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Old 29.07.2014, 13:13
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Swiss Salary Negotiations

Hi All,

So I have been given a conditional offer from a Company which is below a.)what I had expected and b.) the market norm.

While I was over I did try and negotiate in person but they did not appear to listen and after being interviewed all day thought it would be easier to bring it up once I was back home.

At the time they basically made out like i should be grateful for such an amazing salary, even though its about 15K underpaid at least. they had said there is no room to negotiate the base salary even though they hadn't had the offered fully signed off.

Has anyone else had experiences like this from a stubborn employer?
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:20
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

If you've tried to negotiate and failed then you have two options. Obvious, really Either say you want X or you'll walk, or take their (low) offer.

Do bear in mind that once you start work you'll probably never get a pay rise ever. If the offer really is under the norm, then just take a job with a company paying the norm.
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:20
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

You can always ask, but, if you're going to force it, their answer depends how important you are to each other.

Do you offer anything unique that they can't find with the next applicant if you walk away?

Do you have anything else lined up if you walk away?
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:21
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

The entry job to the swiss market is always like that. Use it as a starting point make connections then jump to a better job. Only if your skills are really specialized and not available anywhere you will get a good offer.
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:23
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

Swiss companies are trying to lower their wage costs: have you used a good salary calculator?

http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/e.../salarium.html
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:25
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

If you do accept pls note that salary increases are very rare. Even if you are lucky enough to get an increase every year, you should be looking at 150-200 CHF tops added to your monthly salary so if you're unhappy it's better to negociate a good deal at the beginning or look for another job/employer.
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:39
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

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If you do accept pls note that salary increases are very rare. Even if you are lucky enough to get an increase every year, you should be looking at 150-200 CHF tops added to your monthly salary so if you're unhappy it's better to negociate a good deal at the beginning or look for another job/employer.
Well... It depends on the employer (and how valuable you are to them). I got around 35% over 6 years at a former (Swiss) employer.

Mind, they're not in business any more*, so...




*Well, they are, but that sounds more dramatic than saying they got bought.
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:42
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

I think it's risky to accept an offer that you know it is lower than the market average if you don't know when you'll gonna get the next salary raise.

But than again there might be a bonus at the end of the year that might compensate but depends if it is fixed or variable.

By the way, how do you know that the offer is below market average? General search over forums or someone from CH confirmed for the same position?

Me personally I would go and ask for more and this will show me how flexible is the company when it comes to employee's demands and how much do they really want me. If they at least make the effort to improve the initial offer then that's a good sign even though maybe they will not go for what I ask exactly.
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:52
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

yes in the fact that the role they want me to fulfil is a specialised project i have 4 years exp in.

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You can always ask, but, if you're going to force it, their answer depends how important you are to each other.

Do you offer anything unique that they can't find with the next applicant if you walk away?

Do you have anything else lined up if you walk away?
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:53
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

This would be my first job in the swiss market and they have offered an attractive relocation package.

I can stay in my current role but thats in Jersey

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You can always ask, but, if you're going to force it, their answer depends how important you are to each other.

Do you offer anything unique that they can't find with the next applicant if you walk away?

Do you have anything else lined up if you walk away?
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:55
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

I know the market in my field in switzerland and its ranges and its below the entry management role they've offered the bonus if i get the 10% they offered only just brings me in line with the low expectation to be honest

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I think it's risky to accept an offer that you know it is lower than the market average if you don't know when you'll gonna get the next salary raise.

But than again there might be a bonus at the end of the year that might compensate but depends if it is fixed or variable.

By the way, how do you know that the offer is below market average? General search over forums or someone from CH confirmed for the same position?

Me personally I would go and ask for more and this will show me how flexible is the company when it comes to employee's demands and how much do they really want me. If they at least make the effort to improve the initial offer then that's a good sign even though maybe they will not go for what I ask exactly.
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:56
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

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yes in the fact that the role they want me to fulfil is a specialised project i have 4 years exp in.
Then you may be in a better negotiating position (depending on what other options they have). If you explain that's what it will cost them to get get somebody of your experience, then they might be prepared to listen.

As a compromise, perhaps get a guaranteed rise written into the contract after 6 or 12 months, when you've shown them your worth in the job.
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Old 29.07.2014, 13:59
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

thanks for your comments, it might be a good idea, my only concern is it doesn't leave me with a lot to play with after taken into consideration cost of living etc. a lot less than I had planned on anyway!
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Old 29.07.2014, 14:11
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

Relocation package is a nice thing to have, gets you started but it's a one-time income so I wouldn't use it too much in the general financial planning unless it's really big.

It's good that you know the market for your profile and you should use that when going for the counteroffer. If you're going to do it of course.

What was the feeling you've got when you went there to meet them? Did you felt just another asset?

You started the topic talking about money and the low offer but I think the general feeling you got from them is also important. Those are people you'll spend a lot of time with so that is something harder to quantify.

By the way Skip, can't reply to your PM since I'm a new member and have a limit of 4 PMs per day. You can leave me an email if you wanna talk some more.
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Old 29.07.2014, 14:11
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

Need to bear in mind benefits like pensions and bonus.Eg pension at my firm is generous compared to UK at >10% of salary, so needs to be taken into account for a fair comparison.

