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Old 12.03.2020, 01:44
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Advice on a contract job

Hi guys,

I recently received a job offer for a contract business analyst position for an industrial company in Geneva. I am 25 years old and have around 1.5 years' experience in Zürich. The offer they gave is 100'000 CHF per year with 20 days paid holiday plus public holidays. The contract lasts 1 year and is split into two -- so after 6 months there would be a renewal. I could also work 1 day per week remotely.

I completed 4 rounds of tests/interviews and the headhunter told me it's complicated because the company wants to find someone who they could internalize in the end, and that's why they're taking this seriously and they would also provide trainings.

I have never done any contract job before and don't know much about it. Some headhunters reached out to me before but with daily rates.

I did some research and know that they don't pay sick days and there are many risks related to a contract job. I don't know if it's worth it to move there for this job. (I'm currently unemployed)

I like the job itself and what I would potentially be doing in this job. I think I could learn a lot from this position and it could be interesting. The thing that prevents me from making my decision is that I don't really speak French and don't like the city too much, and the risks related to a contract job and fair pay for a contract job.

I would just like to know if this offer is legit? Is the salary they pay me fair for my background? Could anyone please give me some advice on whether to move to Geneva for this job... That would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!!
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Old 12.03.2020, 08:56
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Re: Advice on a contract job

With your skills and age, it's not too bad an offer. It's not really a contract job - more like fixed term employment.

Ask them to do a payroll simulation, so you know exactly what your take home is, before making a decision. The deductions can be considerably higher than you'd expect as an employee.

You don't have to live in Geneva. Plenty of places you can live in where the commute is easy.
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Old 12.03.2020, 09:34
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Re: Advice on a contract job

Contracting jobs are becoming more and more normal these days. It is actually quite rare that they have already said that they would like to make it a permanent one in the future - a very good sign. I also think the pay for your age and experience is quite good.

Regarding the risk, every new venture is a risk. When I was laid off, I took a permanent role in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Everything seemed just perfect and we were all happy to make a move. On my one month anniversary in the company, they decided to sell it and I was out of a job. Everything is a risk. We have since recovered and I learned a valuable lesson in the process. At least you aren't moving across the continent and are staying in the same country.

Regarding not liking Geneva, are there perhaps other cities within a commutable distance that you do like? It is important to be happy where you live. This is the one thing you should consider the most. Otherwise, go on an adventure and best of luck to you! Congrats on the offer.
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Old 12.03.2020, 14:15
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Re: Advice on a contract job

Typical contracting:
- you get paid a day rate, better paid than permanent jobs
- you dont get training
- you dont get paid vacation
- you have a very short notice period
- no career path

Permanent position:
- fixed salary per year
- vacation, fringe benefits
- long term career prospects (allegedly)

A contractor is going after the money and knows his worth, a permanent employee believes he has a safer job (not true in my experience). Its a trade off between money and potential upsides for the future.

Your offer combines all the downsides of a perm job with all the downsides of a contractor... but none of the upsides. You are neither well paid on a day rate or get a super stable job.

The salary is ok, but just to be clear: the company employs you for six months only for what exactly? To see if you are "worth" a permanent contract? Thats bullshit. Contractors dont take on contracts because they dream of landing a perm role one day… they do so because they know what they are worth right now.
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Old 12.03.2020, 15:59
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Re: Advice on a contract job

It's like the Amazon warehouse jobs.
Yes you are an employee, but only for a fixed term, so they can let you go at the end of the term. The contract will have a clause to allow termination before that as well.
As long as you know you are not a contractor, not permanent, but a temporary worker, and you are happy with that situation, then why not go for it.
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Old 12.03.2020, 16:36
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Re: Advice on a contract job

My biggest worry would be working with French/French speaking people.
You'll be seen as a contractor by the client but an employee of the payroll company so should be entitled to usual minimum employee benefits.
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Old 12.03.2020, 17:24
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Re: Advice on a contract job

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My biggest worry would be working with French/French speaking people.
You'll be seen as a contractor by the client but an employee of the payroll company so should be entitled to usual minimum employee benefits.

Good point.
OP, will you be employed by the company itself or an agency?
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Old 12.03.2020, 20:43
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Re: Advice on a contract job

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Contractors dont take on contracts because they dream of landing a perm role one day…
Plenty do. Especially people who've lost their job and want to get back into the workplace. I think it's weird, but there you go.
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Old 13.03.2020, 00:26
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With your skills and age, it's not too bad an offer. It's not really a contract job - more like fixed term employment.

Ask them to do a payroll simulation, so you know exactly what your take home is, before making a decision. The deductions can be considerably higher than you'd expect as an employee.

You don't have to live in Geneva. Plenty of places you can live in where the commute is easy.
Thank you! I would do that!

