Then, this is what they (proudly) say about Switzerland:
1) "In Zurich, you can rent a whole flat (50+ square meters) for something between 2500-4000 CHF "
2) "In Switzerland a Software Developer can easily earn over 100,000 CHF (1 CHF is around 1 USD) "
So, that means that we can calculate your rent there to be between 30% to 48%.
But I guess, just because it is in Switzerland, it should not be outrageous?
Those are the good parts, however, not all things are good.
Everything else is very expensive. Going out to an average restaurant will cost 100 CHF for a dinner for 2.
There was a study saying a household with one kid will require 8k CHF a month if you plan to have a holiday and a car. You will have to pay for mandatory insurance etc.
Then again, 8k is not that much if both partners work.
Do not forget that the tax rate is very attractive and often there is a so called 13th salary at the end of the year, usually a full month salary. This is not based on KPI's this has been a tradition for a long time.
Also, 5 weeks of paid holidays, the US do not know that concept yet. If you add these two to your salary, the numbers suddenly look much better.
In summary, you can have a very good life and put money aside in Zurich if you commute to work by public transport(or small scooter), do not live in the most expensive apartment you can find and so long you do not eat out twice every day, you will be very well off.
Zurich is one of the most beautiful and entertaining cities in the world. The weather is horrible compared to California, but you'll have plenty of money and paid time off work to holiday in sunny and warm destinations.
The nearest being southern Switzerland, once you're through the alps, you are in a different climate zone. A 2 hours commute.
And let's not forget the social system. If you earn 10k CHF a month and lose your employment, you are entitled to collect something like 7k gross a month for 1.5 years while looking for the next job.
I hope this gives some perspective, that said, with such a salary, if it's possible to work remotely, I'd chose neither SV nor Zurich.
that said... if i could get a job paying 80% of what i make now, in either city. i would move back and take it in a heartbeat, considering it was something remotely interesting.
I hear this all the time in Vancouver - people blaming this squeeze on stagnant wages - as if the labour market could ever pay people enough to keep pace with supply-constrained, monopolistic markets. The rent is too damn high. And we know why, but ... somehow we just want to throw more money in the fire? You can pay people however much you want, but without addressing the market dysfunctions all of those higher wages will wind up in the hands of landlords and health insurance companies.
It is not. The value fire-fighters, teachers or nurses provide is much higher than, say, an enterprise developer, yet in most places the other earns more.
The same seems like it's true of teachers and nurses. They're seen as a cost centre to be reduced rather than a scarce resource to be fought over.
And it's not really fair to nurses to say "you only get a fair wage if you're putting in 60-80 hours". It's also not fair to their patients, as care quality drops pretty hard when you over work nurses and doctors.
If that was true businesses wouldn't show profit (or would show low profit margins consistently) because the value of the workers labour would have been been paid back to them.
Plus that whole thing about these billion/trillion dollar SV tech companies engaging in massive wage fixing.
You're paid the absolute minimum amount of money the company thinks they can get away with.
It should be but employee efficiency and revenue per employee has increased (in fact more than doubled on average in the last 20 years), but salary has roughly stayed the same.
So... A little bit cheaper apartment combined with a salary that is half or third (from what I read, I don't live there) of what you can get in Bay Area. WTF is this article trying to say?
Edit: And of course, not to even mention that living in $8000 apartment on $200 000 salary is much better than living in $4000 apartment on $100 000 salary.
But then again, I grew up in a family of five in a 45 square meter apartment.
More generally I've been wondering about this and can't figure it out, why are software engineer salaries in Europe are so much lower than the US? From what I can tell, Switzerland is just about the highest you'll see in Europe, and is still lower than the biggest US tech hubs. In other big metropolitan areas (Paris, London, etc.), the cost of living is at least a bit lower, but they're still major cities and not that cheap. And there salaries for engineers are even lower. As another concrete data point I was looking through the gitlab location adjustments for remote workers that they have released publicly, and the floor for anywhere in the US, meaning even the most inexpensive, remote parts in the country, is 63.3% of the baseline SF salary. Any mid-tier city will be higher than that, like 75% of the SF salaries. But Paris only pays 56.5% of the SF baseline. Why is that?
