You’ve probably been on a dedicated job search for a while. You’ve discovered that competition is fierce in your region, and the pay isn’t great. It can be a challenge to move and work abroad, but you know it’s a chance to gain invaluable experience and a bigger salary.
Though a relatively small country of around eight million people, Switzerland has a booming economy that’s home to major hubs in finance, technology, pharmaceuticals and insurance. It’s in the top 3 countries with the highest average salaries, with the added bonus of a scenic, safe environment and high standard of living.
Specialized skills can mean higher wages and higher success at nabbing a work permit. To see how well your career path matches up, let’s take a look at the highest-paying jobs in Switzerland.
What they do: Actuaries use financial theory and statistical processes to calculate the risk and associated economic costs of various events. Most actuaries work in insurance and banking, which means you can find opportunities in many of the top employers in Switzerland.
How to become: If you want to become an actuary and work abroad, it’s a good idea to get a degree in actuarial science, mathematics, economics or a related field. Experience counts, but you should also pursue training and certification from an organization like The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IfoA) or Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS).
What they earn: CHF119,320
9. IT systems architect
What they do: If you’re ready to wear many hats, including computer and networks expert, process improvement guru, and detail-oriented detective, this is one of the best jobs for you. IT systems architects evaluate a company’s existing computer systems, then design and implement structural and procedural improvements to meet an individual company’s goals.
How to become: Entry-level computing and programming jobs can help you get the desired experience and expertise with a variety of computer systems and software. Some employers prefer a bachelor’s or even master’s degree in computer and information technology, mathematics or a related field. A master’s in business administration (MBA) can also help you land the highest-level positions.
What they earn: CHF121,000
What they do: Pilots navigate and operate passenger or commercial planes, helicopters or other aircraft. You’ll need to be calm under pressure and comfortable with a lot of responsibility.
How to become: Many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in transportation, engineering or other related fields. You’ll need to attend certified flight training and gain experience with specific aircraft, instruments and maneuvers. Many Swiss employers require multi-crew cooperation (MCC) certification, and you must be licensed in Switzerland according to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
What they earn: CHF121,110
What they do: Lawyers advise and represent clients in legal matters and disputes. Remember that it’s not all courtroom appearances like you see on TV. You may also draw up and review business contracts, assist businesses in complying with local laws, and prepare and file legal documents.
How to become: If you want to become a lawyer, you’ll need both an undergraduate and advanced law degree. To work in Switzerland, one option is to get your Master of Laws from one of the country’s nine law schools. Those with international law degrees can apply for a specialized LLM degree. All prospective Swiss lawyers must pursue a one-to-two-year apprenticeship, then pass the bar exam.
What they earn: CHF127,080
6. College professor
What they do: If you have great organizational and interpersonal skills, and love sharing your knowledge, this could be the job for you. College professors teach various academic subjects at post-secondary institutions. You may also conduct educational research projects and publish your findings.
How to become: Teaching higher education in Switzerland typically requires a Ph.D. in your field. Some institutions also prefer candidates with research or work experience in their specialty, such as medicine and technology. Fluency in both English and French is desirable.
What they earn: CHF151,800
What they do: Are you a lawyer who wants to have an even stronger role in the system of justice? Judges oversee legal proceedings and apply the law objectively to everything from traffic offenses and divorce disputes to business deals and criminal cases, and because of this, it’s bone of the best-paid jobs in Switzerland.
How to become: Judges typically have an advanced law degree, and a doctorate in law is available in Switzerland. It’s not a likely option for someone choosing to work abroad, however. You need extensive experience in the Swiss legal system, as well as joining a political party that will help you get elected or appointed as a professional judge.
What they earn: CHF167,000
4. Chief financial officer
What they do: If you’re an expert in both finance and multi-tasking, this is the job for you. Chief financial officers (CFOs) are responsible for a company’s financial health. You oversee and advise on various areas of the business, including revenue and earnings, investments, financial forecasts and complying with local and federal regulations.
How to become: You’ll typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, economics or a related field. Previous experience in other finance positions like accountant, loan officer or financial analyst is also useful. Positions in Switzerland often ask for certification in accounting as well as licensure from the Federal Audit Oversight Authority (FAOA).
What they earn: CHF178,460
3. Chief executive officer
What they do: You will need all the leadership skills you possess to tackle this top position. Chief executive officers (CEOs) are responsible for an organization’s overall direction, policies, and goals, as well as managing its operations and staff. Depending on the size of the company, you may collaborate with other top execs like the CFO, and report to a board of directors.
How to become: It takes time and commitment to become a CEO. You’ll typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, and the highest-paid Switzerland CEO jobs require an advanced degree related to the industry. Companies are typically looking for multilingual candidates with several years of managerial and business experience.
What they earn: CHF203,440
What they do: Surgeons diagnose injuries, diseases and physical abnormalities and operate on patients to help treat or cure these conditions. The level of knowledge and skill required makes this one of the highest-paid jobs in Switzerland (and most other countries, too).
How to become: It takes several years to become a surgeon. Most countries require an undergraduate science or medical degree, an advanced medical degree, and four to seven years of training in a hospital. Switzerland requires passing the federal medical examination; however, foreign doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA) can practice with their home country’s qualifications and licensing.
What they earn: CHF203,470
What they do: Perfecting people’s smiles can lead to a big smile of your own when you land the best job in Switzerland. Orthodontists are specialists in the field of dentistry, focusing on straightening a patient’s teeth with braces, retainers and other medical appliances.
How to become: You’ll need an undergraduate degree and then an advanced degree from a dental school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Orthodontists typically receive two to four years of training in their specialty. To practice in Switzerland, you’ll need credential approval and possible testing from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
What they earn: CHF262,360
Be sure to research carefully before you decide to pursue a job abroad. It’s advisable to read a guide on relocating to Switzerland for information on cost of living, visas, and job-hunting advice. While the country has some of the highest salaries in the world, don’t forget to check out how much rent, food, and other necessities cost in the area you’ll be working.
Switzerland is home to many international companies and organizations, so it is possible to find jobs that cater to native English speakers. Be aware, however, that many positions require skill in speaking French or German. Some employers, particularly in education, will assist you in learning a second language on the job.
As you can see, there are high-paying jobs in many different fields in Switzerland. Which roles are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments below!
Originally published 10 April 2019.