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Old 12.03.2018, 16:08
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Offered an IT job in Zurich

The company I work is giving me the opportunity to move to Zurich. I should say that I'm a web developer 10+ years of experience (and also the title of a "lead developer").

I am offered a salary of around 120 000 CHF a year which I cannot determine if it is reasonable or not. I know that probably this is a decent salary but where I am from what I am currently earning is in the top range for my profession and I would not like to "downgrade" to average or even bellow average...

I am growing suspicious that for the IT field experienced people are earning way more than that - if my research is correct the range is somewhere betwen 150 and 200k for people with that kind of experience.

In the same time I don't have credible sources of information and I am unsure if the figure of 150 000 CHF is reasonable - I don't want to sound foolish or unreasonable when negotiating.

Any information on the subject is highly appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 12.03.2018, 16:12
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

Fresh graduates in IT (MSc/PhD) can get between 85 and 110k. With 10 years I wouln'd ask for less than 140-150k, especially for "lead" role. That would be absolutely reasonable.

If they are not ready to pay that much, try to negotiate benefits (transportation, lunch etc.).
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Old 12.03.2018, 16:18
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

No offense, but web development isn't exactly a rare skill. 120k for a permanent salary is ok. I know it's different in other countries, but in Switzerland does the experience not really add much more once you hit 5 years of experience in your field.
The guys making 150k are probably having a team lead (or found some cushy job in some of the insurances). 200k is either a contractor on a pretty good contract or the manager of a larger IT department.

Side note: Yes, some banks pay a lot for some niche IT jobs. It won't be long till some of them will come along to wave their willies and tell you that they'd not work for 120k. We also have some forum users who claim that everyone who programs could make millions in the US... but 120k fix for a job without line management responsibilities is in my eyes "senior" in Zurich.
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Old 12.03.2018, 16:34
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

None taken, I appreciate every bit of information!

At my current position I also do technical interviews, manage a small group of people and earn a top notch salary. I am realizing I won't be able to have the same responsibilities from day 1, given that I also barely speak German at the moment.

In the same time I'd not like to make as much as a 22 year old guy fresh out of colledge after spending around 13 years in the field!

Another thing is that I'd hate to move there and realize a lot of other companies are offering more - that would mean that I would eventually switch jobs soon after moving, which is not my goal..
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Old 12.03.2018, 19:17
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

Developer ceiling in banks in 130k, leads get 130k-150k. Ask if there's a bonus and how high it usually is, if you didn't have any where you are now but you'll get it at your new role then it's another thing to think about.

Of course you can't rely on bonuses but banks can pay from 0-40% bonus to (good) developers/leads.
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Old 12.03.2018, 19:26
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

120K seems reasonable to me. 150K seems a bit high, but it depends on sector. You can always ask.

Bear in mind that some people have higher salaries due to having been in the company for a long time. I know techy permanent employees with no staff on 180K+.
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Old 12.03.2018, 20:46
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

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120K seems reasonable to me. 150K seems a bit high, but it depends on sector. You can always ask.

Bear in mind that some people have higher salaries due to having been in the company for a long time. I know techy permanent employees with no staff on 180K+.
Yes second the point depending on sector and size. If you have years experience of large scale or critical systems that will difference. If you’ve been lead dev in a company of 500 then 120 is prob not too bad.
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Old 12.03.2018, 20:55
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

From what you've described about yourself, 120K is an "ok" offer, not low but not too high either.

200K is pretty unrealistic unless you're contracting/CTO/most important person in the company.
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Old 12.03.2018, 21:47
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

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From what you've described about yourself, 120K is an "ok" offer, not low but not too high either.

200K is pretty unrealistic unless you're contracting/CTO/most important person in the company.
I’d just temper that a bit. A 200k package, is base plus bonus is not that unusual for senior IT in a big company.
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Old 12.03.2018, 22:04
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

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None taken, I appreciate every bit of information!

At my current position I also do technical interviews, manage a small group of people and earn a top notch salary. I am realizing I won't be able to have the same responsibilities from day 1, given that I also barely speak German at the moment.

In the same time I'd not like to make as much as a 22 year old guy fresh out of colledge after spending around 13 years in the field!

Another thing is that I'd hate to move there and realize a lot of other companies are offering more - that would mean that I would eventually switch jobs soon after moving, which is not my goal..
With such attitude you most likely will be unhappy in Switzerland. First of all software developers salaries are not rocket higher than the salaries of other professions. Secondly, as has ben already written, you won't get rocket higher salary because you have + 10 years of experience.

Switzerland provides a good peaceful way of living. There are not such big income gaps amongst the society and thus people don't have such push for career as elsewhere. So if you need to really stand out above the society, not just have a good life, you would be frustrated here.
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Old 13.03.2018, 03:10
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

Thanks everyone for the comments! Each one is much appreciated!

I just want to clear out that this thread is to get a realistic idea about IT salaries in Zurich area for senior/lead level developer on a position related to web technologies.

It's not a question about having an urge to stand out above society - please excuse me if the salary ranges I've mentioned sound unrealistic - that's exactly the reason I've started this thread.

