[COFFEE] 150K + Salary as employee without higher education under 30

I talked with some guy on the internet who lives in Switzerland and earns a lot of money. He works in big tech and that’s fine and all.

We then landed on the topic of mass applications to get good offers and he basically told me that when I switch the next time (I’ll work as a project manager in a consultancy for 105K salary (only 90% though) - 25 yo, no tertiary education, only apprenticeship as SW engineer and not the best one either there), I could make 150K+ if I just send out enough applications (up to 1K, mass application style).

I told him that this was insane and literally no one would do that. What are your thoughts? Who would pay an average employee that much money?


With 1k of applications and a decent CV you would be busy with interviews for a full month or so.
But yeah 150k in a consulting firm as a PM sounds realistic, especially in Zürich area. Try the big ones: EY, Accenture, Noser, Erni, etc. 5-10 applications would probably get you that salary

That sounds like a bad idea. You won’t get 150k base salary with most companies and the ones who pay such salaries are more or less well known. Mass applications will be a waste of time for everyone. Usually you get an offer with a number at the last step of the process, before it’s just Blabla without commitment. So you will need to spend a lot of time and eventually nobody will pay 150k especially not with no tertiary education.

It is certainly possible to get 150k with lots of experience, good education, and a CV that makes your hiring manager really want you. But in the early 20s without corresponding experience and not even tertiary education I don’t really see this happening.

Nowadays employers can lure people from all across Europe into Switzerland and all of them have masters degrees even for simpler jobs and many of them work often even for lower salaries, so how far do you think you can get with only an apprenticeship in terms of salary? I think soon it won’t be possible anymore to even get a job without tertiary education, even today most tech job ads I see want at least a bachelors degree, masters preferred and sometimes a masters is even a prerequisite.

So I’d focus on tertiary education rather than mass applications.


Good luck without tertiary education to even get a job there. And without significant experience and you being able to drop some serious names and numbers when they ask you about previous projects and their size ($$$, numbers of people led, etc) you have led, they will maybe let you start as junior PMO for 80k or so.

Did you maybe misspell? I read 1K and that does not make any sense to me.


1K = 1000 so 1000 applications

You can disclose the salary in a first phone call or so. No need to hold back in IT imho. I always get asked pretty quickly when it comes to salary. The way he phrased it to me is actually that there are a lot of Startups that have VC money that pay very good salaries, even the base salary. He f. e. stated a position that offered 350K (225 base + shares) now sure, those might be seldom, but they seem to exist.

Lol yeah, they write that, they still do employ freshmen apprentices.

Yes ofc, that’s out of debate

The way I see this from PM to management is not that far of a jump anymore and in Management Salaries over 200K are basically no real problem in IT.

Fully agree, I worked for Accenture as a working student during my studies in the department responsible for the onboarding of consultants from foreign countries. Due to this I also saw all the salaries etc. and can confirm that you can totally forget to get 150k there, you’d need at least a master’s degree, and/or 7-10 years solid experience in consulting. There are soo many consultants and to climb the ladder you either need good connections or work like crazy (100 hour weeks incl. weekend).
Otherwise it’s cheaper for them to get someone from another country, pay them allowances and everything.


Just to make this clear, this were not my words… I don’t think that this is realistic and I think that well off people forget that most people aren’t that well off, but yeah… He basically told me that it’s quite easy to do that, if one is willing to put in the applications.

1 Like

Yes, of course and they all say yes sure we can work with that no problem, no matter what number you mention. But the offer you actually get at the end of the process usually looks very different. They try to present the job from the best possible side hoping they can convince you to work for them for a lower number. Lots of people think ah no now I went through all the process and did all the efforts I can’t now drop out at the last step. So they accept the sometimes much lower offer. That’s why I say, what they say at the beginning is irrelevant. What counts is the offer at the end of the process. And you need to be ready to say no even at the last step.

Sure, but it’s quite clear who those companies are. No need to send 1000 applications.

1 Like

Yeah sure, but this has limits… If you tell them you want 150K and they give you 140 that’s kind of reasonable. They won’t say oh no problem and then offer you 90 lol

Is it? Especially with smaller companies even finding them is kind of luck - their websites and job posting portal presence aren’t that great. Also: I mean even in Neuchatel there probably are decently paying companies - not that many but a few will be there and they maybe lack applicants that are willing to work there so they need to bump up the salary.

1 Like

The only way you are going to make >150K in your mid 20s without tertiary education is in a niche tech job for which you have years of hobby experience and are recognized as an expert in the internet community.

With tertiary education you will get that only if you get hired in hip tech/data science companies, which tend to look for top-tier talent - globally. I guess (hope?) top-tier strategy consultants will also pay those amounts for the same reason.

Other mortals will need add at least 5 years of work experience in a finance or quantitative domain and/or directly contribute to profit. So exclude the soft and non-profit sectors, unless you’re consulting.

They pay even more…

Every management position in a mid-large size company pays over 200K easily, so I don’t think getting higher salaries is the issue per se, but getting to the desired positions will be in any case. So I guess management strategy consultants get way over 300K in a good company.

1 Like

Yes, but they want to see a track record. Education wise and experience wise.

I don’t know where you have those numbers from but even in good paying industries, many normal line managers earn less than your mentioned 150k. I know even CEO’s of mid-sized companies who earn “only” around 300k.

Sorry, should have said middle and upper management. Line managers are basically team leaders, those earn way less.

300K base yeah,+ bonus and maybe even stocks.

1 Like

Of course they’ll pay more for experienced people. So do the larger consulting firms.

Your question was how to make that kind of money without education. Very very few do, and it’s usually because they did something relatively extraordinary and useful in their spare time before hand.