Because in the EU there are no visa restrictions for importing foreign workers like in the US.
EU companies can secure working visas to almost anyone outside the EU in a couple of months so instead of raising salaries to attract local talent they know it's a much better deal to pay a recruiter and wait to find an outsider desperate for a job or a sucker who doesn't know the market/living costs.
Do you think SV salaries would be as high as they are if the US would have unrestricted immigration and give working visas to anyone who fit the job description?
I find that (the negative reaction to them here on HN) hilarious when it comes to RSUs of a publicly traded company such as Google and Facebook. They are absolutely unequivocally every bit as real as your salaries. Maybe it's just that people outside SV don't really understand the difference between options and RSUs. Before I came to SV I had never even heard of RSUs.
So we must not throw away the skills factor, the ability of employees to build an extremely successful company, their motivations, their awareness of new business practices, although it is very difficult to measure it. Perhaps France is ahead (after all, a lot of Linux is European, along with DailyMotion and others), perhaps it is not (...after all, DailyMotion only got the second seat and is now dwarfed by Youtube).
My brother in law moved to Silicon Valley because he had a very low salary ceiling in Vienna.
UK salaries are a joke, but you can make good money contracting and consulting.
It's definitely a more complicated way of working than being salaried, but it's rewarding, both monetarily and in the ability to set your own vacation allowances, take big gaps between contracts if you want to/can afford to etc etc.
If you want decent pay in London you go contract, not perm, and head for the finance sector. You can make the equivalent of $150k-280k depending on how good you are at landing contracts and selling yourself.
AFAICT the situation is similar in western Europe (I get feelers out sometimes at lower but comparable rates for contract work in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Belgium).
Perm workers here are being ripped off IMHO, massively. But then the technical standard of the average perm worker at the average mid sized company in the UK is terrible too. It's a vicious feedback cycle of low pay, low respect for the profession and poor results. Perm work in mainland Europe is paid peanuts AFAICT, which is probably why so many find their way to London.
Some of this difference is down to costs and rights associated with work in the EU, which are just missing in the US. And part of the reason contracting is so lucrative is that we effectively opt-out of those.
If I were to take on this work through my Ltd company it would translate to a salary equivalent of around £101,000 or $130,000 US. What you actually get out of it probably depends on your exact tax situation I guess!
Most of the work in Austria that comes my way seems to be embedded systems or kernel work, though one or two are Java related.
Would you mind sharing some, maybe in private?
Plus, in the enterprise world it's very easy to find 40/hr wk (or in practice, sometimes less!) jobs.
Not all of them have the natural beauty of Switzerland, but if you want that, you can find that too.
My next move might be working for Amazon in Nashville after I put in a few good years at my current gig. That seems like it could be a nice place to live.
 I find the term OP to be ambivalent. Like is it the original poster of the whole thread or the original poster you are responding to?
However, my point is you don't have to choose between an expensive, top US tech hub and leaving the states entirely if you want a more chill, laid back, and less expensive lifestyle.
There are like 50 other cities in the US that offer all the amenities of a big city, with chill jobs and without the sky-high COL.
Oh, and your tax dollars don't support wars making the world a significantly worse place with all the rest of evil attached, if you care about such things.
I'm not trying to sound defensive here, but in a global world there has to be a superpower or two playing the role of a superpower. And if you like Western democratic ideals, it's a good thing that they're aligned with those.
The whole world is living in the relatively peaceful and prosperous structure of alliances that were established after WWII, and I personally wouldn't want to see those disappear. Maybe if you live in China, Russia, Brazil, or the Middle East, or you have a different value system than I do, you might disagree.
Edit add: On the other hand, at least when I was there, the wages weren't comparable to US wages for similar work and management attitudes about software developers tended to border on considering them glorified typists.
I just think it’s funny you are 1:1 comparing a country twice the size of, with the same population of New Jersey, with its single city over 250k... to the entirety of the United States.
My 15 YOE ass left Dallas three years ago partly because I couldn't break $100k there. Where are these jobs?
