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Old 12.09.2017, 01:39
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Find IT job with no German skills?

I'm working in IT industry in Zurich. It's a multi-nation company and I have regular meetings with people in inconvenient time zone. Missing dinner time with family becomes a bit annoying so I'm thinking to find a job in local or nearby Gemeinde. However I can't speak Deutsch and wonder if it's realistic to expect to find a job at local villages. Is language a must especially in smaller villages? Let's assume I'm qualified for most IT jobs, and with B permit.

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Old 12.09.2017, 09:54
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?



Of course that's not going to happen. It's a quite universal rule: the more local the company, the higher the chances you need to speak the local language. As per usual, ask yourself the question in reverse: do you think anyone would find a job in a local authority/commune/town/company/whatever in your home country without speaking that country's language? The answer will be no, so why would Switzerland be any exception?

Most people at the local commune will not speak English and even if they do, it is not the language they will conduct any work in. You might get away with English-only in large multinationals, but certainly not in very local organizations, let alone the local communes.
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Old 12.09.2017, 10:37
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

Depends on your role in IT. For a pure software developer, English should be fine. An engineer/integrator/manager in a small local company, most likely, will have to communicate with local customers much more than in a big international one.
Besides, the staff in local companies has different mentality than in big international ones, they like to be like family - eat lunch together, chat about life, and about Swiss life in particular.
It may be difficult to get their sympathy without speaking their lnguage, and, as I learned the hard way, sympathy in Swiss interviews may be much more important than professional skills.
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Old 12.09.2017, 10:57
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

Obviously it depends where you live.

You're in Schwyz canton? Then you have some chance in Pfäffikon or nearby.

If you're away from Zurisee then I'd think your chances are very limited.

Can't you just work remotely? Most of these multi-timezone things are tele/video conference, doing it from home is the simple option.
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Old 13.09.2017, 00:31
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

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Of course that's not going to happen. It's a quite universal rule: the more local the company, the higher the chances you need to speak the local language. As per usual, ask yourself the question in reverse: do you think anyone would find a job in a local authority/commune/town/company/whatever in your home country without speaking that country's language? The answer will be no, so why would Switzerland be any exception?

Most people at the local commune will not speak English and even if they do, it is not the language they will conduct any work in. You might get away with English-only in large multinationals, but certainly not in very local organizations, let alone the local communes.
In that sense, I wonder if high German is enough for a job like that. Heard about stories from people who passed B1-B2 certificate but still having trouble understanding local people due to accent and dialect.

My question is, if I make B1 my target for C permit and getting a local job instead of multination companies, will that be realistic goal?
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Old 13.09.2017, 00:34
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

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Obviously it depends where you live.

You're in Schwyz canton? Then you have some chance in Pfäffikon or nearby.

If you're away from Zurisee then I'd think your chances are very limited.

Can't you just work remotely? Most of these multi-timezone things are tele/video conference, doing it from home is the simple option.
Certainly I can work remotely, but still the meeting time has conflicts with my family time. I would rather spend time with family than talking about projects at dinner time.
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Old 13.09.2017, 00:38
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

Besides, if I read the data correctly, it seems statistically people with L permit have higher salary than those with B permit, which again have higher average salary than Swiss nationals. This is a bit counter-intuitive to me, do I misread it?

https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/de/home.../salarium.html
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Old 13.09.2017, 00:40
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

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In that sense, I wonder if high German is enough for a job like that. Heard about stories from people who passed B1-B2 certificate but still having trouble understanding local people due to accent and dialect.
Well it's better than nothing, but my gut tells me it'd still be difficult. Yes the Swiss may all perfectly understand and speak High German, but there is still some reluctance to actually use it. Without direct customer contact, however, it might be fine, though probably still not preferred.

That being said:

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My question is, if I make B1 my target for C permit and getting a local job instead of multination companies, will that be realistic goal?
B1 is nowhere near fluent and will therefore not be enough. It is just about enough to hold down a simple conversation and understand the most basic of instructions. I speak several languages to B1 level but would never in a million years say that I could use any of them as a working language, not even occasionally.

