Best tech companies to work for in CH

Hi fellow mustachians,

I wanted to crowd source from all of you a list of good tech employers in CH (mostly companies in Software/Internet space). I have a hard time filtering though the job listings from small and medium size companies since I am quite new in Switzerland and most of these firms are local.
Here is my preliminary list:

Updated:
International:
Google -
Amazon - much smaller footprint compared to US
Microsoft - mostly sales and Business Dev jobs
Cisco - small footprint
Facebook - few niche SWE roles (in Computer Vision and ML)
Adobe (Basel)
Nvidia
Oracle
Apple
IBM
Logitech
Disney Research

Startups
Beekeeper
Numb3rs
Scandit
more: https://www.top100startups.swiss/index.cfm?page=136340&branche_id=2&SelectedLevel=0

Others:

  • CERN in Geneva
  • Kudelski near Lausanne
  • SICPA between Geneva and Lausanne
  • Procter and Gamble in Geneva

Swiss tech scene is pretty pathetic and dominated by bodyshops and banks.

Apple, Disney Research, Magic Leap, Logitech, Nvidia, Oracle, IBM

All are fairly small offices. Except maybe IBM, but well, it’s IBM

The only tech company from the list with a large presence (thousands FTEs) and approaching US levels of pay.

Still, you’re much better off the US financially, salaries are crazier than ever and jumping ship to another big tech every few years for crazier and crazier pay would only be possible there.

Sales only

P.S. diversity lottery 2021 is open

This seems to me rather harsh and unjustified. Have you had a bad experience?
It is indeed dominated by banks and consulting companies, but there are many more employers that offer rather good conditions. Even the banks have some interesting jobs in R&D if you don’t mind working for them.

Coming back to the original question, I am not sure what you call a “good tech company”. Salary ? benefits ? atmosphere ? work-life balance ?
From the top of my mind, here are a few more I heard offer good conditions and interesting jobs :

  • CERN in Geneva
  • Kudelski near Lausanne
  • SICPA between Geneva and Lausanne
  • Procter and Gamble in Geneva
  • IBM in Zurich
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A few come to mind, such as Cloudbees, Kudelski/Nagra, Amazon (not only sales actually), NetGuardians, and Pictet Group (a bank but probably the most tech-savvy around here). I also heard good things about Nexthink.
It’s not the US, but honestly who wants to live in a country with such high taxes, low to no public services and… well… a different state of mind :wink:

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Adobe has an office in Basel, and I believe some developers sit there too.

At $300k+ incomes Zurich taxes are not that low either. And you won’t even make $300k here as a SDE, whereas this is a ordinary compensation package today for a senior developer in big tech companies in the Bay Area.

That is indeed true. What I was saying is that for the amount of taxes you get close to zero benefits in your everyday life (think about infrastructure, public health, etc.). Then costs that are already high in Switzerland go through the roof in the USA (namely rent, doctors, etc.).
My point is that the country (or at least California, I have not been anywhere else) has a poor value/tax ratio.
Then you are right, nailing the proper job you can easily go above 300k, and even come close to 500-600k apparently (I have not seen that for myself though). Keep also in mind that such high paying companies (hello Amazon) can be gruellingly exhausting to work for, so long term that’s probably not the best option.

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The Adobe office in Basel mostly deals with CMS shit like AEM if I remember correctly. They bought Day back in the days and build their “new” product around that.

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Amazon has that sweatshop reputation, yeah, but there are also chill well paying companies. I hear Linkedin is a sweet spot for high TC and WLB.

It’s the sunshine tax.

If you don’t mind weather, there’s also Seattle. With no state income tax, you only pay US federal tax which for tech incomes should be on a similar level as swiss taxes.

Not really. What benefits do you get in Switzerland with your taxes that you don’t get in the US? Every government service is for money in Switzerland. Health system is not free and not cheap in either country. It’s better organized in Switzerland and accessible to low income people, but with a job, it is not a big concern in the US. Urban planning is a matter of culture, it’s just different in the US with a car-centric culture.

One big thing which Switzerland does a lot better with your taxes is cheap university education, whereas it costs arm and a leg in the US today. But, you can always send your kids to study in Europe instead.

Income goes through the roof too and faster. And once you stop working, high CoL in the Bay Area doesn’t matter because you can just emigrate to a cheaper area or country. Meanwhile you’d earned and save a lot more than in Europe and even Switzerland.

https://www.amazon.jobs/en/locations/zurich-switzerland - solutions engineer/architect/consultant these are all primarily sales roles rather than engineering, you’re paid first of all to sell, via solving customer problems.

Is that your personal experience? In total comp 300k+ is definitely doable at Hooli for senior engineers, even without stock appreciation (but that’s top of range). And should be standard comp beyond senior SWE.