That said, I bought my house in 2008 for $175k.
I'd wager the typical city in Switzerland is much more liveable (i.e. not being trapped in a car as you commute to and from suburbs or just get around the horribly laid out car-centric city) than those places.
Living in the suburbs is a choice and certainly not the only option in most cities. If you want to live near a real downtown, it's still way, way, cheaper than living some globally-recognized urban center. Maybe not quite as cool, but way more laid back.
A pity, Vienna is a beautiful city and consistently ranks among the best places to live.
Is it the market-rate units that cost 40-50% of your salary?
$1/sq. ft. ($10.76/m²) is still the norm in Dallas, and it's not too hard to find cheaper. You would pay less money for a decent-size house in the suburbs of Dallas than the cheapest 1-bedroom apartment in SV or Zurich.
Also I abhor the politics of the state and region, in general.
Unless you want to live exactly in the center of Zurich, I have never seen such expensive apartments as mentioned in the article.
The article assumes that you would share the flat with others. Sharing with 2 others would mean effective rent is 800-1300 CHF.
A commute in California or New York or London can be a real drag.
I think your math is wrong. 4,000 CHF / 100,000 CHF = 4%
I would raise a few points it doesn't mention:
- Negatively, it is much harder to find meetups close to you that apply to you. Unless you're based in Zürich (the tech hub of the region), expect any meetups to be irregular and if you don't go to the next one, it might be the last one.
- Positively, I work from home. I have four providers I could get 1Gbps symmetrical, unmetered, business-class FTTH for less than 100,- CHF / month. It's hard to go wrong with that.
- Positively, the outdoor culture in much of the country really helps you get out of your chair and outdoors. The natural beauty doesn't hurt. :-)
Happy to answer any more questions if you have them—or I'm more than happy to connect if you're also in Switzerland!
I pay 79.99 USD a month for Verizon Fios 1 gbps in nyc. That is before a $200.00 credit. Fios is FTTH. That’s a good 20-25% discount to what you pay in Switzerland.
Plus I heard from several colleagues and friends who are people of color that they faced more racism in Switzerland (and a few European countries) than in the US. I know this is subjective and everyone’s experience is different. But you can’t ignore the fact that the CEO’s of two of the largest tech companies in the US are Indians. I don’t know of any large European companies that are being run by people of color. Maybe they are but I just don’t know.
Anecdotally, this is the reason most people struggle as expats in CH.
Not to say that racism doesn't exist in Switzerland but equally you don't see policemen shooting unarmed black people in their houses either.
I actually pay 60,- CHF, plus a bit extra for a static IP + IPv6. I was saying I have that option for four providers all under 100. :)
> Plus I heard from several colleagues and friends who are people of color that they faced more racism in Switzerland
I can't speak directly to this, since I am not a PoC. What I have observed is the racism that exists appears to be of a different type than is typical in the US. It is more an aversion to outsiders than against a particular class of people. But again, I can't really speak to it since I'm not in the position to be on the receiving end of it. (Everyone thinks I'm Swiss until I open my mouth.)
Money is not all, and I know plenty of white people too who could not handle the "arrogant Swiss people", that they had to leave the country.
You can't generalize, I agree, however when you hear more times the same complains from completely different people, you start to wonder if there is not a bit of truth in it, though. I didn't want to add negativity to the post, I just really dislike this sort of articles trying to convince people to do something they might regret.
Needless to say she's struggled to integrate and make friends and the country has forever tainted their experience for the worst.
i pay 49.99/mo for 10Gbps symmetric
Most European CEOs/presidents just aren't as well known as the US behemoths.
In my experience there is a lot of meetup in Lausanne and Geneva. However it is a different kind of tech hub mostly focus on deep tech, where Zurich/zug focus mostly on Fintech/Blockchain.
