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Old 05.08.2021, 21:06
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Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

I'm looking at an executive role in Switzerland and have been asked what my salary expectations are. A permanent relocation to Switzerland would be required as this is not an expat role. Currently I'm on a basic salary in the UK of £145k per annum with executive benefits like share options, private medical insurance, bonus, car allowance and pension contributions. What should I be asking for in Switzerland? I've done some research and am thinking around 300k is that about right?
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Old 05.08.2021, 21:10
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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I'm looking at an executive role in Switzerland and have been asked what my salary expectations are. A permanent relocation to Switzerland would be required as this is not an expat role. Currently I'm on a basic salary in the UK of £145k per annum with executive benefits like share options, private medical insurance, bonus, car allowance and pension contributions. What should I be asking for in Switzerland? I've done some research and am thinking around 300k is that about right?
It's about right, but top level salaries are lower in CH, so I doubt you will get it.
A check out girl earns over 50k here probably 3 times the UK salary.
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Old 05.08.2021, 21:33
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

Although... assuming you are UK with a UK passport, then the company has to first prove they cannot hire a) a Swiss or b) an EU person who can do your role, in order to get you a B permit.

On that basis, you could argue you are quite specialised... and possibly can demand the top end of the range for that role.

This may or may not affect the relevant company's desire to go to bat for you with the Migrationsamt, of course... just sayin'.


Kind regards




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Old 06.08.2021, 16:39
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

You are going to be in for a huge surprise ! I know someone on 135K GBP base plus 10% bonus and the usual 4% pension contribution in London who was offerred ....175K CHF as a base in a big swiss bank!

The argument was that the take home pay would be equal because taxes in switzerland far lower and they could find others from germany etc who would gladly accept - This was for a niche role in fact and managerial level but it made me wonder how a 135K GBP (which is good in london) translates to an ordinary salary in zurich!

Finally prices in zurich for most things are reasonable and similar to london - Food / rent are very similar maybe a little more.
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Old 06.08.2021, 17:23
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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You are going to be in for a huge surprise ! I know someone on 135K GBP base plus 10% bonus and the usual 4% pension contribution in London who was offerred ....175K CHF as a base in a big swiss bank!

The argument was that the take home pay would be equal because taxes in switzerland far lower and they could find others from germany etc who would gladly accept - This was for a niche role in fact and managerial level but it made me wonder how a 135K GBP (which is good in london) translates to an ordinary salary in zurich!

Finally prices in zurich for most things are reasonable and similar to london - Food / rent are very similar maybe a little more.
So 175k base is an ordinary salary in Zurich?
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Old 06.08.2021, 17:28
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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So 175k base is an ordinary salary in Zurich?
I guess very ordinary for an executive role, and p1ss poor if the OP has a basic of £145k in UK
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Old 06.08.2021, 17:56
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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You are going to be in for a huge surprise ! I know someone on 135K GBP base plus 10% bonus and the usual 4% pension contribution in London who was offerred ....175K CHF as a base in a big swiss bank!

The argument was that the take home pay would be equal because taxes in switzerland far lower and they could find others from germany etc who would gladly accept - This was for a niche role in fact and managerial level but it made me wonder how a 135K GBP (which is good in london) translates to an ordinary salary in zurich!

Finally prices in zurich for most things are reasonable and similar to london - Food / rent are very similar maybe a little more.
I'd politely disagree.

Food is at least double...

I'm paying slightly more for a two bedroom flat in the middle of rural Aargau than I paid for a 4 bed semi detached house in London. (ok admittedly the 4 bedroom house was in Orpington... but still)

That said, at high salary levels tax is more important than the cost of everyday living

Last edited by HickvonFrick; 06.08.2021 at 18:09.
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Old 06.08.2021, 18:10
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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I'm paying slightly more for a two bedroom flat in the middle of rural Aargau than I paid for a 4 bed semi detached house in London. (ok admittedly the 4 bedroom house was in Orpington... but still)
Orpington was is in Kent last time I went there, a long way from what I would call London. (Highgate was Middlesex rather than London when I first lived there, urban sprawl has gone a long way since)
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Old 06.08.2021, 18:22
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

There is also a huge difference between executive pay in a small or medium sized company and larger corporations. The info provided here is very thin, understandably in a small market segment.

At 300k levels it looks weird to me to argue with cost of living or simply convert a salary from one country to the other. At that level one should know what market rates are for a given position. We have some VP positions where total comp is probably 300-350, and this is not yet executive level. This is a large listed company. I also have an acquaintance who is on the executive committe of a listed Swiss company with 800m revenue who has around 450k base.
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Old 06.08.2021, 19:29
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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I'd politely disagree.

Food is at least double...

