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Old 08.09.2020, 00:30
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Applying for work in Switzerland in future

Dear all,
I have just registered on the forum but I would love to be a part of your community and learn a lot about life in Switzerland, which I hope will become my home in a year and a half.

I am a non-EU resident but I will obtain a EU passport in 2022, which will greatly facilitate my job search in Switzerland, I can imagine!

I am currently polishing my German level.
I speak Serbian, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Latin but my German level is around A1, I wish to raise the bar at least to B1 in another year and a half.

I hold two PhD diplomas in English Literature and in Latin American Literature.

As to my work experience: so far, in the past 10 years, I have been working in language academies teaching English and preparing students for Cambridge certificates, FCE, CAE and CPE (levels B2, C1 and C2).

I am also working as an assistant professor at University, teaching English Literature.

So basically my goals in the next 18 months are:

1. Get the EU passport
2. Obtain the B1 certificate of German language knowledge instead of an A2 that I have now.
3. Look for work in Zurich

So the questions I had were these:

—Do I need a specific B1 language certificate from a specific institution?

—Should I look for work online, aka, months before actually coming to live in Zurich? Or it is okay to look for work once I arrive?

—Do you believe it is realistic that once I hold the EU passport, I can find a job in Zurich related to English language teaching even if I am not a native English Speaker?

—Should I perhaps try to seek out a position at Zurich University similar to the position at University I am holding now?

Or should I aim for different kind of work, non teaching related?

I know am asking so much in advance but I have a feeling that 18 months is not that long at all, especially because of the language barrier.

So I would just love to know what should I focus on.
Has anyone had any similar experiences?

What would you do? ☺️

Best regards
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Old 08.09.2020, 11:37
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

Evelyn,

From a number of threads written in the last few years the consensus seems to be that the market for English teachers is pretty much saturated. Hopefully some of the EFers who teach - or used to teach - will be along to comment.

Be aware that English is taught in the public schools, hence the drop in demand for private teaching.

All the best with your plans.
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Old 08.09.2020, 14:17
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Evelyn,

From a number of threads written in the last few years the consensus seems to be that the market for English teachers is pretty much saturated. Hopefully some of the EFers who teach - or used to teach - will be along to comment.

Be aware that English is taught in the public schools, hence the drop in demand for private teaching.

All the best with your plans.
Thank you so much for your speedy answer! It was important to me to learn what kind of jobs are sought after in Switzerland beforehand to see what to focus on!

I am wondering about the Spanish teaching now since I speak both languages equally well; at the same time, I might ask my tutor at university whether it might be prudent to seek a similar university position, akin to the one I am at now in Spain, because of the two doctorates...
If I cannot make it in those two types of jobs I am uncertain what I should study for or should I pre-qualify... Prior to my arrival in 2022.

All the advice is welcome 💜 since I am not familiar with the Swiss market demands and how I can best match them to suit my skills...
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Old 08.09.2020, 15:20
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

Any job in IT is sought after here in Switzerland (IT consultant, software developer, systems engineer, database manager, business analyst, cybersecurity specialist).

There is no demand for language teachers. Even the most successful private language schools struggle to meet their minimum enrollment, and their instructors often teach at multiple schools to make ends meet.
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Old 08.09.2020, 16:38
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Any job in IT is sought after here in Switzerland (IT consultant, software developer, systems engineer, database manager, business analyst, cybersecurity specialist).

There is no demand for language teachers. Even the most successful private language schools struggle to meet their minimum enrollment, and their instructors often teach at multiple schools to make ends meet.
Thank you so much for your speedy reply <3
This is what I had been thinking about to and thought I would ask.

I am quite tech savvy and dabble in C+ and Java but I hold no official degree since my career kind of went opposite way towards Literature and Humanities xD

Would it be possible for me to finish a one year or a two year course in one of those IT branches? Or the job posts are exclusively for those with university degrees?
If course is a yes, which branch is the easiest to dominate quickly, aka which path would you recommend?

Also, would a B1 German degree suffice in such a job post?
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Old 08.09.2020, 16:57
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

Evelyn, what is the motivation to come to Zurich at all costs? Is it family driven (i.e. significant other is moving to Zurich or already lives in Zurich)? Hiring managers and HR factor this in when deciding on offers as your ‘story’ needs to make as much sense as your profile and background matching the requirements for the job.
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Old 08.09.2020, 23:05
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Evelyn, what is the motivation to come to Zurich at all costs? Is it family driven (i.e. significant other is moving to Zurich or already lives in Zurich)? Hiring managers and HR factor this in when deciding on offers as your ‘story’ needs to make as much sense as your profile and background matching the requirements for the job.
As to motivation, it is mostly due to the fact that it is probably the city with most job opportunities; at the same time, many of my friends live and work in Zurich. But no, it is not connected to a significant other. I can see how that might be a downside...
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Old 08.09.2020, 23:58
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

Be sure to manage your expectations about life in Zürich specifically, and in Switzerland generally.
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Old 09.09.2020, 00:14
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Be sure to manage your expectations about life in Zürich specifically, and in Switzerland generally.
Are you referring to the employment expectations or to general life expectation such as socialization or similar? I will have to pop on the other forum parts to read about those
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Old 09.09.2020, 00:39
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Would it be possible for me to finish a one year or a two year course in one of those IT branches? Or the job posts are exclusively for those with university degrees?
While there are still opportunities for those highly skilled or in niche areas, be aware that all is not so rosy in some corners of the IT industry.