If you really want to move to Switzerland, be a taxpayer for 7 years in Germany, learn German, stay out of trouble and unemployment, and you can apply to be a German citizen. After that, moving to Switzerland is easy: show the authorities your job contract with a Swiss company, they're obliged to give you a residency permit (at least that's the arrangement they have with the EU at the moment)
If you don't have a familial connection, you need to find a job, and the company will need to prove they couldn't find a local Swiss resident/citizen that could have done the same job, so it's a bit harder to get in than Germany or other areas of the EU.
Edit: I'm on a multi-year residency visa. I'll need to renew once more before I'm eligible for citizenship (after ~5 years).
So some cantons might only require a basic understanding while others grill you like this. It'll be a few years before I discover how it is in St. Gallen. :)
2. How popular is English language is in Switzerland IT companies?
Long story short: it's super easy if you are from the EU. If not, it is quite hard.
We managed to hire Americans (and Russians, Chinese, Indians, ...) all right at my previous job. Not every employer is willing or able though, so it definitely limits your options.
2. It is mixed. I've had local interviews in (high) German but they were comfortable enough to switch to English if needed. Most jobs list proficiency in English + German as a requirement.
Everybody speaks English; I know a number of people in Zürich who never bothered to learn German, as there is a large expat community and everything is multi-lingual.
I think Zürich is just a typical large city exception (similar to Berlin or Amsterdam). I think German (or French or Italian) is pretty necessary outside of Zürich/Geneva.
As for language, I took an intensive French class at the University of Geneva when I worked there. At the end of the class everyone in it, students from all over the world, spoke better English. We studied French but socialized in English.
I know someone who was born there, raised there, currently lives there (after a while in North America) and does not having citizenship or want to go through the hassle.
From what she says it's a massive pain in the ass.
"From what she says it's a massive pain in the ass."
This statement is true, but geting citizenship is not required to stay in Switzerland basicly vor ever as long as u have work
Would love to grab a coffee sometime if you're keen - your website in your profile doesn't resolve - does the email work?
Yes the email works: hello <at> lukeseelenbinder <dot> com. Let's definitely meet up! I'm in St. Gallen, so not far at all.
Edit: I'm an idiot, that's a job site. Some of the question still stands, how was the process of finding a job out of the country and getting a visa?
The best route you have into a job here as an American (or other non-schengen area resident) is to find a company already doing business here, get hired, and then transfer here.
But once here... it is very nice
The few interviews I've had have been through friends knowing friends, but there's a good number of job sites dedicated to Switzerland.
Getting a visa as a third-country citizen (i.e., not EU or CH) is difficult and you need to find the right company that's willing to jump through the hoops for you. Definitely doable if your skillset is right, but it's going to be unique for each situation. A more viable option may be by using an EU country as a springboard (get EU residency, which, in my understanding, can improve your chances of getting a visa in CH).
That said, in our case, working for Banks, you do still connect to the 'old school' Swiss buissness who are a little less English driven then the Tech sector. That has caused some issues for us, but not all that significant.
The police l, if you have to interact with them, might treat you more roughly if you don’t speak the local language.
Outside of major, cosmopolitan cities (pretty much Zürich and Geneva), I'd say there is an expectation to speak the local language. Anything official I've done has been in German.
I'm very much an exception to the norm. I would have looked at Germany first if I were unmarried.
1. Definitely don't move to Switzerland. Your cost of living will be very similar, you will have to work more than 40 hours a week, and your salary will go down.
2. Move literally anywhere else in the USA. I live in Boulder, Colorado and its awesome. Mountains and trails out my door with a great city scene as well. People snob at Boulder because its getting expensive, but you can still rent a 1 bedroom for 1300, and get a room in a house for $800. Google, Twitter and Uber are here if you want FAANG level compensation, as well as a bunch of other small companies.
3. Or better yet, get a remote job and move to somewhere even cheaper. I work remotely and it was really hard not to move to Bend, Oregon. I could have bought a nice house there for what I paid for my small townhome in Boulder. The only reason I didn't do it is because I am a fanatic rock climber and the climbing around Boulder is better.
One thing I have found about working remotely is that its pretty easy to work 35 hours a week and produce the same output as a full time, in office employee. Less distractions and in-office chitchat, and more working time. In practice this means that you can wake up at 7:30, make a coffee, be online at 8am, and then be free by 3pm. The Swiss 9 to 6 is a hard sell with this lifestyle.
