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Old 16.05.2020, 09:26
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Work and live in Geneva

Hi all,

I work in Germany and considering a move to Geneva. I have above average salary and would expect the same in Switzerland considering I would relocate within the same company.

My husband and myself dont speak any French, only English and intermediate German. How difficult would be for him to find a job in Geneva without knowing the local language and without particular job skills that would stand out?

What would be the most optimal salary (before tax, bonus etc excluded) to live comfortably until both would have a job?

The move seems somehow risky... Thank you for any advice.
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Old 16.05.2020, 09:43
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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Hi all,

I work in Germany and considering a move to Geneva. I have above average salary and would expect the same in Switzerland considering I would relocate within the same company.

My husband and myself dont speak any French, only English and intermediate German. How difficult would be for him to find a job in Geneva without knowing the local language and without particular job skills that would stand out?

What would be the most optimal salary (before tax, bonus etc excluded) to live comfortably until both would have a job?

The move seems somehow risky... Thank you for any advice.
First of all: welcome to the forum.

Very difficult for your husband as there are loads of people with language skills, with job skills, with experience and degrees and certificates (unless he would consider McD and jobs like that?).

As to amounts; depends all on you and your wishes.
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Old 16.05.2020, 09:53
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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First of all: welcome to the forum.

Very difficult for your husband as there are loads of people with language skills, with job skills, with experience and degrees and certificates (unless he would consider McD and jobs like that?).

As to amounts; depends all on you and your wishes.
Thanks for your reply. Well, he does have University degree in Food Technology and few years of various work experiences, some more and other less related to his studies..The issue is only that they may not seem relevant for many big players in Geneva and around Geneva as the competiton is fierce.
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Old 16.05.2020, 10:22
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

You can survive in Geneva with only English. You couldn’t survive with only German. In theory every Swiss will have learned some German in School it simply isn’t heard, other than a smattering of Swiss German dialects. Many of the workers are French (frontaliers) and they wouldn’t have German skills.

Many organisations use English as the lingua franca, but anything at the retail, administrative or construction is going to require French. Portugais would be an asset here.

You hint that you are being transferred by your company which suggests your work language wouldn’t be an issue. But you partner is going to need at least conversational French to work just about anywhere.
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Old 16.05.2020, 11:12
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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In theory every Swiss will have learned some German in School.
In theory.

Reality is that my wife's German is even less than my Rumantsch, despite the fact that she is Swiss-German! I think that even my Spanish, which I studied 40 years ago and haven't spoken since, is better than her German.

Tom
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Old 16.05.2020, 11:28
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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You can survive in Geneva with only English. You couldn’t survive with only German. In theory every Swiss will have learned some German in School it simply isn’t heard, other than a smattering of Swiss German dialects. Many of the workers are French (frontaliers) and they wouldn’t have German skills.

Many organisations use English as the lingua franca, but anything at the retail, administrative or construction is going to require French. Portugais would be an asset here.

You hint that you are being transferred by your company which suggests your work language wouldn’t be an issue. But you partner is going to need at least conversational French to work just about anywhere.
Thanks! It looks like we will forget the idea of moving. I would say advantage of staying is knowing the language, secure jobs for both (even if my husband is currently on temporary contract) and cheaper health insurance.
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Old 16.05.2020, 11:31
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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First of all: welcome to the forum.

Very difficult for your husband as there are loads of people with language skills, with job skills, with experience and degrees and certificates (unless he would consider McD and jobs like that?).