For instance, at some MNCs (where the working language tends to be English) IT has now become a race to the bottom. All the work that can be outsourced to less expensive labor markets has been - and the next skill tier will be gone soon. Switching into IT now means you could end up competing for jobs at a level that would be prime outsourcing targets.

Perhaps think a different way:

What if, in your home country, your current teaching jobs disappeared. How would you parlay your skills and qualifications into something different? What areas in your home markets would be reasonable to explore? Those same areas are the ones you should look at here.

---

Good luck with your plans, I hope you find what you are looking for. But do keep one thing in mind: All that glisters is not gold.

Last edited by meloncollie; 12.09.2020 at 14:31.
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Old 09.09.2020, 15:19
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Whilethere are still opportunities, be aware that all is not so rosy in some corners of the IT industry.

For instance, at some MNCs (where the working language tends to be English) IT has now become a race to the bottom. All the work that can be outsourced to less expensive labor markets has been - and the next skill tier will be gone soon. Switching into IT now means you could end up competing for jobs at a level that would be prime outsourcing targets.

Perhaps think a different way:

What if, in your home country, your current teaching jobs disappeared. How would you parlay your skills and qualifications into something different? What areas in your home markets would be reasonable to explore? Those same areas are the ones you should look at here.

---

Good luck with your plans, I hope you find what you are looking for. But do keep one thing in mind: All that glisters is not gold.
Thank you for that warning <3 Perhaps it would be useful to hone my software development skills anyway if nothing, but to have both teaching and IT skills at the ready. My mentor has mentioned that some of the Swiss universities offer Postdoctoral programs with scholarships, too, since I hold a PhD already.

I might have to scout the forum to see about the necessary diplomas that would prove my software development skills and, the difference between L and B permit xD (I always get confused about those)
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Old 09.09.2020, 17:13
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Are you referring to the employment expectations or to general life expectation such as socialization or similar? I will have to pop on the other forum parts to read about those

Both; life in Switzerland, for most people at least, is not without downsides and challenges.
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Old 09.09.2020, 17:31
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

Based on your profile, I guess your chances will be higher with Natural Language Processing (NLP) positions. Read the requirements of some of those positions here https://nlppeople.com/ and see if this applies to you. Good luck.
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Old 11.09.2020, 11:47
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Based on your profile, I guess your chances will be higher with Natural Language Processing (NLP) positions. Read the requirements of some of those positions here https://nlppeople.com/ and see if this applies to you. Good luck.
Thank you so much for the link!
Do you think it is better if I wait for a year and half and obtain a EU country (Spanish) passport and apply then, or I should start looking for work in Switzerland even now, and waiting for a non-EU work permit?
I assume that kind of permit is a lot harder to achieve?
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Old 12.09.2020, 12:36
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Thank you so much for your speedy reply <3
This is what I had been thinking about to and thought I would ask.

I am quite tech savvy and dabble in C+ and Java but I hold no official degree since my career kind of went opposite way towards Literature and Humanities xD

Would it be possible for me to finish a one year or a two year course in one of those IT branches? Or the job posts are exclusively for those with university degrees?
If course is a yes, which branch is the easiest to dominate quickly, aka which path would you recommend?

Also, would a B1 German degree suffice in such a job post?
The Indian companies like Wipro have the market sewn up for English IT jobs, with the big banks.

Most other IT jobs want ~C1 German or above so you can talk, real-time in business meetings, to your colleagues.

So I’d probably avoid haviing your eggs in that basket.

And it’s C++, btw
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Old 12.09.2020, 17:10
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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Thank you so much for the link!
Do you think it is better if I wait for a year and half and obtain a EU country (Spanish) passport and apply then, or I should start looking for work in Switzerland even now, and waiting for a non-EU work permit?
I assume that kind of permit is a lot harder to achieve?
Surely coming to Switzerland before gaining your Spanish passport would invalidate your claim for a Spanish passport? Seems daft!
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Old 12.09.2020, 20:33
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

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1. Get the EU passport
2. Obtain the B1 certificate of German language knowledge instead of an A2 that I have now.
3. Look for work in Zurich
Evelyn, as far as I know you need a C1 certificate in German if you want to teach English/any other language here. (I'm referring to the German speaking cantons)

Btw, you can also look for translator/interpreter jobs.

First you should get your Spanish passport if you qualify for one, no reason to lose this possibility since you're talking here only about dreams/plans. And EU will not expand any time soon... Grab this chance if you can. Now. Lots of other people from different places have done it - they got an EU passport and then moved to CH. Good luck.

Last edited by greenmount; 12.09.2020 at 20:54.
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Old 12.09.2020, 22:44
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

Welcome to the Forum, and well done for wanting to think things through, well in advance.

I agree with others, here: first wait for your EU passport before trying to come to Switzerland.

