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Recently voted 'the most liveable city in the world' Zurich, Switzerland should certainly be on your list if you are looking for that career move abroad.
Characterised by its cultural diversity, Switzerland is the ideal place to relocate if you are looking for a cultural, safe, clean way of live and mixing with people from all nationalities.
Switzerland has approximately 7,2 million inhabitants, of whom about 20% are foreigners. The country has four national languages: German (75%), French (20%), Italian (4%) and Raetoromansch (1%) (Swiss nationals only). Its neighbours are Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east, Italy to the south and France to the west. This makes Switzerland an enviable location to see and visit the rest of Europe cost effectively.
Zurich City has a population of some 360,000 inhabitants and is the largest city in the country and the commercial centre (the Capital City being Berne). It is situated at the northern end of the Lake of Zurich, which is 40 km long and up to 4 km wide. The local language is a dialect of German called Swiss German. English is also widely spoken.
Zurich; The facts.
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Working in Zurich
Switzerland is the world capital of private banking for wealthy individuals. Although the country has three other financial centres - Geneva, Basle and Lugano - Zurich is the main focus, as it is the headquarters of the two biggest Swiss banks - UBS and Credit Suisse which globally employ 151,000 people between them.
Zurich is often known as the commercial centre of Switzerland. Leading companies like Credit Suisse, Swiss Re, and UBS are just some of the global financial institutions headquartered here., generating a huge amount revenue for the national exchequer. Zurich is the major seat of offshore banking. The activity of the Greater Zurich Economic Area contributes nearly one quarter of the financial sector of the nation. The Swiss Stock Exchange is also situated in Zürich. Banking in Zurich is a major financial sector not only in the nation but the entire world. Other than the main banks of UBS and Credit Suisse Group, there are many more private banks with great reputations in the financial industry of Zurich. Insurance companies are a part of the strong financial ground of the city. The best three being Rentenanstalt/Swiss Life, Zurich Financial Services Group and the Winterthur Gruppe
Microsoft, IBM and Google have headquarters based in Zurich and employ a significant amount of people as you would expect , across all related specialism’s. Find out what it's like to work in the Google Zurich office.
Opportunities for teaching are readily available in private language schools, of which there are many. Salaries are lower than in the state run schools and contracts can be vague or simply non-existent. In a city like Zurich you could be paid up to CHF 100 an hour (about $60) for a class. As you might expect there is a good demand for business English in the cities and a steady demand for general English. You can approach private schools directly with a copy of your resume, and remember to keep an eye on web sites like the ETAS web site and newsgroups where vacancies are often advertised.
Switzerland is full of finishing schools and private boarding schools that often have teaching vacancies. Many of these also run summer courses and camps.
With the exception of areas like Zurich and Geneva. Swiss construction companies are increasingly facing competition from other EU based firms. The reduction in new building construction will be partly smoothed as investments are displaced towards the transformation, renovation and maintenance of buildings. Large projects in the Sports and Leisure industry have attracted the attention of foreign construction companies in the past years.
As well as working, Switzerland is THE place to hone your skills within the hospitality sector. At any time, more than 5000 students from all over the world are studying at one of the numerous hotel management schools in Switzerland for successful careers in hospitality and its related fields. Today, a large number of executives in the global hotel industry are graduates of Swiss hotel schoolsSwitzerland has been one of the first countries to develop tourism as a major industry. To meet the growing demand for professional hotel managers, the first hotel management school, the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, was established more than one hundred years ago. The country is still enjoying an excellent reputation in this field.
Climate: In Zurich the summer temperature rarely exceeds 86°F (30°C) and the level of humidity is comfortable except for on a few days. Offices and homes are normally not air-conditioned. Winter temperatures vary normally between 23°F (-5°C) and 30°F (5°C), with a few exceptional days possible at both ends of the scale.
Accommodation: Currently, EU residents and Work Permit C holders (non-EU residents) are eligible to purchase property in Switzerland, provided that the property bought is meant for personal use. There are heavy capital gains taxes to be paid on resale profits, so speculation into property in Zurich is not as popular as it could be. This is despite the fact that current interest rates on mortgages for property are fairly low. The majority of Swiss nationals simply do not choose to own property. Hence, the rental market (especially for larger apartments) is always in hot demand.
It is difficult to suggest the going rental rates in Zurich as each family / expatriate needs differ, but a good website you can use to compare property market rental rates is www.comparis.ch.
