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  #1  
Old 09.03.2007, 13:50
hicduk
 
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Specific information re: working in Zurich

Dear all,

Thank you for all the wisdom imparted so far. It's been of great help. I have seen examples where people have asked general questions (presumably out of fear of being caught by potential employers), but the most helpful replies have come when people have been at their most specific. So, I'll try to be upfront and honest, without mentioning companies or names!

I'm in my mid-20s, single and in a long-term relationship. My girlfriend and I have just bought our first house together in the north west of England (in January). We've invested 20k in bringing our first home up to scratch and we're targeting a moving-in date of mid-April. Imagine, my surprise then - when a few weeks ago I get a call from head office asking me to come and work in Zurich! It's a tremendous career opportunity for me, but I need to know whether I'm financially liquid enough to make the move.

I always knew that this was a possibility, but I didn't envisage it coming for another 12-18 months at least. I'm currently self employed, earning approximately 33k a year - and my girlfriend is on a similar amount in her full-time position.

The job that I have been offered is a step-up from what I am doing now. Given the expertise the job requires, I would expect to earn 42.5k (gross) if I were to do the job in England. I'm educated to degree standard and I have several years of experience at the top of my profession.

My living requirements in Zurich are also fairly specific. I'd like to live in a flat within ten minutes walk of the Hbf/City Centre - and within easy walking access to the tram system. I don't know, you may think I'm asking for the earth - but I know these things will make my life easier...although I don't want to be paying a higher rate of city tax!

I suppose, like many who introduce themselves on here, I need to be fully informed before I make this life-changing decision.

At present, I don't know whether my girlfriend would want to quit her job to come and live in Zurich with myself - and then again, we have the question of what we should do with our new home in England...But those are problems we need to work out for ourselves. And they can only really be answered once the money situation is sorted...

What I really need is your advice. Currently, my employers could offer me a salary (which I think is fantastic), but in reality isn't enough to meet my requirements.

I have to be in a position to potentially support myself and a girlfriend looking for work in Zurich - I suppose that we would want to come back to England for a weekend, approximately once a month, and life a good lifestyle while I'm out in Zurich...without worrying about money.

So, if you could give any indication what kind of salary I should be looking for - and also the areas where I should be looking for a flat, I would really appreciate it.

Plus, is there anything else I should bring up at my interview which could prove to be useful in the future?

Kindest regards and thanks...

Obe
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  #2  
Old 09.03.2007, 14:00
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

Hi Obe,

It's generally impossible to give you salary advice unless we know what kind of job it is you do. Educated with a degree, top of profession kind of means nothing unless put in the context of industry and position. There are many phds who earn a fraction of those with no degree...

Also - if you want to live in the city, then you'll pay the higher taxes in Zurich (which some people think are low anyway, depending on what you compare it to). But in general, if you want to be 10 minutes walk from the station, then just accept the taxes. If you earn a lot (again, you've given us no indication of what your Swiss salary offer was), then it can often pay NOT to live in the city, but this depends on your circumstances.

I'd probably see the biggest fly in the ointment here to be your girlfriend. Again, we have no idea what she does, but she may join the very long list of expat wives/ girlfriends who have been struggling to get a job since they first arrived. Won't be much fun for her unless she has a profession that is in demand and they don't mind that she doesn't speak German, or she enjoys a life of leisure.
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Old 09.03.2007, 14:11
hicduk
 
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your reply - and for your help.

To answer your queries...the salary offer has not been made yet, when it is, I will let the Forum know. However, I would like to have an inkling if I am being made a good/bad offer when it is first put to me.

As I mentioned, I'd expect around 42.5k to do this job in England. It would improve my standard of living - and be a fair salary for the job I do.
I work in the media. The job I am being offered is a senior editorial role (although not management).

My girlfriend is a catering manager, although she speaks no other language than English. Her degree is in Business Studies.

To be honest, living ten minutes walk from the city is not a neccessity. The job is based in Zurichberg, so anywhere with good links to tram line 6 would be good.

