What dual career spouses and partners searching for a job in Switzerland think is most challenging?

During the last 5 years, we have asked expat spouses visiting the job4U2 website to reflect on what they think is most challenging in their current job search experience and to provide a basic analysis of the difficulties they are facing while seeking for a job in Switzerland:

  • 36% have not (yet) find a way to navigate efficiently in the job market, a majority of them find the Swiss market very competitive.
  • 35% Have not (yet) defined the next step that can at the same time motivate them, meet a demand and match their skill set and find themselves overwhelmed or demotivated.
  • 14% think their Branding is not sufficiently efficient- Have not (yet) set up a sufficiently convincing branding
  • 14% Have not (yet) find how to be sufficiently convincing during the interview

What is perception, what is reality?

Identifying what is perception or what is reality is not that relevant in this case: Very often perceptions lead to beliefs and beliefs influence our behaviors which impact our results. Indeed our brain tends to make us search for reasons and is very fast to adopt them as reality and tends to find strategies to reinforce the beliefs over the time, conducting to the reinforcement of the outcome itself.

Imagine someone who perceived his/her application rejections as signs that he or she is not looking in the right sectors. They may start believing that other sectors are easier or offer more opportunities. From that moment onwards each time, they will be looking for job ads, their attention will be directed to the other sectors where they’ll find some openings. They might adjust their target (behavior change) and start applying in sectors that are less related to their experience and skill set and will eventually face even more rejections which may push them to broaden even more their search field. As a result, their unique selling points as applicant risk to be diluted and they will more and more question themselves on what the right career path for them is.

Of course, in some cases, that could be a reality, the sector they are targeting is no longer the right one for them but at the end, whatever it is perception or reality, the outcome is very similar.

Similar courses of events apply whatever is the difficulty perceived.

In coaching we work on bringing clarity, on making sense of perceptions, emotions and thoughts, on challenging beliefs and see if they could be replaced by more empowering one in relation to the objective to find a job, so that our coachees can reconnect to their personal resources, their resilience and mobilize their cognitive power and emotional intelligence to make concrete steps and embrace a cycle where results are aligned on objectives.

A career coach is someone who can challenge and mobilize the coachees and also, provide them with tools, method and intelligence to perform toward the set objective.

Financial support to study for a Swiss federal certificate or diploma

Courses to prepare for a federal professional examination or higher federal professional examination can be partially reimbursed by the Swiss Confederation. This also includes courses leading to a certificate, providing that this certificate is mentioned as a condition to take the targeted federal degree examination.

What are the federal professional degrees?

1-The federal specialist certificate (Brevet Federal- Eidgenössischen Fachausweis)

The federal specialist certificates are aimed at deepening knowledge in a given profession or at building a specific expertise on top of an initial education. Candidates must already have several years of experience in the related professional field. Those who pass these examinations are awarded a federal certificate.

2- The federal diploma (Diplôme fédéral- Eidgenössisches Diplom)

The purpose of the higher professional examinations is twofold: to qualify professionals as experts in their field and to prepare them to management roles. These examinations are also aimed at graduates of universities and higher education schools who wish to deepen and broaden their professional qualifications. Candidates who pass a higher professional examination receive a federal diploma.

Education Courses

Candidates for the professional and higher professional degrees can follow upstream courses in parallel with a professional activity. These courses are optional. They allow participants to prepare for the examinations according to their own needs and personal situation.

Education courses are organized by cantonal educational institutions, training centres, professional associations and private training providers. 

The structure of the preparatory courses varies from profession to profession. Most last between two and three semesters. They take place during the day, in the evening or at weekends. The number of years of professional experience also play the decisive role in the acquisition of operational skills.

Which courses are concerned by the financial support of the Swiss confederation?

The eligible courses are listed on the SERI (State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation) website.

The 4 main conditions to benefit from the financial support:

1.    Be domiciled in Switzerland. The nationality of the participants is irrelevant.

2.    The course needs to be registrated in the SEFRI course list 

3.    The provision of a proof of payment: participants shall submit, firstly, invoices in their own name and, secondly, certificates of payment of the relevant course fees paid for the preparatory course(s) concerned.

4. Take the federal exam: Be present for the examination itself. Success to the examination is not a criteria for reimbursement.

Rm. In principle, it is not possible to obtain the federal financial support for university continuing education offers such as Master of Advanced Studies (MAS), Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS) and Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) . The offers of higher education (ES) and postgraduate studies are not eligible for this financial support as they are already financed by the Swiss cantons.

Find here more details about the condition.

When to apply for the financial support?

The full course fee must be paid upfront by the participant himself or herself (or in some cases by the employer). Participants submit their reimbursement request after passing the federal review.

How much is the financial support?

People who have attended a course receive a 50% refund of the course fees taken into consideration. The upper limit is set at CHF 9’500 for a professional examination (course fee: CHF 19’000) and CHF 10’500 for a higher professional examination (course fee: CHF 21’000).

How does it work with the tax declaration?

The amount of the federal grant should be reported under « Other Income » in the tax declaration. The course fees and the grant must be declared for the fiscal period concerned. When they relate to the same fiscal period, they offset each other.