Also all the people talking about lack of payrises fail to mention lack of inflation. Id rather get 0% payrise with 1% inflation than 1% payrises with 3% inflation...

Last edited by Bozza; 29.07.2014 at 14:17. Reason: To make more sense
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Old 29.07.2014, 14:11
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

I think I remember you saying you worked in Trust Admin from a previous posting, and the role was in Geneva. I worked in a Trust environment when I moved to Zurich for two years. I did my STEP and built quite a few contacts within the industry in CH. I left, but I still have lots of friends and contacts in the industry both within Zurich and in the French part too.

My experience was salary increases/largeish bonuses are really not the norm, particularly now given the cost of doing business in CH and the move many companies are starting to make shifting parts of the work to lower cost centers.

I.E. if you don't negotiate now, you might not be in a good position to do so later. Further, your subsequent job offers do link back to your existing salary. When I moved back to my previous area of work (Legal) after 2 years trust experience, my base salary was about 8% more than I was earning in the previous Trust role and that's after quite a bit of negotiation, moving it up from 4%.
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Old 29.07.2014, 14:44
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

In my current role i have a 10% non-contributory pension.

However that is true regarding inflation, especially with the high costs in CH

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Need to bear in mind benefits like pensions and bonus.Eg pension at my firm is generous compared to UK at >10% of salary, so needs to be taken into account for a fair comparison.

Also all the people talking about lack of payrises fail to mention lack of inflation. Id rather get 0% payrise with 1% inflation than 1% payrises with 3% inflation...
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Old 29.07.2014, 14:45
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

Thanks Gugi, it was actually a good feeling with the company, they looked a bit defensive when I didnt agree with there base salary though

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Relocation package is a nice thing to have, gets you started but it's a one-time income so I wouldn't use it too much in the general financial planning unless it's really big.

It's good that you know the market for your profile and you should use that when going for the counteroffer. If you're going to do it of course.

What was the feeling you've got when you went there to meet them? Did you felt just another asset?

You started the topic talking about money and the low offer but I think the general feeling you got from them is also important. Those are people you'll spend a lot of time with so that is something harder to quantify.

By the way Skip, can't reply to your PM since I'm a new member and have a limit of 4 PMs per day. You can leave me an email if you wanna talk some more.
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Old 29.07.2014, 14:51
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

Inshan that is correct! are you somewhat of a lurker with a long memory? I am TEP qualified and have 10 years experience, they now want me to take on an assistant manager role, but the job I had gone to interview for was actually an STO role. So the lack of salary is a bit of concern considering the extra responsibility!

You are correct, there arent really large bonuses in Trust Admin and the reliance is on the base salary. To me bonuses now days are never guaranteed they are all discretionary so I dont really factor them in to a cost of living guide.

I also had the same thoughts, as soon as you sign the contract you are nailed to the terms contained therein, and they are much more difficult to change once they have you!

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I think I remember you saying you worked in Trust Admin from a previous posting, and the role was in Geneva. I worked in a Trust environment when I moved to Zurich for two years. I did my STEP and built quite a few contacts within the industry in CH. I left, but I still have lots of friends and contacts in the industry both within Zurich and in the French part too.

My experience was salary increases/largeish bonuses are really not the norm, particularly now given the cost of doing business in CH and the move many companies are starting to make shifting parts of the work to lower cost centers.

I.E. if you don't negotiate now, you might not be in a good position to do so later. Further, your subsequent job offers do link back to your existing salary. When I moved back to my previous area of work (Legal) after 2 years trust experience, my base salary was about 8% more than I was earning in the previous Trust role and that's after quite a bit of negotiation, moving it up from 4%.
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Old 29.07.2014, 16:19
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Re: Swiss Salary Negotiations

Swiss companies are the worst negotiators on the planet. So don't worry youreself. Just play their game. Ultimately they don't care about you, so don't care about them.

Unfortunately, you're only worth what the market is paying (regardless of anything you read). You will first have to find an alternative employer who will pay more.... or else why would they bother to pay you more?

"Walk" is the only real negotiation point you have to start with. But you would really want to have that alternatitive or else you'll look like a right twat when they call your bluff.

It doesn't matter as much if the alternative company isn't as good, but focus on ALL the factors to make sure you do have 'better conditions' or else they will kill you on detail (insurances, benefits, etc. it all weighs in).

When you have a stronger offer, and they say that "they can't negotiate on base salary" or whatever.... throw the question back at them "What aspects can you negotiate with in compensation?"


Mostly, you'll probably find that they are just stupid arrogant pricks who follow an outdated HR spreadsheet and lack all ability to think outside the square.... but this is not your fault, so don't take it personally.


Unless you're absolutely desperate for work right now, I wouldn't take the offer if you think it's that bad. If you're confident with your market stats, then hold out for what you need.
If you need the money now, then take it anyway and immediately begin to look around for another job.

Negotiations are only ever as successful as the person you are negotiating with. "You need" to make "them need" to pay you more. If they don't 'need' to, they won't pay you more than they have to - simples.
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