to get second opinions.
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Old 10.03.2014, 17:14
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Swiss net salary is not really net, you incur lots of additional costs.

For example, you still have to pay for health insurance, and many companies do not pay for it, i.e. likely to go out of your pocket. If you have a family, it gets multiplied by the size of your household. You have to also pay for TV, etc.
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Old 10.03.2014, 17:38
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

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Swiss net salary is not really net, you incur lots of additional costs.

For example, you still have to pay for health insurance, and many companies do not pay for it, i.e. likely to go out of your pocket. If you have a family, it gets multiplied by the size of your household. You have to also pay for TV, etc.
He's alone (+ GF).
TV: only if he subscribes to BILLAG ;-)
And even then, it's only 400-something bucks per year - he's not going to go broke over that.
If work requires him to be "online" 24x7, I'd have work pay for phone+DSL.
My employer certainly does.
And I'm not in his salary-league. Not by a long shot.
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Old 11.03.2014, 01:31
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

Thanks everyone for your answers – some have been quite useful.
But I want to thank also to those who hit me under the belt. I am sure that when they opened my thread they intended to contribute positively.
If they eventually decided to vilify and denigrate my question, it means that my question somehow sounded stupid / outlandish.

So let me give some more background in order to better clarify my situation. When you switch from consulting to industry, it’s normal to expect a downshift both
  • in the hours that you put in and
  • in the speed of career progression. (This happens everywhere, not just in La-La-Land )

Believe me: going from 70-80 hours of work per week to 55-60 is quite a big change. It means that you can have dinner at home every night and take a good sleep (as opposed to having dinner in the office with your team, and getting hardly any sleep). Of course, on the other hand, you will forego the quick career progression that you normally have in consulting, where your salary tends to double every 4 years.

So the question that I’m facing is: knowing that once you are out from consulting there’s no way back, getting out of this “fast lane” and settling for 200k CHF would be a good deal? Or will I compromise too much on my current purchasing power?

All the index stuff that I’ve analyzed suggest that 200 k CHF should be equivalent to 150 k € in a heavily taxed country.
But on this forum, I’ve read that if you get 50k GBP in UK, you should ask at least 100 CHF to keep your living standards ( Which clearly contradicts the above assumption).
Hence my question.

PS
I’m still in the office.
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Old 11.03.2014, 01:43
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Re: Salary / cost of life / quality of life question

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All the index stuff that I’ve analyzed suggest that 200 k CHF should be equivalent to 150 k € in a heavily taxed country.
But on this forum, I’ve read that if you get 50k GBP in UK, you should ask at least 100 CHF to keep your living standards ( Which clearly contradicts the above assumption).
Hence my question.

PS
I’m still in the office.
Which sources are more reliable: the ones that gave you the first answer or the ones that gave you the second answer?
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