I'm paying slightly more for a two bedroom flat in the middle of rural Aargau than I paid for a 4 bed semi detached house in London. (ok admittedly the 4 bedroom house was in Orpington... but still)

That said, at high salary levels tax is more important than the cost of everyday living
I looked at Twickenham (Middlesex FMF) where I last lived in London and I‘d far rather live in what we bought here than what the same amount of money would buy there and the mortgage rates are lower too.
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Old 06.08.2021, 17:13
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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I'm looking at an executive role in Switzerland and have been asked what my salary expectations are. A permanent relocation to Switzerland would be required as this is not an expat role. Currently I'm on a basic salary in the UK of £145k per annum with executive benefits like share options, private medical insurance, bonus, car allowance and pension contributions. What should I be asking for in Switzerland? I've done some research and am thinking around 300k is that about right?
Depends on the company and the sector very much. And what you mean by executive. I'm puzzled your asking. The starting point of your negotiation is going to be what your current package is worth - hasn't someone as senior as you learned some negotiation skills.?

300,000CHF = £235,000.
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Old 06.08.2021, 17:55
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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I'm looking at an executive role in Switzerland and have been asked what my salary expectations are. A permanent relocation to Switzerland would be required as this is not an expat role. Currently I'm on a basic salary in the UK of £145k per annum with executive benefits like share options, private medical insurance, bonus, car allowance and pension contributions. What should I be asking for in Switzerland? I've done some research and am thinking around 300k is that about right?
I got just under twice my GBP salary in CHF, as did my wife - so I'd say perhaps more like 260-280K than 300K - but it depends on your industry. 300K is probably the figure to push for.
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Old 06.08.2021, 19:33
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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I got just under twice my GBP salary in CHF, as did my wife - so I'd say perhaps more like 260-280K than 300K - but it depends on your industry. 300K is probably the figure to push for.
I got more than twice my salary and my first bonus was over 3x in London. That works at the more Junior end of the scale for professionals, but pay generally rises much faster and goes higher in London as you get more senior, certainly in banking. As you say though, if you are savvy, the income tax differential starts making a big difference, not to mention no capital gains tax etc
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Old 06.08.2021, 19:38
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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I got more than twice my salary and my first bonus was over 3x in London. That works at the more Junior end of the scale for professionals, but pay generally rises much faster and goes higher in London as you get more senior, certainly in banking. As you say though, if you are savvy, the income tax differential starts making a big difference, not to mention no capital gains tax etc
Yes but you came ages ago judging by your join date when the exchange rate was very different.
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Old 06.08.2021, 19:57
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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Yes but you came ages ago judging by your join date when the exchange rate was very different.
The FX rate has moved, but the salaries for those roles haven’t moved materially. Maybe 10% higher in London and flat to slightly down in Switzerland. So it would still be nearly a doubling, but you would feel much richer moving now than I did.
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Old 06.08.2021, 21:03
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

Basically for the same lifestyle you need to double your UK salary, if it is a promotion then more.
At those levels the Swiss tax is not much lower than UK taking account of health insurance which is really a UK tax
Over half million then Swiss rates are lower.
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Old 07.08.2021, 09:11
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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I'm looking at an executive role in Switzerland and have been asked what my salary expectations are. A permanent relocation to Switzerland would be required as this is not an expat role. Currently I'm on a basic salary in the UK of £145k per annum with executive benefits like share options, private medical insurance, bonus, car allowance and pension contributions. What should I be asking for in Switzerland? I've done some research and am thinking around 300k is that about right?
145k GBP is 185k CHF.

225-300k would be a likely offer in Switzerland depending on industry/age/experience/bonus. And FYI an expat still means someone who lives permanently here as it just means someone who lives outside of their native country.
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Old 07.08.2021, 10:32
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

I got a 20% bump coming here. Would I swap for old salary in London? No way!

The real cost of living here is not as high as it first seems. Yes your grocery bill will at least double, but how much is that of your total budget?

Lots of discussions about rent above. My impression is it’s roughly equivalent to London range. Buying property is a different matter. You may well never be able to afford that.

Bear in mind on your salary it will make sense to life somewhere low tax. Also bear in mind that not only do you pay less tax here, you also pay fewer. No CGT for example. And you can write a huge amount off against tax.
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Old 07.08.2021, 10:56
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

Re B permits, can anyone confirm whether Brits arriving post 1 Jan can no longer reside outside canton of employment? I somehow don’t think salary would make a difference if so.

To the OP, that means you‘d have to live in Zurich canton. No great hardship, but still worth noting.
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Old 07.08.2021, 15:57
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Re: Salary comparison UK to Switzerland

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Re B permits, can anyone confirm whether Brits arriving post 1 Jan can no longer reside outside canton of employment? I somehow don’t think salary would make a difference if so.

To the OP, that means you‘d have to live in Zurich canton. No great hardship, but still worth noting.
In principle, as third-country nationals, British new arrivals are subject to the same rules as any other third-country national and would normally be expected to live in the same canton as where they work. There are exceptions you hear of among TCNs - I imagine usually if one spouse works in one canton and the other in another - but I would think *especially* on the figures being bandied about here, the canton granting the permit would not want to let go of those taxes, even if another canton would be quite happy to welcome them.
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