(and yes, it’s fairly quick to hit the max marginal tax rate in Zurich with that kind of compensation, I personally feel like I get more for my taxes here than I would in the US :slight_smile: liveable human cities are a big benefit for me)

L5 pay range is ~ 250-300k, few make it to L6+. Then consider vesting cliff, rampant downleveling, slow promos, slow pay ramp up after promo, etc. Google is past its prime. Job hopping is a much easier way to break 300k and only possible in Bay Area. Here outside G your pay ceiling is ~200k so you’ll get stuck at Google with stagnating TC lagging behind US market. Financially-wise, it is a no brainer to go for US if you can.

Are you all working on such big Tech companies?
I feel dumb. Some of them (most?) don’t even answer me.

Don’t quote me on this but they also have positions in Geneva, although no real office yet (don’t know if it’s planned or not). And yes you won’t be coding, rather doing consultancy work helping customers build their infrastructure using AWS, which is quite enjoyable IMO (your mileage may vary).

I was under the impression that doctors in general cost a leg in the USA, whereas in Switzerland you can get proper treatment for just an arm :wink:

Another thing Switzerland does really well is taking care of people in need. In the US it’s a whole different story, just look at the number of people on the streets in the charming city of San Francisco. This won’t add up to your wealth but I’d rather have my taxes paying for people that actually need it than for waging war and so on. This is really a personal preference and I apologise for going off topic but it’s on my mind every time I consider moving.

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It is equally crazy expensive in both countries. The system is just less regulated, less trasparent in the US and relies heavily on price negotiations between insurers and hospitals and employers and insurers. Without negotiation doctors and hospitals are basically free to charge you whatever they want, hence the common advice for swiss travelers to get an extra insurance for US trips - should you get into ER, US hospital could charge you arbitrarily crazy amount that your swiss insurance will just laugh at.

But as an employee in the US with any good job, health is a non-issue and even can be better than the swiss system. Sure, there are known ways to shoot yourself in the foot, like choosing a plan which does not cover out-of-network doctors, accidentally getting treated by such a doctor (e.g. ER trip or because your in-network doctor has out-of-network assistants) and ending up in a bankruptcy, but this is a poor people’s problem. Working for a big tech firm you will generally have a very good insurance through your employer. E.g. Google’s gHIP plan conditions: $0 annual premium, $1400 annual deductible (which google even covers for you via HSA contributions), then 10% copay up to max $2800 . x2 if you get treated out-of-network, and another x2 multiplier (+couple thousands in premiums per year or so) for treatment of your dependents if you choose to include them on Google’s plan. Plus some dental, vision, fertility coverage. This is better and cheaper than any swiss plan you can find and gets you some of the best doctors in the world. As far as SV companies go this is a very good deal, but expect comparable benefits at most big tech.

Problems start when you don’t have a job and need to get an insurance yourself. It gets much more expensive and shittier there than an employer-negotiated plan. And then when people start saving pennies on out-of-network coverage, it’s playing with fire and what gets them into bankruptcies. In Switzerland on the other hand the government does all the negotiations for you and you don’t have this problem of shitty non-employer-negotiated plans. But doctors/hospitals prices are still crazy.

Probably because recruiters are overwhelmed with a large volume of applicants that all such firms get. Try finding and applying through a referral, this should at least get you noticed in the noise. And take your interview prep seriously. Applicants who don’t prepare for today’s whiteboard interviews are easy rejections come interview time, even if otherwise you’re qualified for the job (it is not really that much better or more interesting than work at any other software firm, just tools are better and codebase is cleaner)

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Higher taxes.
Higher CoL.
Shitty visa system.
Pretty boring location.

You don’t need to do job hopping, just find a better paying job in bay area, and then use the offer to get a match locally.

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Yes, but it’s more than sufficiently compensated by higher incomes and Zurich is not exactly a cheap place to live either and has steep tax rates at high incomes. Penny wise but pound foolish to save on taxes/col in this case.

True. But as a non-EU it’s not easy to get into Switzerland either

Sunshine state vs shitty Zurich weather, but to each his own

Virtually every swiss company will laugh at your face if you try to ask for a bay area pay. Realistically, ~200k is the market ceiling here. Google is about the only one willing to pay on US levels (+probably FB and Apple, but they are too small), but they are cost cutting big time today and would hardly engage in matching, especially for existing employees, it’s just not how it works. They know they are the only big game in town and their attrition numbers (way lower than in Bay Area)

I used to work in IT for CERN. The salaries are below average IMHO and there’s lots of legacy stuff to maintain.

In my niche (core banking), you get 150-200 CHF per hour if you freelance. I don’t think it makes a big difference which bank you work for, it’s pretty much the same work. And as a freelancer you will get to work for a few banks. If you do stay in one place for many years, they will eventually offer to “internalize” you, which means they will offer you an employment contract with maybe 120k salary, which is of course terrible in comparison.

How does one become a freelancer? Are there any companies who would take “junior” developers after graduation? Asking for a friend… :wink:

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