As to amounts; depends all on you and your wishes.
Thanks for comment. My husband does have University degree in food technology and some years of work experience, some more and other less relevant for his field. However, probably not enough competitive to compete in getting a job with big players...
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Old 16.05.2020, 11:41
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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Thanks! It looks like we will forget the idea of moving. I would say advantage of staying is knowing the language, secure jobs for both (even if my husband is currently on temporary contract) and cheaper health insurance.
Have you changed your mind about moving to Switzerland in two hours, and 4 EF posts?
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Old 16.05.2020, 11:51
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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Have you changed your mind about moving to Switzerland in two hours, and 4 EF posts?
Nah, we have been discussing the topic with my husband for several days..pros, cons, calculating, browsing for info etc. Personally, would love to move to Geneva, but this is not only about me and my needs To admit, it is more comfortable staying in the "known", then moving to the "unknown"
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Old 16.05.2020, 12:08
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

Have a look at opportunities with UN organisations in Geneva. There English is required. WHO, UN HCR, WIPPO AND OTHERS might have opportunities for someone in food technology. Even the Red Cross could need help in that field.
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Old 16.05.2020, 12:16
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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To admit, it is more comfortable staying in the "known", then moving to the "unknown"
I moved to Geneva from the UK 9 years ago, leaving a secure, well paid, comfortable job. I spoke only English - my children argue that I still do..

My partner gave up her UK job and we relocated with our daughters.

Last year, my girls naturalised, and my son was born here.

I respect that everyone's journey is different. Mine has no regrets so far.
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Old 16.05.2020, 12:19
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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Have a look at opportunities with UN organisations in Geneva. There English is required. WHO, UN HCR, WIPPO AND OTHERS might have opportunities for someone in food technology. Even the Red Cross could need help in that field.
Firmenich, Givaudan, P&G, SGS, Nestle, any agricultural commodity traders to add some English speaking multinationals.
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Old 16.05.2020, 14:21
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

I presume your salary will be a lot higher in Geneva? A lot of it depends on what sector your husband works in and whether he'd be likely to find a job here.

My wife and I moved here knowing only English (and in her case Mandarin), so you wouldn't be the only ones starting with little in the way of local languages.
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Old 17.05.2020, 16:45
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

I can hear the Swiss saying why do you want to move here if you don’t speak the local language. Expect that kind of treatment if you decide to make the move. By no means will they make you feel welcome, especially in the German part.

Last edited by PeterSoliman; 17.05.2020 at 17:24.
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Old 17.05.2020, 16:46
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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I can hear the Swiss saying why do you want to move here if you don’t speak the local language. Expect Thai kind of treatment if you decide to make the move. By no means will they make you feel welcome in either the French and especially the German part.
Can´t speak for the French part, but was made very welcome in SH area, so not everywhere in the German part.

Wie man in den Wald hineinruft?
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Old 17.05.2020, 16:50
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

Most foreigners come for a few years and then leave because of this closed society.

Last edited by PeterSoliman; 17.05.2020 at 17:22.
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Old 17.05.2020, 16:54
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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Most foreigners come for a few years and then leave because of this closed and selfish society. Money is their God which is why everything is back to normal in Switzerland. Who would believe their no’s of COVID cases - surely not representative of the reality.
Really now? Your experience is probably not that of others.
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Old 17.05.2020, 16:55
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

Also don’t be tempted by the salary as there is absolutely no job security whatsoever, and you are not from there so you are very high risk.
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Old 17.05.2020, 16:59
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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Really now? Your experience is probably not that of others.
It’s all public. There are recent surveys from well established media organisations that put Switzerland at the bottom of the list globally, for expats because of the cultural aspects and difficulty to integrate.
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Old 17.05.2020, 17:54
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Re: Work and live in Geneva

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Firmenich, Givaudan, P&G, SGS, Nestle, any agricultural commodity traders to add some English speaking multinationals.



Nobody is looking at hiring right now, only firing meaning their will be a lit more people on the market, all eminently qualified and speaking French.

Nestle are firing and have been for last 12 months and quite likely to continue, Agri commodity traders are going thorough tough times, over supply is one of the main reasons, prices falling, less margin...


All the big noises in Geneva, Red Cross WHO, WTO, UN etc are not hiring and when they do, the bar is set very high, it is a total misconception they hire anybody, especially people who only speak English, they do not, they are very fussy employers, very difficult to get in these organsiations.
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