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Old 17.11.2020, 17:44
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I have a C-permit in Switzerland but I've been working in Ticino in the last 10 years.
Now I need to move to the german speaking area for personal reasons. Thinking of Zurich/Zug/Bern/Basel area but I'm flexible.

I've seen many many IT jobs offers in English, but I don't know if my expectations are real.
In the last two months, I've been through 3-4 deep interviews and sent maybe 100 cv.
But still nothing.
Don't understand if my expectations are real:
- it seems some recruiters need to fill numbers
- maybe there is also a quota for age (I'm 50 y.o)
- some recruiters just told me "forget it"
- covid situation is slowing things down?
- maybe I need some special skills or recruitment process is very very selective?

Just looking for some feedback in order to understand if I'm on a mission impossible.

PS. I' don't speak german

Last edited by roegner; 17.11.2020 at 18:02. Reason: Merging consecutive posts
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Old 17.11.2020, 19:44
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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I have a C-permit in Switzerland but I've been working in Ticino in the last 10 years.
Now I need to move to the german speaking area for personal reasons. Thinking of Zurich/Zug/Bern/Basel area but I'm flexible.

I've seen many many IT jobs offers in English, but I don't know if my expectations are real.
In the last two months, I've been through 3-4 deep interviews and sent maybe 100 cv.
But still nothing.
Don't understand if my expectations are real:
- it seems some recruiters need to fill numbers
- maybe there is also a quota for age (I'm 50 y.o)
- some recruiters just told me "forget it"
- covid situation is slowing things down?
- maybe I need some special skills or recruitment process is very very selective?

Just looking for some feedback in order to understand if I'm on a mission impossible.

PS. I' don't speak german
  • Things are definitely slower than normally.
  • Why do you even mention your age in your CV?
  • May I ask - what is your tech stack? If you work with enterprise related technologies then landing a job generally should not be a problem.
  • There's tons of people in Zurich who do not speak any German and are working in IT for large multinationals.
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Old 17.11.2020, 19:50
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

As noted, depends very much on your skillset and experience.

The market is pretty slow now, people are coming to the end of their 2020 budget plus coronavirus.

German gives more options generally, but jobs with just English are common.

What was the feedback from your interviews? If they were "deep" you should have got a feel for where you were weaker or needed to modify your answers.
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Old 17.11.2020, 19:53
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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  • Things are definitely slower than normally.
  • Why do you even mention your age in your CV?
  • May I ask - what is your tech stack? If you work with enterprise related technologies then landing a job generally should not be a problem.
  • There's tons of people in Zurich who do not speak any German and are working in IT for large multinationals.
Depends where you look... things are MUCH faster than normal for me. Hired ~10 people in the last month, mostly contractors due to the trouble finding resources.

Some from outside CH as I couldn't find enough people here, most didn't speak a word of German...
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Old 17.11.2020, 21:19
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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Depends where you look... things are MUCH faster than normal for me. Hired ~10 people in the last month, mostly contractors due to the trouble finding resources.

Some from outside CH as I couldn't find enough people here, most didn't speak a word of German...
It's going faster on the hiring side because there aren't so many roles open and therefore more candidates per role.

Hiring and seeking tend to have an inverse relationship w.r.t speed and ease.
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Old 17.11.2020, 22:25
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  • Things are definitely slower than normally.
  • Why do you even mention your age in your CV?
  • May I ask - what is your tech stack? If you work with enterprise related technologies then landing a job generally should not be a problem.
  • There's tons of people in Zurich who do not speak any German and are working in IT for large multinationals.
In linkedin I see 50-100 English speaking mid-senior level IT-related jobs in Zurich per week. I can't say if it's slow or not.
I don't mention usually my age, but the year of my Master's degree says it all.

My tech world is more web applications than enterprises, so typically Java, Javascript, MySQL. And it's more wide and general than deep. I'm looking indeed for a role more on the Lead or Technical management side.

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Depends where you look... things are MUCH faster than normal for me. Hired ~10 people in the last month, mostly contractors due to the trouble finding resources.

Some from outside CH as I couldn't find enough people here, most didn't speak a word of German...
I wouldn't mind contract jobs, it's a good way to start and staying idle.
Is it in the finance sector?

**not** staying idle

Last edited by roegner; 17.11.2020 at 22:43. Reason: Merging consecutive posts
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Old 18.11.2020, 08:39
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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It's going faster on the hiring side because there aren't so many roles open and therefore more candidates per role.

Hiring and seeking tend to have an inverse relationship w.r.t speed and ease.
We have 3-5 roles in my team open since a year or so... every time we fill one, we reopen it...

I’m not saying it’s easier to hire now, I’m just saying that we are hiring more people now due to the massive increase in demand.