In recent years, Zurich has been experiencing a great shortage of larger apartments (more than 160 square meters or approximately 1,700 square feet) in the rental market. Expatriate families who are looking for larger apartments in the rental market may have to consider living in the suburbs instead of the city centre. This is because the suburbs have a range of detached or semi-detached homes suitable for larger expatriate families. In Zurich, there is a demand for larger apartments or housing units close to international schools and other popular business / work centres. This has in turn pushed up the rental prices for larger apartments or homes for expatriates. Single expatriates or expatriates who are looking for smaller accommodation (1-3 bedroom apartments) will have better options in many choice neighborhoods.
Living in Switzerland: Don't assume that if you are being very friendly, smiling, open and generous with your emotions that the Swiss will understand your codes of behaviour. They may not have been brought up to express their emotions openly and need more time to get to know you and may prefer to tread more carefully around personal topics.
In your neighbourhood: People's homes are their private spaces Unlike a lot of North Americans or Europeans, many Swiss do not do a lot of 'entertaining' at home but become active with their friends and associates through activities (sports, clubs, courses, excursions) outside the house or workplace. Never assume you are on a first-name basis just because you live in the same neighbourhood, house, or occupy the same office. Do not feel insulted if your neighbours don't invite you into their homes - they might not invite even other Swiss who are their friends into their homes.
Try to mirror the behaviour of the Swiss people you want to get to know. Don't hesitate to ask questions about things you are not sure about.
In your job: Observe, observe, observe. Don't assume You will be appreciated more for being punctual, reliable, sincere and industrious than for being 'jolly'. There is a time for being 'friendly' with the Swiss (on weekend excursions, sport events, etc.) but not necessarily when you are on the job or negotiating business arrangements.
Shopping: The main shopping area is so concentrated that Zurich can be considered a shopping paradise for pedestrians. While the Bahnhofstrasse and the surrounding areas cover less than one square kilometre there is rarely a label of any stature that is not available. In the old town on both sides of the Limmat River there are countless boutiques and antique shops.
Shopping hours: Shopping hours vary greatly as shops tend to adjust the hours to their particular clientele. By law shops must close Monday-Friday no later than 8pm and on Saturdays by 5pm. Shops may not open on Sundays or on public holidays. Typical shopping hours are from 9am to 6.30pm (except on Saturdays). Special laws allow shops within the confines of a train station to remain open seven days a week. The same applies to shops attached to gas stations.
Supermarkets: Migros and Coop are the best national chains of supermarkets with branches all over the greater Zurich area, and sell at competitive prices. Coop tends to sell more national and international brands, while Migros carries more products either displaying their own brand name. Migros is an unusual retailer in the sense that it is run in the form of a cooperative along non-profit lines. It allocates one percent of sales to cultural matters. Migros markets come in three different sizes, one "M" being the typical supermarket with a very limited non-food selection. "MM" denotes a supermarket with an extended non-food selection whereas "MMM" operates like a department store.
LeShop (a joint venture with Migros) is the biggest online supermarket in Switzerland with over 6,000 products to choose from; including fresh meat and fruit, beauty and baby care or DVDs and flowers. Delivery is on the following day direct to your door.
Child Care: Compared to the abundance of nurseries and pre-schools in England for example, the limited childcare facilities in Zurich can sometimes be an unpleasant surprise. Some of the waiting lists extend to two years. It is wise to explore childcare options well in advance of your actual need.
The regulations for obtaining Au-Pairs or Nannies vary so greatly,. For Au-Pairs in particular you will find that much depends upon the language spoken in the home, the residential status of the family members and the country from which the Au-Pair is coming (is she Swiss or foreign?)
Children's Activities: A "child-friendly" country, there are activities galore for children in and around Zurich. No matter what the weather or your child's preference, you are bound to find an exciting indoor or outdoor activity within easy reach. This section could easily fill the largest amount of space on our entire website. The list of things to do and places to go with children is seemingly endless.
Community Centres & Public Parks: One of the highlights of the city are the numerous Community Centres and public parks. Every city district has its own community centre available to the district residents. Not only are activities and events offered such as flea markets, crafts, children circus, gymnastics, etc. but the rooms can also be rented for public and private use.
There are an abundance of public parks complete with playgrounds in Zurich, which vary in size and equipment offered. One of the very special parks is the "Artergut" with its beautiful expansive lawns surrounded by magnificent old trees. Located close to Kreuzplatz, it is a peaceful meeting point for both adults and children.