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Old 05.03.2021, 17:50
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HR career

Hi everyone!

I am a non EU Swiss resident with a C permit. After a long gap, I am looking for opportunities in HR/Admin. I have work experience outside of CH and an MBA in HR. However the job search is a torment, to say in least, and I have been advised to do the Personalassistent course to have a better chance.

I have a B2 in German. I wanted to know if its really required to do the course since its in German and also costly. Also, do career coaches really help with the job search?

Thank you for all leads. Happy weekend!
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Old 05.03.2021, 19:25
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Re: HR career

Sadly, I doubt that anyone would manage to be effective, in HR, in the German-speaking cantons, without a very good command of German. Even if you were to find work in a company with English as its main language, you would still very likely need to be able to deal with the authorities for a whole range of matters such a the employees' permits, taxes, social security matters, and also with companies providing the pension plans or accident insurance, in fact, with anything Swiss outside of the English-language company.

I think that the single most effective thing you could do to improve your employability would be to improve your German until you can speak fluently, and understand at least spoken High German (and possibly dialect), and can read and write complex texts, and fill in any number of forms. Add self-study in the Swiss ways of all the things you knew about HR before. I imagine you would have more success in applying once you could demonstrate that you knew all that, including something of how the AHV, IV, BU, NBU, EO, RAV, etc. work.

My hunch is that you've been advised to the do a course to become a Personalassistent at least, in part, because it will be hard work because of the language, and as such will help you upgrade your command of it. It would also teach you how things tick in Switzerland in this field. I know someone who studied law abroad, and upon arrival here took a course to become a legal secretary. By doing so, he gained a a really good command of the Swiss structures and vocabulary, so that he was then ready to go on to get a Swiss Masters and, later, become a lawyer.
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Old 05.03.2021, 19:54
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Re: HR career

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Sadly, I doubt that anyone would manage to be effective, in HR, in the German-speaking cantons, without a very good command of German.
I know many actually, working in the multinational companies. For HR Admin jobs, you would have no chance when not speaking German for the reasons mentioned by doropfiz. But if you are working in a more senior role like HR advisory or management role or as a recruiter, you definitely have a chance.
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Old 05.03.2021, 20:11
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Re: HR career

Good luck with the search.

HR generalist roles will be tough as they will nearly always require an understanding of Swiss employment law as dorpop mentions.

I would say it depends on your HR focus - could you coach, do more of a learning and development role, headhunt, teach at a business school, etc.?
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Old 06.03.2021, 06:50
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Re: HR career

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I know many actually, working in the multinational companies. For HR Admin jobs, you would have no chance when not speaking German for the reasons mentioned by doropfiz. But if you are working in a more senior role like HR advisory or management role or as a recruiter, you definitely have a chance.

Was the question about HR admin roles or HR and admin roles? For pure admin roles in global companies German is not required in most cases. I am speaking, of course, only from my experience in my company. We have many admins with zero German ability.


PS, I work in the pharmaceutical industry
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Old 06.03.2021, 09:37
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Re: HR career

I also work in a large pharma company. German isn't required for the HR BPs, but they're just being 'restructured' and many posts will go. HR Admin jobs, like most admin/info processing jobs (and some BPs) are being relocated to low cost countries.

Good luck but if I were you I'd consider outside of CH as well, if possible.
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Old 08.03.2021, 14:18
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Re: HR career

Thanks everyone for your input! Since my partner is employed here, moving to another country is not an option at the moment.

I guess CH has a weird way of complicating every small thing or maybe its just my experience. Will look into various options and see how it goes.

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Old 08.03.2021, 14:23
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Re: HR career

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Thanks everyone for your input! Since my partner is employed here, moving to another country is not an option at the moment.

I guess CH has a weird way of complicating every small thing or maybe its just my experience. Will look into various options and see how it goes.

Why would expecting you to know the local language and laws be considered complicated?
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Old 08.03.2021, 16:24
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Re: HR career

Learning the local knowledge is a given. That is why i got certified until B2 and just finished C1. But to not consider a foreign degree in its value seems rigid in my opinion. There are plenty that is learned on the job too.

My comment on ‘complications’ was meant on a general level.
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Old 08.03.2021, 16:25
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Re: HR career

* local language
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Old 08.03.2021, 16:32
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Re: HR career

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Learning the local knowledge is a given. That is why i got certified until B2 and just finished C1. But to not consider a foreign degree in its value seems rigid in my opinion. There are plenty that is learned on the job too.

My comment on ‘complications’ was meant on a general level.
I believe your foreign degree is most definitely applicable here ... only if you are a lawyer, doctor, dentist, veterinarian etc. would you need to look into getting additional certification here. Local knowledge is essential simply because local laws apply ... I am sure a company would be happy to teach you these things in an intro position - but fluent German would be needed since you will have to speak to local authorities. I am sure this would apply wherever you come from too.

I know several recruiters and most of them don't speak the local language...look into this as others have suggested. Good luck!
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Old 08.03.2021, 16:35
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Re: HR career

I agree. Thank you for the pointer. Enjoy your evening!
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