Living in Switzerland, as in every country in the world, has its positive and negative sides. For example, in the Italian and French cantons it is more difficult to find a job and you earn less than in the German canton, but at the same time life is cheaper in these two cantons.
Switzerland offers good job opportunities with an unemployment rate of 2.5% (which in practice means full employment). Salaries are very high, one of the highest in the world. The legal maximum working time is 45 hours per week (with the exception of some manual jobs, where the maximum working time is set at 50 hours). Women in Switzerland earn significantly less than their male counterparts. The country has one of the largest gender pay gaps in Europe.
Compared to other European countries, there are no strong union protections, and employers in Switzerland can easily fire their employees as long as discrimination laws are followed. However, there are generous unemployment benefits for those who have worked in the country for more than a year.
In Switzerland, everyone (or almost everyone) pays taxes, which vary from canton to canton and Public funds are managed with the greatest possible transparency. While in other countries of the world one speaks of public debt, in the Confederation one speaks of public credit, because it is normal that budgets end with a surplus.
Swiss services are impeccable, from health care to transportation to postal services. The private health care system is well organized and of high quality, with very short waiting times. Public transportation is modern and efficient. There is almost no place that cannot be reached by public transport, even on some mountain peaks. Public schools are well funded and equipped. Switzerland offers peace and security. The crime rate is very low. People are honest and trust others, you do not have to be constantly on guard to avoid being scammed. If you lose your cell phone or wallet on the street, it is no exception that someone will return it to you.
Living in Switzerland is not cheap. High wages are necessary in Switzerland because it is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Despite these high wages, sometimes they cannot fully compensate for the inflated cost of living. Products are very expensive and those who live near the border (France, Germany or Italy) travel to these countries to store. Having children is a major financial burden in Switzerland, as the cost of childcare is disproportionately high.
Laws are strictly enforced and flexibility is minimal. The rules in Switzerland are accepted and applied by all. The citizen is the first to demand compliance. This lack of flexibility can sometimes be difficult for foreigners to accept. For example, to have the police at home, all you have to do is turn the radio up a bit.
The Swiss tend to be much colder and more aloof compared to other cultures like ours. They are not known for being sociable, and interpersonal relationships are definitely not their strong suit. Getting to know your neighbors is also difficult and is often limited to a brief greeting and a smile. Building a relationship with your Swiss neighbors can take years. The Swiss have a sense of superiority and think that their way of doing things is the only right way and everyone else is wrong. Integrating into the local community is really difficult.
The social life in Switzerland is not very intense, in most cities everything is closed on Sundays and during the week at six/seven of the clock in the afternoon.
Living and working in Switzerland pros and cons
Living in Switzerland, pros
- Good job opportunities
- High wages
- No crime
- Excellent services (health, education, transportation)
- Efficient bureaucracy
Living in Switzerland, cons
- Difficulties with integration
- Expensive health care
- High cost of living
- Strict regulations
Living and working in Switzerland, conclusion
In Switzerland you will find a high cost of living, strict laws and a complete lack of human warmth on the part of the people. But the ease of finding a job, the impeccable bureaucracy, the cleanliness, the order, the sense of security and the peace you breathe are ideal for those who want to live a life that is not too stressful.
There are two fundamental elements of Swiss society: the honesty of people and the deep sense of stability that permeates daily life.
If you are interested in moving to other Swiss cities, read the article: Moving to Switzerland
If you are interested in working in Switzerland, read the article: How to work in Switzerland