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Old 23.09.2020, 12:31
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Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

Hi IT Contractors,

I have a question for you . I hope you can help me. I was searching forum but found only outdated threads.

Here is the situation: I am also a contractor with ten years of experience working as a Java/Scala software engineer, developing microservices for banking sector.
I am thinking about moving to Zurich for a year or two.

All job offers I can find have "market rates" in the description so I am wondering what current "market rates" are for Zurich area? 100CHF, 150CHF, 200CHF (or maybe higher) per hour? I don't want to overshoot when negotiate.

Second question is about type of cooperation. Each country have some differences in that area.
As I researched, in Switzerland, an umbrella company would be the easiest/best choise for foreigner (EU), am I right? Setting up some kind of LTD might be tricky. What is your opinion/experience? Are there actually huge tax benefits with LTD schema in Switzerland?
What are your experiences with umbrella companies? Can you recommend or warn from cooperating with some specyfic agencies?

Looking forward for your answers.
Thanks,
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Old 25.09.2020, 11:37
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

1000 chf a day seems to be the number I have seen

I have no idea what that means after employer and employee tax

If you took a perm job expect 160K plus 15% bonus plus pillar 2 pension
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Old 26.09.2020, 01:15
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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1000 chf a day seems to be the number I have seen

I have no idea what that means after employer and employee tax

If you took a perm job expect 160K plus 15% bonus plus pillar 2 pension
Hahahha...ohhhh...ah yes, hahahhaha!

160k is the new 120k I guess, should have realised it's Friday before reading this.
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Old 26.09.2020, 11:54
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

& 5-7% bonus...750-800 CHF per day is the new term unless the person is dealing with latest technology.
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Old 26.09.2020, 12:09
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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1000 chf a day seems to be the number I have seen

I have no idea what that means after employer and employee tax

If you took a perm job expect 160K plus 15% bonus plus pillar 2 pension

Lol, that's quite optimistic (and I do hire / manage software devs )
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Old 26.09.2020, 13:05
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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Hi IT Contractors,

I have a question for you . I hope you can help me. I was searching forum but found only outdated threads.

Here is the situation: I am also a contractor with ten years of experience working as a Java/Scala software engineer, developing microservices for banking sector.
I am thinking about moving to Zurich for a year or two.

All job offers I can find have "market rates" in the description so I am wondering what current "market rates" are for Zurich area? 100CHF, 150CHF, 200CHF (or maybe higher) per hour? I don't want to overshoot when negotiate.

Second question is about type of cooperation. Each country have some differences in that area.
As I researched, in Switzerland, an umbrella company would be the easiest/best choise for foreigner (EU), am I right? Setting up some kind of LTD might be tricky. What is your opinion/experience? Are there actually huge tax benefits with LTD schema in Switzerland?
What are your experiences with umbrella companies? Can you recommend or warn from cooperating with some specyfic agencies?


Looking forward for your answers.
Thanks,
I'm sorry nobody has actually answered your second question. Might not be the best choice for CH, considering the level of taxation is already quite low compared to other countries.
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Old 26.09.2020, 15:24
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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Lol, that's quite optimistic (and I do hire / manage software devs )
I have hired extensively for fx tech Java developers. Mid aged 35 years is around 160k and last years bonus numbers which I handed out were between 10-20%.

I am talking actual numbers in Zurich in banks

Specifically a vp who I mentored was earning 150 plus 8.4 tax free expenses plus 20 bonus. And he was not that happy. That’s pretty much what I have written
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Old 26.09.2020, 22:03
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

VP, at least where I work, is a serious management position, backed by vast range and depth of skills. Could be ie smaller team line manager, or the most senior member of some dev team. Must be very good at handling pressure and politics, long term, semi-constantly. Develops way more in MS Office products than actual code, never-ending series of meetings etc.

That's not the skillset OP has, where I work he would get max AVP and adequate compensation.

