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Building a career in Switzerland as a newcomer expat

Article published by Isabelle Litzler on July 10. 2017

Being an expat is not easy. The thrill of travelling the world, meeting interesting people and enriching a career is a positive side, but you also have to take into account different cultures and integration/ work issues, which may not be compatible with your objectives.

Below you will find some tips to help you make a successful transition and hopefully achieve your career goals faster.

Planning prior to expatriation

When moving to Switzerland or any other country, the first thing to do is to consider your market potential in the country. How do you do this? Check my list below for reference:

  1. How many people do I know there? If the answer is nobody, try to find out the languages spoken in the area you consider. Culture is important in Switzerland. In Zurich, German is going to help integration and the French in Romandie.
  2. Can I find an English-speaking job? Check if the area you target offers jobs in English. Here is a link from my previous blog article with website resources.
  3. Can I afford to live in Switzerland? Try to find out climate, city cost of living and how much money you need to live comfortably. Remember Switzerland offers a great lifestyle, but you will need an income to support it. Try to make a budget prior to moving and check the housing and essentials costings.
  4. Do I have the right to work? If you are an EU resident, finding a job will be easier. If you are a non EU resident, you can consider working for the United Nations or International Organizations where global recruiting will not be an issue for you, but opportunities will be mainly limited to Geneva, the hub for International Organizations.


Integration in Switzerland

Integration in Switzerland will not be so easy if you don?t speak the local languages (French or German). Many expats who speak English only tend to gather around Geneva and Zurich so before you move, look up your destination to make sure you can find an expats "hub" otherwise language may isolate you from the local activities and limit your potential to integrate and find a job.


Learning the habits and traditions is a huge advantage. Finding work in Switzerland is one thing, but lifestyles and local habits are just as important. My advice to the newcomer expat would be to get as much info as you can from locals and read on the local market and possibilities before you migrate. Many expats choose to follow a spouse and are faced with big challenges. It is always better to know job potential before engaging expenses as expatriation will take time and money.


Want to know more about pleiades HC? Why not take a look at my youtube channel for expat motivation!