Leaving St.Gallen

I’m sorry to say that after many years in this beautiful little town I am moving on. It has been a pleasure to be able to provide this blog and I hope that people to continue to benefit from it for years to come :-). I won’t delete any content, but I’m afraid that eventually most of the information will become out of date.

But who knows. One day I might move back and I will for sure start to blog again. And thanks to everyone who followed the blog and all of the e-mails of support I received.

And if you ever decide to move to Frankfurt next, why not take a look at my new blog: www.frankfurtexpat.wordpress.com

As if I would actually stop blogging entirely 🙂

Enjoy St.Gallen!!

Taxable income levels in St.Gallen

I just found an interesting bit of information for you on income levels in St.Gallen. This information is published by the city tax office according to taxable income for individuals in St.Gallen city. Just to confirm though, when you look at these numbers, please don’t think that the majority of people are poor :-). Actual incomes are normally higher. Have a look at your annual tax summary to figure out how you are doing comparatively.

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For reference, there are around 78,000 inhabitants in St.Gallen (29% of whom are foreigners).

10 things I wish I’d known before moving to St.Gallen :-)

1) Just because French is an official language that they all learn at school, doesn’t mean the locals are happy to hear it! If you can’t speak German, try English next 🙂

2) The Swiss are different from the Germans and Austrians. And that is the only thing they want to hear you say. Never group the three into a single statement!

3) Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because Switzerland is a rich country, that all accommodation is 1st world standard. Take no basic service for granted!

4) Swiss don’t seem to cook at home. So prepare for a small, inconvenient kitchen even in the largest of flats.

5) “Switzerland has high quality education” does not equal “all Swiss schools are good”.

6) Most Swiss people use public transport, not because it is so good (which it is), but because owning a car is so bloody expensive and inconvenient!

7) Figure out how to shop over the border in Austria. For everything. Its all a lot cheaper.

8) Don’t expect to ever be invited round to a Swiss person’s house.  Be happy when it happens, but prepare for it never happening.

9) Working from 9-6 is unSwiss. 8am is already late in the office.

10) Plan your life around the shops opening times. You’ll save much stress…

Salaries in St.Gallen

Now that you know how much it will cost to survive in St.Gallen (roughly!), you probably need to know how much you need to earn and how much you can ask for.

Salary negotiations in Switzerland are notoriously difficult for foreigners particularly those moving from overseas.  Swiss job adverts rarely show salary and potential employees are often expected to state their salary requirement either before or during the interview.  This can be advantageous if you know what the going rate is and how much to push it.  But more likely, you will either ask for too much and have to climb down (or miss out entirely) or ask for too little and miss out on a few thousand that would have made your life a lot easier.

CHF 50-60,000 – Lowest level entry salary for junior admin position
CHF 60-70,000 – Semi-skilled technical or office position with at least a couple of years experience, probably with BA degree
CHF 70-90,000 – Office administrator, possibly managing 1-2 juniors, several years experience, possibly specific technical skills required
CHF 90-120,000 – at least 5 years relevant experience, team lead/office head position
CHF 120,000+ – at least 8 years relevant experience, mid- to senior management, probably holding Masters or equivalent, or with 10+ years relevant technical/specialist skills

This is a rough guide that will vary between industry and company, so don’t hold me to it….