Maybe other banks are more generous with IT titles, but 10 years chopping code as external at some bank is a senior code monkey in my view. Good for some type of work, but managerial skills aren't typical experience for contractors. Banks don't hire for potential, but proven track record.
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Old 26.09.2020, 22:17
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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VP, at least where I work, is a serious management position, backed by vast range and depth of skills. Could be ie smaller team line manager, or the most senior member of some dev team. Must be very good at handling pressure and politics, long term, semi-constantly. Develops way more in MS Office products than actual code, never-ending series of meetings etc.

That's not the skillset OP has, where I work he would get max AVP and adequate compensation.

Maybe other banks are more generous with IT titles, but 10 years chopping code as external at some bank is a senior code monkey in my view. Good for some type of work, but managerial skills aren't typical experience for contractors. Banks don't hire for potential, but proven track record.
In ubs or CS every other person is a vp. Serious decision making happens at md level and even then group md level. When risk limits and trading limits are set are even higher often and board level

An avp is a few years out of university
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Old 26.09.2020, 22:46
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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VP, at least where I work, is a serious management position, backed by vast range and depth of skills. Could be ie smaller team line manager, or the most senior member of some dev team. Must be very good at handling pressure and politics, long term, semi-constantly. Develops way more in MS Office products than actual code, never-ending series of meetings etc.

That's not the skillset OP has, where I work he would get max AVP and adequate compensation.

Maybe other banks are more generous with IT titles, but 10 years chopping code as external at some bank is a senior code monkey in my view. Good for some type of work, but managerial skills aren't typical experience for contractors. Banks don't hire for potential, but proven track record.
This is very debatle. I have seen program managers that i would never hire to build my flats.

Basically they just compile reports and report to senior management.
Some jobs require negotiation, persuasion, vision and faith. I have seen team leads building their own company and growing from 1 to 500 employees.

A VP that works for 20 years in a bank tells me nothing. He just did his job, nothing else.
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Old 26.09.2020, 23:06
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

And meanwhile they're too cheap to give me interest...

Such a high salaries... and software is simple... at least compared to analog hardware.
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Old 27.09.2020, 00:40
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

Most expat contractors work through a payroll company which the client pays a fee to, so similar to an umbrella except the client pays.

If you get the job through a recruitment company then they'll act as the payroll company and take a larger fee.


Tax saving schemes don't really exist anymore - if you work like an employee you're taxed like an employee (and insured like an employee)


"Market rate" probably means don't expect anything exceptional, although even low rates can seem exceptional when you compare them to home rates. As with anything the market rate can go up or down and these last years they seem to only be going down but part of a good skillset is to be able to negotiate. Some places will pretty much pay a standard rate regardless of the worker's experience. Other places one person can be getting double what they pay someone else. You have to be able to sell yourself.


For a perm job on 160k you probably would have to be something a bit special. These days if your payroll company is getting 1000 a day after client fees then that's considered good. I've known some naive people on 600 but that's considered low and I don't know anyone on less than that.
Also, if the company is a euro-zone company then the market rate can be considered in euros and then converted to Francs, so with a strong Franc that makes the rates relatively low from a Swiss perspective.
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Old 27.09.2020, 12:35
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

Thank you all for your responses. I found what I was looking for.

About VP, I agree with @LondonPM and @Superfast. Based on my experience with Banks, job title means nothing. If you search ActiveDirectory, 90% of perm employees have VP title . And like in no any other sector I was working for, emplees can work for a single company for decades, gaining next hierarhy levels without any skillset improvements. Most likely being just a "proxy" managers as @LondonPM said.
Contractors, on the other hand, works with simple title: "External", "Expert" or "Non Employee" and fill any hole they want to/are able to/was hired for. They can act from simple monkey coder to team leader or architect. Of course rate depends on skills.

@greenmount, @Landers thanks for confirmation. I had the same feeling when I was searching for tax saving schemas in Switzerland. It looks like being taxed as an emploee isn't that big punishemnt, like in any other EU countires.
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Old 27.09.2020, 12:40
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

Since Scala is somewhat niche market I think you are in a better position to negotiate. But even then I doubt you will get significantly higher daily rate than 800-900 CHF all inclusive pre-tax.