While you're yet undecided, and researching your options, and waiting for your EU passport, the single most useful thing you could do, I believe, to improve your employability, would be to improve your Swiss language skills. Since you're aiming for Zürich: German. Get as much practice as you can.

Besides that, if you have time on your hands, in between your reading to guide your choices, improve other kinds of skills that would be useful/supportive in many kinds of work, such as:
  • touch-type fast and accurately,
  • command of Word,
  • skill in Excel, etc.
In Swiss work-places, it is appreciated when an employee is self-sufficint in such matters.
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Old 13.09.2020, 13:20
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The Indian companies like Wipro have the market sewn up for English IT jobs, with the big banks.

Most other IT jobs want ~C1 German or above so you can talk, real-time in business meetings, to your colleagues.

So I’d probably avoid haviing your eggs in that basket.

And it’s C++, btw
Thank you for the name of the company!
I am doing a course in Java, since I might be coming to Switzerland in 2022 (in 12 months) so, trying to learn something a priori!

I know! It was a typo xD (I am super prone to those)

I might try to brush up my German as well while I am there!

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Surely coming to Switzerland before gaining your Spanish passport would invalidate your claim for a Spanish passport? Seems daft!
I got a Spanish work permit in 2012 and I can apply for the passport in 2022, only in 12 months!

I thought that it might not matter whether I will hold a Spanish passport or not if I wish to live in CH already, or can get an L/B work permit without it (I am not mad about the Spanish nationality, it is more like a necessity, so I thought, I could get a Swiss passport later on).

But you are right, why not grab the Spanish nationality when there is only a little time left, and it will give me CH benefits I would not have otherwise.

I kind of posted "prematurely" since I still have a year before coming xD

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Evelyn, as far as I know you need a C1 certificate in German if you want to teach English/any other language here. (I'm referring to the German speaking cantons)

Btw, you can also look for translator/interpreter jobs.

First you should get your Spanish passport if you qualify for one, no reason to lose this possibility since you're talking here only about dreams/plans. And EU will not expand any time soon... Grab this chance if you can. Now. Lots of other people from different places have done it - they got an EU passport and then moved to CH. Good luck.
Thank you so much for that information! I did not know this! I am only at A2 level now, sadly.

I am now understanding that EU passport is the best option to count with, and to get it prior to arrival!

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Welcome to the Forum, and well done for wanting to think things through, well in advance.

I agree with others, here: first wait for your EU passport before trying to come to Switzerland.

While you're yet undecided, and researching your options, and waiting for your EU passport, the single most useful thing you could do, I believe, to improve your employability, would be to improve your Swiss language skills. Since you're aiming for Zürich: German. Get as much practice as you can.

Besides that, if you have time on your hands, in between your reading to guide your choices, improve other kinds of skills that would be useful/supportive in many kinds of work, such as:
  • touch-type fast and accurately,
  • command of Word,
  • skill in Excel, etc.
In Swiss work-places, it is appreciated when an employee is self-sufficint in such matters.
It is quite in advance, I must say! 12 months or more! But it is really my dream country and I am willing to work towards achieving that dream <3
I will learn German as fast as I can.

As to the skills you are mentioning I already have them <3

And another question: my mentor at Madrid university and my colleague has told me that there is a possibility of post-doctoral fellowship that I might get (since I already have 2 PhDs, to do a post-doc in Basel or Zurich.

Should I try that, (it would start in September 2021) or better to wait for Spanish passport?

Last edited by roegner; 13.09.2020 at 14:19. Reason: Merging posts, pls use multiquote button?
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Old 13.09.2020, 20:58
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Re: Applying for work in Switzerland in future

If you leave Spain, that will probably invalidate your option of getting Spanish citizenship, as your application would most likely be tied to your having resided in Spain for some time, and still being resident in Spain at the time of your application and the duration of processing it (but you should check how the Spanish laws work).

Having an EU citizenship opens the doors to Switzerland, and to the whole of the EU. Under the current laws, you would then be eligible to get a permit to live in Switzerland, completely automatically, as soon as you can demonstrate that you have found some job, any job of any kind, with which you can support yourself. Therefore, if your other citizenship is now non-EU, then I'd advise you to do what it takes to become an EU citizen, especially since you are already so close. Spend the interim time preparing: language, peripheral skills, soft skills and networking.

If, on the other hand, you get a post-doc position in Switzerland on your non-EU passport, you may very well finding yourself, at the end of that contract, having to leave Switzerland again. There are some exceptions*, but you defnitely cannot count on automatically being allowed to stay in Switzerland beyond your post-doc contract.

I think you need to think through what you will do, where you might want to (or be able to) go to start again if, when you finish your post-doc, you are still non-EU and you are then not given a further permit to remain in Switzerland.

* Before a non-EU candidate can be considered for a permit, any potential employer of a non-EU citizen has to prove that they could not find anyone already living in Switzerland, or a Swiss citizen returning home, or an EU citizen, to fulfil the post. Exceptions could be make for those whose skills are in a speciality niche, such as cutting edge scientists, and those who will bring a specific benefit to Switzerland, such as medical doctors.
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