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Contracting jobs are becoming more and more normal these days. It is actually quite rare that they have already said that they would like to make it a permanent one in the future - a very good sign. I also think the pay for your age and experience is quite good.

Regarding the risk, every new venture is a risk. When I was laid off, I took a permanent role in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Everything seemed just perfect and we were all happy to make a move. On my one month anniversary in the company, they decided to sell it and I was out of a job. Everything is a risk. We have since recovered and I learned a valuable lesson in the process. At least you aren't moving across the continent and are staying in the same country.

Regarding not liking Geneva, are there perhaps other cities within a commutable distance that you do like? It is important to be happy where you live. This is the one thing you should consider the most. Otherwise, go on an adventure and best of luck to you! Congrats on the offer.
Thanks for the answer! I'm not planning to stay in the French part forever because I'm more used to the life in German part and I learned German in the past 1 year or so. So one thing that's good for me is at the end of the contract I'm flexible to say no or be said no and can move back to the German part. And because of this is a contract my future employers won't have to question my motives for quitting after one year I guess.

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It's like the Amazon warehouse jobs.
Yes you are an employee, but only for a fixed term, so they can let you go at the end of the term. The contract will have a clause to allow termination before that as well.
As long as you know you are not a contractor, not permanent, but a temporary worker, and you are happy with that situation, then why not go for it.
Thanks! I would actually prefer a permanent position but yeah there are some good reasons for taking a contract job in Geneva because in the end I would need to move back to the German part.

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My biggest worry would be working with French/French speaking people.
You'll be seen as a contractor by the client but an employee of the payroll company so should be entitled to usual minimum employee benefits.
That's my concern too. I won't say I have prejudice against them but yeah based on my experience they do have a different way of doing things...

During the interview the HR told me though that except them nobody in the company would know that I'm on a temp contract. And in fact the strange things about the whole team is that all the new hires, according to other interviewers, started from a one year contract. So this is some sort of tradition for the team, which is I would say strange, but also somewhat comforting because I'm not the only one who's in this I guess?

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Good point.
OP, will you be employed by the company itself or an agency?
I would actually be employed by the agency and as I have been told they would be the one to give me a reference letter, which I don't feel very comfortable with...

I don't know the situation here in Switzerland, but when I was studying in the US usually contract jobs are for the classmates who were really desperate in landing a job... and the pay for contract jobs were usually not as good. So I always have this impression about contract job.

I'm not desperate at the moment actually, I have enough savings and can go to RAV if I don't have something ideal. But still... It's a hard choice because I think it's a good opportunity, with some potential risks...

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Plenty do. Especially people who've lost their job and want to get back into the workplace. I think it's weird, but there you go.
hmm what do you think is weird?

Last edited by 3Wishes; 13.03.2020 at 08:12. Reason: merging consecutive replies, multi-quote is the button to the right of quote
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Old 13.03.2020, 07:47
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Re: Advice on a contract job

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I would actually be employed by the agency
Sounds very similar to another 'case' we had here, take a look.


Please actually check the contract of employment very carefully.
That 4 weeks holiday could be an 8% deduction taken monthly from your salary just paid back to you to comply with the law. As it's unclear if you are a contractor, there could be other deductions (like they deduct the employers AHV contributions). Ask for a salary projection/wage slip.

Sounds like the actual company you will supply services to either are trying something new and want the option to can it at the end of a trial period, or are trying to save money/responsibilities by using an agency.
If you are ultimately happy with the salary and there is opportunity, this may be irrelevant to you.
Do note, many companies are not allowed to offer jobs/employ people from the agencies/consultancies supplying services. So there may be no way into the customer at the end of this.
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Old 13.03.2020, 07:55
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Re: Advice on a contract job

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hmm what do you think is weird?
Being a contractor and wanting to go permie. If that's what you want, then this isn't a bad route.

I'm a contractor. I've been offered by my clients several times to become permanent. I've always politely declined.

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Old 13.03.2020, 11:21
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Re: Advice on a contract job

In the UK the typical view is contracting is for highly skilled people who would be earning something like double the salary of their colleagues. It seems in France and Germany it's typically seen as lower-paid "temping". I remember all the pitiful looks I got in Germany when I told people I was a contractor and they''d say "oh well maybe they'll offer you a permanent position" - "no no you don't understand"
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Old 13.03.2020, 12:45
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Re: Advice on a contract job

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In the UK the typical view is contracting is for highly skilled people who would be earning something like double the salary of their colleagues.
Not in the UK anymore. IR35 is the client's responsibility from April 6th, so many clients are having blanket bans on ltd co. contractors. It's umbrella companies or PAYE, and no possible deduction for travel and subsistence costs. Someone on £500 a day will have a take home of around £275.
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