This is highly individual. My company lets me work remote whenever and as much as I want. I still spend the vast majority of my time in the office because I'm far less productive when working from home.
It's racist. Really racist. If you're white, no one's going to hassle you to see your papers. If you're not, keep them with you. Expect to meet hostility in shops and markets and get quoted different prices than white people. Those 25% immigrants the article mentions? Mostly European, and many of those aren't immigrants. They were born and raised in Switzerland, but are still considered immigrants.
It's rigid. I'm not sure I want my children going to school in a system where using the wrong color pen is penalized comparably to getting the answer wrong.
Hire a professional relocator to find your apartment. That's what we did. Company paid for it.
Every third person you will meet is an engineer, generally working on something cool. Everyone has ideas as to how you can do things "better" - from tech to processes to politics.
You can attend all sorts of product launch parties, meetups, company socializers. So many that it's impossible to go to them all.
You can meet many of the founders and engineers that you read from on HN. Either they live in SF/Bay Area or end up visiting. Just tweet at them and ask.
I've never regretted those years.
The financial line gets much blurrier when we started having a family, along with the SF school system isn't that great.
But for tech culture, it was one of a kind. So. Much. Tech. And I loved every moment of it.
I live in the SFBA for reasons other than tech/career but this has been a huge plus. It's very interesting and exciting to visit the major tech HQs and meet founders and engineers living and working here, etc.
My favorite example of this was last year, 2018, when Twilio Signal was coincident with Litquake. I stayed in the city all week and talked shop with Twilio folks all day and went to talks/lectures about the evils of technology every evening :)
Now name any Swiss company that makes software that you heard of before.
Switzerland is eager to compare itself to Silicon Valley as a center for education and innovation, but I have lived here for 11 years and I can tell you that that comparison is utter horse shit. Why?
Because Switzerland, as a tiny neutral country, most of all lacks ambition. You can't make it as a small company with lots of ideas.
You couldn't pay the salaries for talent - the talent can earn double or triple working in private banking, insurance of big pharma.
Or maybe the talent already moved away since very few companies can afford to even open offices in Switzerland, or if they do, they are sales only. Google, Microsoft and IBM are the biggest exceptions in the Zurich area.
1) I've found places in the bay for way less than what they were saying, even without roommates. Its like 2k for a 1br in Lake Merritt, which is 15-20 minute BART to SF.
2) Yes startups that are pre-seed/ pre-series A will have crazy hours, but any big tech co. will be pretty close to 40 hours a week. My team is pretty big about work life balance, and we work at a place infamous for not caring about it. I generally work 9-5, with whatever wfh I want.
3) See point 1. Granted if you want a house, it'll be more/farther out, but apartments can still be had.
4) Money is better in the US. I currently make about 160k USD, which is more than pretty much any European Dev will make.
6) 300 CHF is still 6x what I pay for healthcare per month. I currently pay 46 USD per month for (from what I can tell is excellent) healthcare, vision, and dental.
There are a lot of legitimate criticisms of the bay area (expensive, local politics are fucked, everyone is a tech bro, etc), but some of these are a bit ridiculous and not very indicative. There's a reason why the bay area is a desired place to live, and why I personally am trying to move back there.
If you're contracting in London at 600 GBP per day (not an unreasonable amount for a senior in demand, it's very possible to get more than than), then assuming 2 weeks of vacation and 1 week of public holidays, you make 147k GBP, which amounts to $185k. You can make even more in Scandinavian countries, but such contracts there are rather rare, while 600 GBP p.d. in London is common.
On the other hand, pretty great deals can be had in Europe as well - I'm currently sitting in Poland making $160k, with low costs of living and taxes. Would need to probably make twice that much in California for the same lifestyle and yearly savings.
You are the exception here, not the rule. 46 USD for Healthcare is pretty rare in the US. It's not uncommon for people to spend 500 USD per month, so 300 CHF would look good to many people.
There is also the potential argument that the Swiss healthcare system is better overall than the US system, but that could be a complete debate in itself.