Unless you reach C1, I'd say you can pretty much forget it.
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Old 13.09.2017, 06:21
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

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I'm working in IT industry in Zurich. It's a multi-nation company and I have regular meetings with people in inconvenient time zone. Missing dinner time with family becomes a bit annoying so I'm thinking to find a job in local or nearby Gemeinde. However I can't speak Deutsch and wonder if it's realistic to expect to find a job at local villages. Is language a must especially in smaller villages? Let's assume I'm qualified for most IT jobs, and with B permit.
Ironic how most people are desperate to come to Switzerland to get an IT job and their only chance without German is in zürich. You are already lucky enough to have an IT job in zürich without speaking German and you want to leave it to get one in a small town or even a village where languages will be important? Seems rather counter intuitive.

If you really have to ask if 'language skills are important in local villages' or if there will be 'many IT jobs in local villages', then I question your levels of basic common sense. Obviously the more isolated, smaller and less multinational an area is, the more native languages are important, that is self-explanatory.

I also have no idea how you can be 'qualified for most IT jobs' considering how many varied and specialist areas there are in IT, you would need decades of experience to even approach that. What do you actually do?

Have you considered relocating your family closer to Zurich instead?

Last edited by Richdog; 13.09.2017 at 06:55.
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Old 13.09.2017, 09:17
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

Unless you have some niche skill, then moving into a more "local" employer is likely to demand a decent command of the locsl language. And in my own experience, individual departments of large, international companies will insist on fluency in German (or other local language) if the team is mainly local people.

To find a job in a more Swiss company you will need to able to do the interview in German and convince the employer that you can communicate effectively with the team and/or customers. Also, my recent experience is outside of the banking world, salaries can be a shade lower for equivalent jobs. But what I hear from friends who work at more Swiss companies is that such employers are generally a bit better at helping ensure a work/life balance.

It won't harm you to take up learning German but unless you have a real flair for learning languages it is going to take a year or two before you are up to the standard where you are likely to be successful in applying for German-based jobs. So start now!

As others have said, does your employer offer a telecommute option? At the moment my team is working in different offices across Zurich so it makes difference if I do a meeting at home or in a company office.

Finally, speak to your line manager if you are unhappy. A manager who is any good does NOT want to lose a good worker who knows their way around the applications etc. Maybe compromises can be found. Don't just moan. State the problems clearly and have some suggested solutions - like try to organise the late meetings a bit better or keep them to a minimum; offer to sit in on the meetings from home. Ask to take compensatory time off if you are missing family time.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 13.09.2017, 09:27
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

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Well it's better than nothing, but my gut tells me it'd still be difficult. Yes the Swiss may all perfectly understand and speak High German, but there is still some reluctance to actually use it. Without direct customer contact, however, it might be fine, though probably still not preferred.

That being said:



B1 is nowhere near fluent and will therefore not be enough. It is just about enough to hold down a simple conversation and understand the most basic of instructions. I speak several languages to B1 level but would never in a million years say that I could use any of them as a working language, not even occasionally.

Unless you reach C1, I'd say you can pretty much forget it.
There's a big difference between practical fluency and passing a C1 exam - particularly here where the spoken language is nothing like the written one.
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Old 13.09.2017, 09:45
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

That too. But you have to start somewhere.

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There's a big difference between practical fluency and passing a C1 exam - particularly here where the spoken language is nothing like the written one.
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Old 13.09.2017, 09:48
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

I wouldn't put it as black/white as the other posters. The language skills are certainly a disadvantage, but the only thing you can do is begin to apply to open positions. If your CV is in English and your language skills are clearly and fairly stated, then the companies have all the info they need to make the necessary decision.

The places to which you apply will make the selection, you don't need to make it for them. For them, it'll depend on the language skills they have locally, how desperate they are for someone with your skills and tons of other factors you don't know etc...

Remember, you only need one local company to hire you, you don't need ALL the local small companies in Switzerland to decide that they need employees who don't speak English.

Polish up your resume and start sending it out and then update us as to whether you found a job or not.
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Old 13.09.2017, 09:50
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

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There's a big difference between practical fluency and passing a C1 exam - particularly here where the spoken language is nothing like the written one.
Yeah but B1 is not even practical fluency Not even close.
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Old 13.09.2017, 10:16
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Re: Find IT job with no German skills?

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Yeah but B1 is not even practical fluency Not even close.
Yes I agree - but you kind of missed B2 in your argument

B2 plus regular usage is (IMO) fluent enough for normal use - you're not going to come across as a native, but you're not going to confuse or insult anyone in your emails.
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