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I have hired extensively for fx tech Java developers. Mid aged 35 years is around 160k and last years bonus numbers which I handed out were between 10-20%.

I am talking actual numbers in Zurich in banks

Specifically a vp who I mentored was earning 150 plus 8.4 tax free expenses plus 20 bonus. And he was not that happy. That’s pretty much what I have written
Would like to know what are these banks. Definitely not CS and UBS.
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Old 27.09.2020, 13:16
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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Since Scala is somewhat niche market I think you are in a better position to negotiate. But even then I doubt you will get significantly higher daily rate than 800-900 CHF all inclusive pre-tax.



Would like to know what are these banks. Definitely not CS and UBS.
I can tell you it is definitely for UBS/CS. And the figures were 2019 numbers - This years bonus is anyones guess - People expecting half of last years bonus
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Old 27.09.2020, 13:32
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

@OP
In response to this question:

«As I researched, in Switzerland, an umbrella company would be the easiest/best choise for foreigner (EU), am I right?»

I may be wrong but I believe that all contractors have got to belong to a consulting company now, or create their own company in Switzerland, to be able to work.
There used to be independent contractors but that changed about 10 years ago?

@others please say if this is incorrect? Thanks
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Old 27.09.2020, 13:37
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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I can tell you it is definitely for UBS/CS. And the figures were 2019 numbers - This years bonus is anyones guess - People expecting half of last years bonus
You are expecting to be fired & getting unemployment pay, you can forget your 2019 no's 2021 will be 30-50% less.
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Old 27.09.2020, 14:15
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@OP
In response to this question:

«As I researched, in Switzerland, an umbrella company would be the easiest/best choise for foreigner (EU), am I right?»

I may be wrong but I believe that all contractors have got to belong to a consulting company now, or create their own company in Switzerland, to be able to work.
There used to be independent contractors but that changed about 10 years ago?

@others please say if this is incorrect? Thanks
Don't know when it changed but nowadays to work as a contract for LMN in Switzerland you have to do it via consulting agency. And on top of that I know that CS for example work only with a rather limit set of 'preferred' agencies.

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I can tell you it is definitely for UBS/CS. And the figures were 2019 numbers - This years bonus is anyones guess - People expecting half of last years bonus
Interesting. I wonder what skillset puts them in 160k league instead of 120-130k mere mortals league?

Last edited by roegner; 27.09.2020 at 18:29. Reason: Merging consecutive posts
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Old 27.09.2020, 18:05
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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I can tell you it is definitely for UBS/CS. And the figures were 2019 numbers - This years bonus is anyones guess - People expecting half of last years bonus
Could it be that you were working with the “business side”? Besides the fact that UBS and CS have a different corporate title system... is the key difference that pretty much everyone on the business side is a VP, but certainly not in the IT department. I know for a fact that the entire IT Organisation of one of the two had exactly one MD, the boss, for all of APAC.

I can say for a fact that the banks below the big two have a target rate of 800 a day for an experienced developer. 110-120 perm...
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Old 27.09.2020, 19:46
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Re: Software Engineer contract - current market rates - Zurich

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Could it be that you were working with the “business side”? Besides the fact that UBS and CS have a different corporate title system... is the key difference that pretty much everyone on the business side is a VP, but certainly not in the IT department. I know for a fact that the entire IT Organisation of one of the two had exactly one MD, the boss, for all of APAC.

I can say for a fact that the banks below the big two have a target rate of 800 a day for an experienced developer. 110-120 perm...
I can only say what I have seen and I review the salaries and bonus allocation. From across a team of 30 there are about 10vps. The salary range is min 140 and the highest on the list is 165. Then you have the 8.4K and as I said bonus which for some was 15k and for the high earner 40k. Most got 25ish.

These are actual numbers in 2019

The average age of these 10vps is 30-37 and it’s a pure tech role. Indeed they had no knowledge of finance when I interviewed them but wanted to learn. People are from Russia Portugal Romania and Spain and of course Uk

I also have contacts in ubs and I regularly speak about hiring and the war for talent. Actually it turns out that of anything we need to pay more to attract people who would go to google and amazon. So there you have the facts
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