For a software developer (the subject of the post) it is not pretty rare. The median software developer is well over six figures in the US now for salary. Having your healthcare entirely or nearly entirely covered by your employer, is not unusual when you're over $100k.
This is just for clarification that we're comparing apples to apples.
The employee portion of health care costs goes up dramatically as you age (even if you don’t pay for other people); you can’t project from your health care costs in your 20s out to middle age.
Is USD 2500 - USD 4000 supposed to be cheap?!
You don't need to live in the city center though.
Also, the culture is remarkably different, so if you're expecting something similar to the american college campus-like experience large companies offer over there you're in for a hell of a culture shock.
These days it's significantly easier to get a Swiss passport than a US one for most nations.
While Switzerland might not be strictly in the EU it is very much a grey area -- it is in some ways effectively in the EU so -- personally I'm Irish and pretty sure I could live and work in Switzerland tomorrow. I'm just pointing out you don't need to be Swiss to be on a level playing field.
Worth nothing though as well Switzerland is often very hostile to employing US Passports in any financial firms (alot of finanical firms employe devs in SW) (as apposed to Americans they represent) -- laregely because of banking culture and FACTA.
1. Accommodation prices seem about the same where I live.
2. I work 40 hours a week too
3. 20 minute bus ride for me so no "2 hour commute".
4. 120,000 CHF for a senior? I make over 200,000 and I have less than 4 years of experience. That would be a huge pay cut.
5. 35% income taxes + state? This is just blatantly false as effective federal income tax rate doesn't hit 35% until over a million. I for example paid just 22% in federal income taxes including social security and medicare.
6. My biweekly copay is just $50. Granted, I am on a high deductible plan but the deductible is only 1300 with a max out of pocket limit of 2600 a year and I have a health savings account which allows me to save/invest 100% tax free income for health care spending.
Exemple of taxes/mandatory ccharges a developper will pay: network tax, photocopy tax, radio tax, VAT, AHV/IV, garbage elimination tax, city tax, state tax, federal tax, healthcare (in some countries it is included in your "federal/state" tax), etc.
I just got my "final tax decision"... Switzerland is a fiscal inferno if your income comes from work (vs capital gain)...
Usually, I work 6 month per year for taxes. My grand parents were working 1 to 1.5 month in the 60s-70s to pay their taxes also as "independant".
Plus with all the crazy fix and variable costs, it is not competitive as an independant or small company.
Today, as a "personne morale" (corporation) only complex fiscally optimized structures can get a low tax rate (or as a "physical person" if you are ultra rich (3 comma club) not professionally active in the country you can negotiate a very low rate).
PS: also, can we definitively kill the ridiculous myth/reputation of Swiss data protection? (In case of criminal investigation, in many cantons (equivalent to states) a police investigator does not even need a judge warrant to have access to the data)
Having worked as freelance in switzerland, that sound weird and make me thing : "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"
Income city+state+federal (30%), VAT (7,6%), AHV (11%) + all the rest I have lost count of.
For exemple, I pay 2,7% for PCI (Family allowance tax).
I have a very good revenue by Swiss standard. Everything from work, nothing from capital gain.
- I work in Romandie where personal tax a waaaay higher than in Swiss Germany and I am not in the best city...
- I do not count 2nd pilier as it is a "capitalisation" system and not "redistribution" (AHV). But are also mandatory insurances. Also, the revenue you will get at retirement is shrinking (due to life expectancy and negative rates) and is forecasted to even decrease in the future.
- Do not forget that Federal tax is not linear...
PS: Fun fact. Almost all successful French tennis players have lived in Switzerland a few years because they could negociate their taxes. Roger Federer or Wawrinka who have done a lot for a positive image of Switzerland had to pay full rate...
PS2: Company tax system is under total renovation now (because of pressure from Europe). I can imaging that personal tax will follow in the coming decades.
Not necessarily, it depends on details like the canton and the income of each person.
All government forms are in (High/Schrift) German, French, and Italian.
> lack of food diversity.
This is certainly true.