At this point there are some contradicting comments, but I get it that an yearly pay of ~150 000 frank is probably something I won't be able to count on from day one - if I get it right a gross salary of 130K CHF is a solid starting point and quite decent pay and I should probably accept an offer in this range... Still some of the comments contradict that and I'd hate to find out later that there's a number of other companies willing to pay more for someone fitting my profile - judge if you like but in such cases I usually switch jobs and in this instance I really want to stay in the same company.

Nonetheless all comments so far have been helpful!
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Old 13.03.2018, 07:51
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

Once you are in, pay rises are, on the whole, lackluster.
In the past 10 years, .5 to 1% per year, in usual circumstances, so don't expect that 120k to shoot up without more responsibilities.
Ask about bonuses and overtime pay, training, career development etc.

Why do they want you to move here?
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Old 13.03.2018, 08:33
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

Some good advice here so far, which I mostly agree to.

Obviously we don't exactly know about your skills, but overall my impression is that I'd ask for 130k, and try to negotiate for something higher than 120k (with that itself being the lowest you'd accept)

120k already is a very good income, and you'll have a very good life with that, able to put aside a lot, etc. - obviously, more is always better, thus don't sell yourself too cheap. But asking for anything above 130k might mean they'd immediately not want to talk to you anymore (in my experience, if you ask for "too much", it will take any potential company completely off, and put you into the "nope" basket)

One thing, apart from some food subsidizing for lunch (most offer cheaper meals or lunch checks, a few companies completely free lunch) there isn't much in terms of other benefits at Swiss companies, at least below higher management.

5 weeks of holidays (instead of mandatory 4 weeks) is also something you should be checking for. Or if overtime can be compensated, etc.

Generally, I'd never make money my #1 priority when choosing a job.
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Old 13.03.2018, 10:11
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

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At this point there are some contradicting comments, but I get it that an yearly pay of ~150 000 frank is probably something I won't be able to count on from day one - if I get it right a gross salary of 130K CHF is a solid starting point and quite decent pay
130K it's not just "decent" or "starting point", it's above the average, I'd say in the 75th percentile for seniors, 90th percentile for IT jobs.
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Old 13.03.2018, 21:10
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

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Still some of the comments contradict that and I'd hate to find out later that there's a number of other companies willing to pay more for someone fitting my profile - judge if you like but in such cases I usually switch jobs and in this instance I really want to stay in the same company.
Really? You are over-complicating things It's much better and pragmatic to think of a salary package for which you are willing to change the job, come here and be happy. That's the starting point. Next you may try find out if the particular company you are negotiating with might pay more and try to go up if you are sure it's doable. Once you move to Switzerland try to look for another job just to sleep well if money is your priority in life
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Old 13.03.2018, 21:38
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

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Really? You are over-complicating things It's much better and pragmatic to think of a salary package for which you are willing to change the job, come here and be happy. That's the starting point. Next you may try find out if the particular company you are negotiating with might pay more and try to go up if you are sure it's doable. Once you move to Switzerland try to look for another job just to sleep well if money is your priority in life
Happiness is most peoples priority in life and while excess money may not br Ig excess happiness, a lack of money brings unhappiness. So although it might not be a PC thing to say, the amount of money is very important in a job offer.
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Old 14.03.2018, 20:37
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

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Happiness is most peoples priority in life and while excess money may not br Ig excess happiness, a lack of money brings unhappiness. So although it might not be a PC thing to say, the amount of money is very important in a job offer.
Sure it is! I meant that if the OP want to take the job than knowing what others pay does not help much. Each company has its own salary guidelines. Of course the OP may try to push the company in question to increase the offer but that may close the door straight away even if the OP's demand would be reasonable for the market. Then having an offer from company A does not mean that other companies around are also willing to draw an offer for the same candidate. Putting it all together my advise is to think of the salary which is fair enough to consider the offer and not regret the move. Once in the new job "ladder" of course it make sense to check if your life could be even better by looking around.
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Old 15.03.2018, 17:52
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

The more money you ask for, the higher the risk you will be laid off come the next downturn. IT jobs are especially vulnerable to outsourcing. I have been in management during a downturn and we literally sorted employees on an Excel sheet according to salary. The CEO then crossed off the top ones without giving it a second thought.
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Old 15.03.2018, 18:54
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

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The more money you ask for, the higher the risk you will be laid off come the next downturn. IT jobs are especially vulnerable to outsourcing. I have been in management during a downturn and we literally sorted employees on an Excel sheet according to salary. The CEO then crossed off the top ones without giving it a second thought.
It is really a pity when outsourcing is done like this. Many higher Salary resources are worth 2,3 or even more lower paid resources and outsourcing that is led by accounting and not strategy and vision has a definite higher chance of failure.
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Old 16.03.2018, 09:43
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Re: Offered an IT job in Zurich

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The more money you ask for, the higher the risk you will be laid off come the next downturn. IT jobs are especially vulnerable to outsourcing. I have been in management during a downturn and we literally sorted employees on an Excel sheet according to salary. The CEO then crossed off the top ones without giving it a second thought.
I assume the CEO was on the top of that list? Although, many times it seems like this is the way it is done. Or by title.
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