(I work in cyber security - for pharma... the number of successful attacks lately is pretty impressive... a few more ransomware attacks than normal as well, both in and out of pharma don’t help, as the effort to recover in those cases is pretty impressive).

My impression is that contractor rates right now are also higher than usual, but maybe that’s just my impression.
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Old 18.11.2020, 09:35
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

try to get directly in contact with an agency, such as Hays. They might be able to find you a job as contractor.
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  #9  
Old 18.11.2020, 09:58
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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I'm looking indeed for a role more on the Lead or Technical management side.
We have an opening in Glattbrugg for team-lead in a matrix organization (so need to manage both technical and non-technical people) without many technical responsibilities. PM me if you are interested.
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Old 18.11.2020, 22:22
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

OH is 60 and in a senior software development job in Basel, he came as a contractor when he was 54 and was offered a perm job with his organisation at 57. Everything in his team is predominantly done in English, he's taken German classes to A2/ part of B1 standard but doesn't use it.
He came here via an agency called Nicoll Curtin in Zurich.
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Old 18.11.2020, 22:39
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

There are companies that still hire, OP. My OH's company still does. Hang in there. And no, German is usually not a "must".
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Old 18.11.2020, 23:33
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

I'm I even in the same country as the rest of you guys?
I'm having a lot of trouble to get interviews for a mid-level backend dev position in Zürich. I don't speak German tho so that could be it...
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Old 19.11.2020, 01:07
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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I'm I even in the same country as the rest of you guys?
I'm having a lot of trouble to get interviews for a mid-level backend dev position in Zürich. I don't speak German tho so that could be it...
On a thread in April you said you had offers to move to Zurich. Did something change?
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Old 19.11.2020, 08:05
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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  • Why do you even mention your age in your CV?

Isn´t this obligatory in CH?
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Old 19.11.2020, 15:59
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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On a thread in April you said you had offers to move to Zurich. Did something change?
That's what I'm trying to figure out.
I couldn't complete my contract signing in April as the immigration office closed when I was about to do it, and the company went with other candidate.

Then I stopped applying until it opened again in mid June and since then I haven't had much luck getting to the technical interviews.

There is a lot of recruiters/headhunters that I've talked with but as expected nothing really comes from them as most of them make up positions that don't exist or try to make you think that you can fit in a company when there is virtually no chance. I apply only to final companies now.
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Old 19.11.2020, 16:33
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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That's what I'm trying to figure out.
I couldn't complete my contract signing in April as the immigration office closed when I was about to do it, and the company went with other candidate.

Then I stopped applying until it opened again in mid June and since then I haven't had much luck getting to the technical interviews.

There is a lot of recruiters/headhunters that I've talked with but as expected nothing really comes from them as most of them make up positions that don't exist or try to make you think that you can fit in a company when there is virtually no chance. I apply only to final companies now.
It is really unlucky. I hope something comes along your way soon but if it is any consolation, I think from June to now is not that long a time to find a job in Switzerland, especially considering the summer holidays and now the end of the year approaching.

As to your earlier comment asking if you live in a different country to the posters claiming there are lots of positions out there, I tend to believe your situation is more reflective of average jobseeker's experience. There might be some companies who are doing well but I bet there are many more which are taking things slowly and waiting to see how the economy does in the wake of the Corona crisis.

People posting here are understandably coming up with anecdotal evidence but just because some people who arrived here in 2005 and are probably still working in the same job or have a network of people who can help them find a new position say there are many jobs where you don't need to speak the local lingo, does not mean it is the case in general. When I was last looking for a job 3 years ago, 3 quarters of interviews I had were in German.

Last but not least, I completely agree with you as to the uselessness of recruiters. I haven't met a single recruiter here who came to me with an actual position. I don't waste my time with them anymore.
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Old 19.11.2020, 19:07
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

What do you mean by recruiters? Do you mwean direct recruiters or agencies?

I have found agencies quite good in the past and recently had a direct recruiter from UBS offering 700 a day which was way too low
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Old 26.11.2020, 18:50
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

Avoid UK recruitment agencies at all costs...I'd rather be unemployed than get a job through them.
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Old 26.11.2020, 20:57
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

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Depends where you look... things are MUCH faster than normal for me. Hired ~10 people in the last month, mostly contractors due to the trouble finding resources.

Some from outside CH as I couldn't find enough people here, most didn't speak a word of German...
Than I would guess you work for AWS or Google ...as Microsoft didn't hire that many this month
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Old 27.11.2020, 01:18
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Re: Reality check: find an IT job in Zurich/Basel without speaking german?

I used to work for a large company in Basel (Basle) where English was the official language. A large proportion were from a neighbouring country and many barely spoke any English let alone German. So yes, you can get a job in IT without German but it's tough for everyone right now. Many of my friends are retraining.
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