Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dear Frau: How to find a Job in Switzerland?

Welcome to another edition of Dear Frau. It's kind of like Dear Abby except with an international twist. If you have a question about life in Switzerland, be sure to contact the Frau and maybe your little Frage will be in the next edition of Dear Frau.

Dear Frau,

I have been looking for a job in Switzerland and am confused by what the (m/w) means after the job title in the listing. And what is up with the age thing. I’m 38 and some of the jobs I’m interested in give an age range of 25-35. Am I over the hill already?


Job Seeker

Dear Job Seeker,

Looking for a job in Switzerland can be tough. The Frau can relate. She once had an interview in Switzerland that involved reading in German, reading in French, writing in English, and naming the acronyms of Swiss political parties. Ja.

If all the language requirements weren’t tough enough, there’s also sexual and age discrimination to be concerned with. In this country, the discrimination is right there in the job listing: in Switzerland, jobs are still listed as whether they are for males or females or both. If you see (m/w), that means both men and women are welcome to apply. And the age thing, yeah, since you have to put your birth date on your resume, there’s no way to pretend you’re 35 when you’re really 38. And many jobs do specify an age range up front. This sometimes also has to do with the pay level. In general, older people get paid more in Switzerland.

The Frau doesn’t necessarily enjoy all of this upfront discrimination in the Swiss job listings, but she’s come to accept it. Because even though some countries, like the United States, would never be so openly discriminatory in a job listing, it doesn’t mean that the reality is any different behind the scenes. At least in Switzerland, you won’t be wasting your time at an interview if you don’t really fit the job specs.

Anyhow, the Frau wishes you luck with your job search. If you’re looking for more information or advice on how to find a job in Switzerland, check out a few more posts from the Frau:

How to Find a Job in Switzerland
10 online resources for finding a job in Switzerland. Included are sites especially for those in finance, communications, academia, as well as general job searching sites.

Trailing Spouse Advice on Finding a Job in Switzerland
How the Frau found her Swiss job and tips for finding yours. Hint: if you can, start looking before you move.

How to Land an International Assignment
You're Young. You're starting your career. You want to move abroad. What to do first.

Does anyone else have advice on how to find a job in Switzerland? What do you think of the open discrimination in Swiss job listings?


M'dame Jo said...

I'm used to the open discrimination and it first felt weird when I had to remove all pics, gender, age, family situation indications from my resume to apply to US jobs.

What I think is that there's always discrimination, but the good thing about the "american way" is that it postpones the time when your age/family situation may prejudice you. It avoids your resume to be thrown right away because you're black/have three kids/bad teeth and helps focusing on the skills.

France is following. It's been a few years that larger company must now hire using anonymous resumes. Humans being prejudiced, I think it's a progress and that the US are ahead about this. Switzerland is especially backwards, for these things.

Chantal said...

Hi M'dame Jo,

Thanks for giving us the Swiss opinion of things. I was amazed that I had to put my picture and birthdate on my resume here, but then again, when people meet me in person, they will figure out what I look like and about how old I am anyway.

The age requirements for jobs seem strange though. As does the male/female thing.

M'dame Jo said...

Well, about the (m/w) (m/f) aspect... I feel that it is actually the opposite (of restrictive): it is to make obvious that both genders can apply. I always see this for engineering positions, and the way I read (m/w) is "this is a position in a typically male environment, but we would also hire a woman." I have never seen just (m) or (w) though.

I can't really see any good reasons for the age bracket, though. Especially because the required experience implies an given age bracket.

Chantal said...

Hi M'dame Jo,

That's an interesting perspective on the m/w thing. I didn't think of it that way, but then again, I'm not in a male-dominated field.

Jo Adams said...

Dear Frau
I was in Zurich in 2008 for 3 months and after spending the best part of the previous 10 years seeing many countries with my job (sports journalist) arriving in Switzerland, I knew I was home.
Now I am desperate (is there a better word?) to 'go home'
My problem (and it's major) is that I only speak English with a little bit of Swiss-German street talk. I am searching and searching for that illusive job - can you help?
Danke und Tschüs!

Ps I moved this from another post as I think it might be more appropriate here :)

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Unknown said...

You can try searching for latest finance jobs openings in Switzerland posted by various biggest companies across the country.
Finance jobs

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