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Teaching in Switzerland

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:06 pm
by euxpat
Anyone know about the salary and package at Zurich International Schools? I assume you are taxed and given insurance, but does it include housing? Flights? Any info appreciated.

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:45 pm
by mysharona
From my understanding, you get a flight at the beginning of your contract and after that everything is on you. Having said that the compensation is tremendous.


Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:09 pm
by PsyGuy
No Housing, you get roundtrip flights at the beginning of your contract at when you leave the school. Most people never use the departing ticket, because they stay until they retire. The national health care system is amazing and they salary is one of the highest in the profession, though you do pay taxes (and taxes are high).

The only complaints I really ever here is of people getting bored or homesick after a decade or so.

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:54 am
by lifeisnotsobad
I think if you replaced 'most' with...'some' people never use the departing ticket, because they stay until they retire...then you might be closer to the truth.

However, SighGuy is never one to let the truth get in the way of a good post.

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:10 am
by lifeisnotsobad
I should also add that the tax rate depends upon where you live. They vary from Canton to Canton, as each sets its own tax rate. The total tax that you would pay in Zurich is currently 39.18%, while in Zug the total tax rate is 23.82%. These rates include Federal Tax, Cantonal Tax, Communal Tax and Church Tax. While you might regard Zurich as quite high, you similarly might conclude that Zug is quite low - especially when compared to other European tax rates. What SighGuy did get right is that salaries in Switzerland are high and the quality of life is high.

If you are the kind of person that gets bored with beautiful scenery, an outdoorsy lifestyle, skiing or snowboarding, being based in the very heart of Europe...then yes, you would get bored with Switzerland. Having said that...there is a vibrant night life and music scene in Zurich so there is even stuff for 'young' people :-).

Please note that this information comes as a result of having lived and worked in Switzerland.


Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:41 am
by euxpat
Thanks Life.. So 40% tax with no chance of any rebates after leaving? and starting salaries are appx how much for teachers with 20+ years of experience including IB experience? and cost of 1-2 bedroom apartments/utilities in Zurich?

Outdoor living sounds great, jut have to be able to save some money also!

Thanks again.

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:24 am
by lifeisnotsobad
Starting salaries, with 20+ years of experience would be circa 90,000 CHF per year...of course this will vary from school to school and this figure is based upon the school that I worked in. This is about 95,000 USD on current exchange rates. If you are single then the salary is good. If you are married with kids you really do need to have two salaries coming in, but then you can live very well. It would be a struggle to survive on one salary with non working spouse and children.

You could expect to pay around 1500 CHF per month for a nice 2 bedroomed apartment in the Zurich area. Obviously if you are looking for a lake view that price would increase significantly.

When you leave Switzerland you can basically take your state pension contributions with you. If you are moving out of Europe then you can take that as a tax free lump sum, if you are moving within Europe then it can be transferred to another pension scheme.


Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:58 am
by euxpat
Great more questiuon, what % of taxes will you get back? Thanks again.

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:13 am
by lifeisnotsobad

This is a difficult one to answer as your pension contributions are on a sliding scale depending upon your age. Your employer (school) also makes a contribution and the level of the contribution depends upon the policy of school. I think if you figured on about 7% this would give a reasonable ball park figure. I don't know if this varies depending upon the Canton that you live or work in.


Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:07 am
by PsyGuy

No i meant most, i think i can count on one hand the number of teachers who left Switzerland for teaching IT positions elsewhere.

Im very aware of the differences in taxes between cantons, there are more schools in Zurich then in Zugg though.

People get bored because people however nice something is, its the same niceness over and over and over. It happens, it doesnt mean that their isnt beauty, a high quality of life, or a criticism in any way shape or form.


Youd be looking at close to a 6 figure salary, assuming you didnt have a cap, most schools will cap your experience at around 10 years. Depends on your definition of nice. The tax rate is effectivly going to cut your salary by a third to a half, it would be VERY difficult to live on one salary with a family and non working spouse.

Youd be looking closer to around 2K CF to start for a decent 2 bedroom, and probably more.

While you can take your pension contributions with you, if you stay for any signifigant amount of time you would be better off keeping your pension, unless your moving to another european country.
You get a annual deduction for dependent children.

Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:44 am
by lifeisnotsobad

Sorry - you are a fool! What a ridiculous statement...'i can count on one hand the number of teachers who left Switzerland for teaching IT positions elsewhere'. Do you know how many international schools there are in Switzerland...and you are tracking all of them?

In the school that I worked in (approx. 150 staff) there were (maybe) 25% of the faculty who were long termers who had decided to settle in Switzerland. 25% does not qualify as 'most' in any definition. The average length of tenure for the staff within the school was 6 years.

I paid 2,000 CHF for a 4 bedroomed apartment in Zurich...I think 1,500 CHF would do just fine for a 2-3 bedroomed place. You don't get an annual deduction for your children, you get a child allowance of 300 CHF per child (per month) up to the age of 16, and this increases to 350 CHF per child up until the age of 25. This amount varies per Canton.

SighGuy...please tell long did you work in Switzerland?


Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:46 pm
by PsyGuy

So 112 teachers "left", since only 25% of them stayed, I an not recall a year with 112 Swiss vacancies. Maybe it was the the great Swiss teacher exodus of 1780, which was before my time.

"Deduction" "Allowance", tomato, tomato', potato, potato'. You win, I'll defer to your superior knowledge of tax terminology.

Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:44 am
by lifeisnotsobad

I am sure you don't really need me to explain how they didn't all arrive at the same time and so will not be leaving at the same time do you? How some will stay for 4, 5, 6 or 7 years (or more) before leaving.

Tell me you didn't really need me to explain that to you?

Could you also answer the question I asked you...

How long did you work in Switzerland?


Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:50 pm
by PsyGuy

So 112 vacancies at your school alone over 7 years, is still 16 vacancies a year for one Swiss school. I dont recall seeing that many vacancies for a single swiss school. Must have been during the Swiss Educator Migration of 1891, still before my time.

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:44 pm
by lifeisnotsobad

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."

I think you would be wise to take Lincoln's advice on this one...