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Old 13.06.2015, 14:33
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Potential job offer in Geneva


I may be offered a job in Geneva and am trying to get some perspective on whether or not a move there would be in my best interests. I currently live in London, am 30 years old and have a wife and 1 daughter (18 months). I work for a hedge fund and earned gross all-in comp (base & bonus) of roughly £185k last year. I hold dual Irish/Canadian citizenship and my wife is a Czech citizen. As I grew up in Canada I learned French but it's been over 15 years since I last used it.

My reasons for wanting to go to Switzerland are as follows: lower taxes; excellent state schools (don't exist in London); better quality of life for families; and I like the fact that Switzerland is outside of the EU and has a political system based on direct democracy. I also play ice hockey which is a big sport in Switzerland, unlike in the UK.

My main concerns are as follows: my wife works and from what I can see the Swiss system penalizes working mothers. Although the schools look great, I can't get my head around the kids coming home for lunch. I also worry that my wife, a trainee accountant at PwC, will struggle to find work as a non-French speaker in Geneva. Also, I have no interest in going to live in an ex-pat community, I want to be able to make local friends....I hear the Swiss are not that welcoming to newcomers...

A few other points: money is not that important to me and I would rather live a quiet life in a clean, safe and well run country with great public services (good state schools, clean hospitals, excellent public transport) than make big money in London but hate the city I live in.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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Old 13.06.2015, 15:32
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Re: Potential job offer in Geneva

Welcome to the forum Brian.

Like everything else it depends on what you want and what you may or may not be willing to compromise on.

Yes, taxes may be lower, but unless your wife stays at home to look after your child you'll find any child care here is very expensive until they reach school age - by which I mean age 6/7 when they start normal school, though they go into kindergarten for a couple of years from age 4, but I think it's only a couple of mornings a week, not full time.

In Geneva proper it may not be too difficult for your wife to find work, but again it will depend on her level of training/experience. Try these websites to see what may be available:

www.monster.co.uk (change the location setting to Switzerland - it can be done, but sometimes it's stubborn about offering you the choice)

Kids coming home from school can be a surprise, but remember that often parents come home for lunch too. More schools are beginning to change over to lunch at the school, but it'll really depend on where you're living as you won't have a choice in the same way as you do in the UK. Your child will go to the nearest school to where you're living unless you want to put her in an International school.

Geneva proper can be a nightmare traffic wise even with public transport so you might want to think about living outside of the city somewhere in canton Vaud or even across the border in France and commute from there.

Yes Switzerland does have a very direct democracy, but don't expect to take part in it. Foreigners are not allowed to vote here, except in a few cantons and only for things like electing your local commune (town) councillors. Even then you have to have lived in that particular canton/commune for 5 years and have a B permit before you could vote.


I suggest you get hold of a copy of "Living and Working in Switzerland" by David Hampshire. It's full of useful info for both before and after you move here. You can order it from your local bookshop and also via the Internet. Also have a read of the various sticky threads at the top of each section of the forum, they'll give you a lot of information too.

I'd also suggest that, if you haven't been to Switzerland before, you make a trip here to get a feel for the place and to see if you'd actually like it. Switzerland is a land of rules and regulations which may not suit you as much as you think.
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Old 13.06.2015, 16:16
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Re: Potential job offer in Geneva

Children in Geneva start normal full-time school at the age of 4; so any child that is four before the 31st of July this year goes to school 'proper' at the end of August.... NOT kindergarten or a crèche. Although I believe you can hold a child back from school for a year if you chose to.
Google 'ecole, primaire, geneve'.That should take you to the cantonal website for more info.
Most of the schools have lunchtime canteens, and there are after-school clubs, so children whose parents work are catered for.

Absolutely positive about this as my grand-daughter starts school this year and turns four next week!

As for your wife finding work as an accountant, she really needs french if she wants to work either for a firm that deals with the public or as an independent.... and get her qualifications recognized by the Chambre Fiduciere.
Something in banking might be an option though, lack of french would be less of a problem in that world perhaps?

There are plenty of areas to live on the outskirts of the city that are wonderful for families, and the public transport system is pretty efficient so you do not need to drive everywhere. Schools are mostly within walking distance (unless you chose to pay a fortune for a house way out in the countryside), as are shops.
Living in Vaud or France will just complicate your life, plus we need some new EF blood here in Geneva!
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Old 15.06.2015, 14:06
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Re: Potential job offer in Geneva

making friends in Geneva is really easy.
the tough city to crack is Zurich.
I don't think you will have any problems on that front, as the Geneva people are very warm, have a sense of humor and are rather intelligent...
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