Posts Tagged ‘salary’

Why Switzerland?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

By Chantal Panozzo

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Last night I was walking to a movie theater in Zurich when I heard a group of three Americans talking loudly. Ok, loud wasn’t a surprise, but American English was. I’m always amazed how many languages I hear in Switzerland that aren’t even one of the four “official” ones. But when you’ve got a foreign population of around 20%, I guess it’s only natural to hear non-official tongues.

Sometimes I wonder why Switzerland has such a high percentage of foreigners and I’ve come up with the following conclusions:

-Good Pay. Compared to neighboring countries like France, Italy, and Germany, Swiss salaries are higher. Of course, the cost of living in Switzerland is also higher, but nevertheless, it pays to live in Switzerland.

-No Need for a Car. While public transportation is sufficient in most European cities, in Switzerland, it’s good enough even for villages. The Swiss transportation network covers the entire country, from the mountain restaurant in the middle of nowhere to the farm village twenty miles from the nearest city.

-Work/Life Balance. At least compared to the way people work in the United States, there is a much better work/life balance in Switzerland. Family time is respected and valued, and stores and businesses all close down on Sundays and for a week over Christmas.

-Accessibility of Nature. In the U.S., I had to drive to get to the closest hiking trail. But in Switzerland, there are hundreds of paths right outside my door. The Swiss know how to build cities around nature, and so the nearest outdoor adventure is always just a walk away.

-Many Neighbors. Switzerland is bordered by five countries: Italy, France, Germany, Austria, and Lichtenstein. All of these countries share an official language with Switzerland, making it easier for people speaking French, German, or Italian to work and live in Switzerland.

Why do you think there are so many foreigners in Switzerland?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer and blogger in Zurich, Switzerland. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland, and Writer Abroad. She also blogs for Affordable Calling Cards, a new expat community blog. This blog offers affordable calling cards in Switzerland as well as information about living abroad in Switzerland and in many other countries.

The Cost of Living for an Expat in Switzerland

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009


By Chantal Panozzo

When you first arrive in a new country, it can be stressful for many reasons: language, bureaucracy, finding your way around. But it can also be stressful because it’s hard to judge costs. Yes, things are typically more expensive in Switzerland, but how much so in relation to your salary? Will you be able to save? How will you budget?

The average Swiss salary is about CHF 68,000 (or about CHF 5,600 a month). Full-time salaries under CHF 35,000 are considered poverty level for a family of four. But if you’re a highly qualified professional like many expats in Switzerland, you can expect salaries to be double the national average, sometimes even more. Salaries also vary from canton to canton and industry to industry.

Below is a run-down of what you can expect things to cost: (all figures in CHF)

2-bedroom apartment: 2000-4000/month (depending on canton/location)

Additional apartment costs (Nebenkosten—like heating the building, etc): 5000/year

Parking spot at apartment: 180/month

Health insurance (you typically must buy this independent of an employer): 300/month (with a 2500 deductible)

Apartment insurance: 500/year

Loaf of Bread: 2

2-liters Milk: 2

10 eggs: 4

Bag of Chips: 5

Yearly Resident Permit costs: 100

Liter of Gas: 1.65

Yearly Train Pass (GA, second class): 3000

Full-price ticket for a 15-minute train ride: 10

High-speed Internet: 45/month

Phone line: 20/month

Cell phone: 25-50 cents a minute (pre-pay)

Lunch at restaurant: 20

Dinner at restaurant: 40

Beer at restaurant: 5

Water at restaurant: 6

Movie ticket: 18

Value-meal at McDonalds: 10

Starbucks drink (small): 7

Language lessons: (3 weeks, intensive) 750

Daycare: 2000-5000/month

Tuition at an international school: 30,000/year

Anyone else have anything to add about the cost of living in Switzerland?

For more on living in Switzerland, visit One Big Yodel, a blog about expat life in Switzerland.

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