Quickly looking into it, all the tax rates look like the corporation tax. The graph is blatantly wrong across the board.
In my opinion there is less opportunities there (In Switzerland) higher starting salary, then people get stuck in the middle 120-140, and can't shift past. (for the reasons mentioned below). Because managers don't want to pay developers more than themselves.
HOWEVER, that same problem exists in London, but is typically solved by developers going day-rate contract. That way management can justify and still get experience.
Because the market is smaller in Switzerland it does not make it so easy for a day-rate contractor market to exist..
So, my point is, if Switzerland is better than London for developers on a global level. Its only marginal.
But compared to other salaries, Doctors, Dentists Lawyers, Engineers etc. Developers in London are well paid (treated as technical roles similar to those mentioned) Whereas in Switzerland developers are paid half++ of those jobs.
J2EE isn't the bleeding edge but it can keep the lights on.
Historically compensation tends to be tied to age/seniority and hierarchical status, not contribution per se.
> In Zurich, you can rent a whole flat (50+ square meters) for something between 2500-4000 CHF and if you are single and open to living with other people you can find a room in something called Wohngemeinde for as little as 800-1000 CHF.
Good luck if you have a family, it's ~4k for 4.5 rooms (100sqm).
Check the listings on the website, most of them cap out at 10k/month. That is gross, pre-tax. So net is about 8k max.
> Maybe it is because of the crunch work culture that squeezes out everything out of employees and only gives a payout to founders and VCs?
This is no different in Switzerland.
This was an error in the original article, by the way. The correct word is "Wohngemeinschaft". "Wohngemeinde" means "city/town/village you're residing in".
> Good luck if you have a family, it's ~4k for 4.5 rooms (100sqm).
Well, yes and no. Rents can be quite high for new arrivals. But about 20% of rental apartments in Zürich are owned by non-profit Wohnbaugenossenschaften, where rents are a lot cheaper, rise very modestly, and as long as you're on good standing, you pretty much never get kicked out, but you need to get onto a waiting list for a number of months/years.
San Francisco is famously non-sunny (all that cloud).
Salaries are certainly not capped at 140k CHF, I've seen a number of job ads for 180K CHF and that doesn't count stock options which is usually the bulk of compensation at the high end.
Not sure about the MBA vs IC thing though.
I grew up in a place in France that gets slightly more sun than Zurich. I now live in the Bay Area Peninsula with 3,000+ hours of sunshine a year and the difference is incredible, especially in winter.
San Francisco is on a peninsula, so it gets lots of fog. Its weather pattern does not represent the area in general.
San Jose is further inland and very sunny most of the year.
Today SF high will be 66F and San Jose 75F; big difference but in either case its mid-October and still t-shirt weather.
Used to be true, but less and less given climate change
I don't care what managers and MBA-s make until I can make an awesome living. I'm not more special.
That being said, everything is 2 to 3 times more expensive there. That might well be worth it given the quality of life you get there.
That's a pro to me. I'm happiest when it's cool and cloudy, and everything to do with the sun is just brutally oppressive and makes it hard to get anything done.
Not sure in what kind of bubble you live but it's like that everywhere except if you're a tech engineer in a SV tech company.
Only in the winter. :)
The other points hold as far as my experience goes.
But once you tick the boxes it's not particularly hard.
And that includes Germans. I don't want to lean too heavily on the cliches, but if you come across cold even compared to Germans, surely that's a sign.
Source: German expat, living in Switzerland since 2008.
This of course leads to a societal enclave where even expats that would like to integrate into Swiss society find it harder and harder to do so.
On the other hand, the more right-wing press and parties use them to point out the perceived lack of willing to integrate into society to further restrict immigration.
I wouldn't describe this as a mitigation, more of an escalation.
It's mixed. Some companies don't care, some do. In my experience, engineers usually don't care, HR sometimes does. So it's mostly getting past HR by playing bullshit bingo in your CV and list any tech you've ever heard of as 'intermediate' skill level so HR finds something when they Ctrl+F.
Not sure about getting a work permit/visa though, it likely won't help not to have formal education.