Thanks again for your response Mark. I appreciate it.

If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Obe.
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Old 09.03.2007, 14:26
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

Well I've no idea about that industry, but I'd say if that translated about to about CHF 100-110 then you might want to bring that up to 130-150k to compare (but again this is just a thumbsuck). On that salary you'll be able to support her and you won't starve. Rents are not unreasonable especially when compared to London or other parts of the UK. You'll have to pay your girlfriend's health insurance as well as your own which will probably be at least a few hundred francs per month for her.

I wouldn't rate her chances of finding a job easily to be honest, based on what you've just said.
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Old 09.03.2007, 14:37
hicduk
 
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

Mark - thank you again. At present CHF 150k would be doubling my salary - so I will have to keep my fingers crossed that the company are feeling generous.

I know at second hand the problems of a spouse trying to find work in Zurich. A colleague of mine's wife (German, who speaks fluent English) - and with more life and work experience than my better half has not been able to find employment in the past 12 months. It's something that we will have to consider.

As for the areas of Zurich (office is in Zurichberg) - and I would like to live somewhere near the line 6 route - so that work/city centre is easy to reach...could anyone recommend an area of Zurich for myself/girlfriend to live, which is not too expensive?

Cheers,

Obe.
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Old 09.03.2007, 14:38
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

Depends largely on what media. Pay won't be the same if you have a senior editorial role for 20 Minuten or the NZZ.

However another rule of thumb to pay attention to is that all finance-related jobs in Switzerland are outliers in terms both of salary and salary growth.

I don't know who your employer is but neither Ringier nor Edipresse are renowned for their ability to reach the bottom of their pockets.
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Old 09.03.2007, 17:10
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

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As for the areas of Zurich (office is in Zurichberg) - and I would like to live somewhere near the line 6 route - so that work/city centre is easy to reach...could anyone recommend an area of Zurich for myself/girlfriend to live, which is not too expensive?
Could anyone help me out here please?...
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Old 09.03.2007, 17:32
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

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Could anyone help me out here please?...
Yes, read this thread.
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Old 13.03.2007, 15:12
hicduk
 
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

Thanks again for that Mark.

I have been reliably informed by someone doing the same job as me that he is earning 105,000 CHF a year (13 payments) in the Lausanne/Geneva region.

However, he has told me that Zurich salaries are slightly better - so what do you think would be a good offer based on this information?

Is there a rule of thumb when comparing a ZH salary to the rest of the country?...
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Old 13.03.2007, 15:18
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

does Mr 105K work for the same company?

I'd say you'll get by with 105'000 - will you get a relocation package or are you being employed locally?

Your girlfriend will be able, with patience, to leverage her business qualification and work in one of the big financial establishments, no doubt. Adding another ton to your joint income would help, I'm sure.

Tax-wise - coming from the UK, Zurich is a dream. It's the progressive income tax heaven that the UK could never be. And then you move to somewhere "better" for tax

Budget 2000 for a 2-bed place about 15-20 minutes with the tram from the centre and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

www.homegate.ch and www.immoscout24.ch are good sites for finding apartments - also keep an eye out on here and through other expat sites and you might find a corker.
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Old 13.03.2007, 15:58
hicduk
 
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

Thanks for this reply...I really appreciate it.

I'm unsure of the relocation package - but I'm coming across next week for the interview, so I will find out more then and let you know...

Mr. 105,000 does not work for the same company - my company is bigger. Unfortunately, he's not very financially savvy, but he did say that I should expect a little more given the company and the fact that I'm working in Zurich.

I have read on this forum that ZH salaries are better than the rest of Switzerland, so I'm hoping to take them above 110k CHF. Do you think that's feasible?
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Old 13.03.2007, 17:26
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Re: Specific information re: working in Zurich

I know many families with children that have a good standard of living on less than 110k .As it will be just you and your girlfriend in a smaller apartment I would say you would live comfortably.
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