How to apply?

The application is online: https://feds.eiam.admin.ch/adfs/ls/. Rm. You should first register yourself as a new user via the option «CH-LOGIN».

Are you challenged by the current situation?

You may be stuck in your apartment or house.
You may be surrounded by too many people, children, spouses, even pets that sometimes are too much.
You may have much more work than normal, with too many people to take care of, too many meals to cook, and cleaning after everyone.
You may feel stressed because everyone wants your attention, all the time.
You may need some time alone and do not dare to say it.
You are not in your usual routine and cannot get anything done!

Have you asked yourself, which is your main challenge in all of this?

Dealing with the daily practical aspects of the lockdown is not an easy thing to do. Especially, if you are supposed to be looking for a job and taking care of your own career. Now at first it sounded like a good idea, your partner is at home and can help with the household and some of the children’s homework (he always claims being the one that is good at math, after all!).
After a few days, however, many of us live through the first realities of being in the same place all the time. Every minute and every room are filled with people and tasks. We all ask ourselves; how can I deal with it. We have no practice, experience and everyone reacts differently to it.

You may be someone who thrives when you can exchange and bounce ideas off others. Extroverts tend to think out loud and find ideas and solutions when they have someone to speak to. You may feel isolated and trapped with too many ideas and energy to waste. Ideally, you have a good network with like-minded others that is easily transferred to an online community. All your connections are here for you at a fingertip, ready to exchange emotions and thoughts; tools such as WhatsApp and Slack are your life savers, and you are bound to be attached to a screen at all times. If you are anything like me, you may also ramp up on creative outlets, and stash up your watercolor box or buy a new pen for the novel you always wanted to write!
Those among us who prefer thinking in peace and quiet will feel that their private space is invaded by other members of the household. It can be crucial for you to find your own corner where you enjoy your precious me-time. You will be more efficient and focused on the tasks ahead when you are centered with yourself. Load up your favorite music, put your shoes on and volunteer to walk the dog. And why not use it as a mindful walking meditation exercise.

Some tips that are useful to organize your home:

*listen to everyone’s needs and set routines that help everyone to adjust in their own time
*prepare meal lists and meals ahead of time; there are more people at home so you may need to prepare more food which takes you out of your routine
*divide chores and house-work duties; there are more people, more mess, more everything
*generate fun areas and work areas in your house so that things can be separated and routines are kept. Also keep fun time and work time slots
*be sure that to make room for some alone time and keep to it. Even if you are an extreme extrovert it can be too crowded in your house at the moment, it will help to keep your mental sanity
*exercise and move within the house, your garden, or staircase; you may not be moving as much as usual. Trust me, there are plenty of fun online tools to help you keep up a certain shape
*do not overload on negative news, keep a certain mental hygiene and remain reasonable, e.g. stop watching the news before going to bed, it may be interfering with a healthy amount of sleep that you need right now

Some tips for those who work at home:

*have some ground rules and communicate it to everyone; you need some time to get something done and are unavailable for two hours? Close the door, and let them know that you are busy and they are welcome with questions after you are done (same for pets, do not let even the cutest puppy distract you)
*dress to impress, even if its for a phone call to your colleagues
*keep a dedicated work-space, you will not have to search for pens, notebook, phone charger, etc. if it is kept in one place. If you are using the kitchen table, clean it completely after you are done. This avoids mixing up work and fun slots
*make yourself a realistic to do list, and keep in mind that you will be more interrupted or distracted than usually
*view everyone in the house are coworkers; its more fun to think of them as your working buddies during work hours. E.g. be a family at lunch, then go back to work. If you miss your work colleagues, propose an occasional online coffee break
*when you concentrate, turn off notifications from your devices, maybe use a pomodoro app that mutes them, keep short but efficient work sprints between 25-60 min

Seek out for a coach for support and to help you find your individual solutions.

Nadja Feddermann
job4U2

About the author:
Nadja Feddermann helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes.

What unemployment benefits for professionals owning a B/C Swiss permit?

Because of the uncertainty of the ongoing crisis, you might be confronted to recurring internal conversations starting with “what if….” and their related lots of fears.
A big part of anxiety might feed upon a lack of information on the swiss unemployment system and your rights and obligations.

This article provides some basic information about unemployment benefits for non-Swiss nationals in Switzerland.

What are the conditions to benefits from unemployment compensations when made redundant?

You are legally allowed to live and work in Switzerland. This implies you have valid residence permit: For EU-27/EFTA nationals, a B permit is valid for 5 years. If you are unemployed at the time of renewal, you could see the prolongation set to one year instead of 5. For professionals from so-called third states (nationals from neither EU/EFTA member states nor Switzerland), a B permit is renewed from one year to the next and is tied to the employer. In case of unemployment, a renewal would not be granted. C permit are for an unlimited period, no conditions are attached nor for EU or EU citizen.

You have been employed for at least twelve months during the previous two years (or twelve months during the previous four years, if you have a child under ten to whom you dedicated your time) and during this period, you have paid ALV/AVS contributions. For EU counties citizen, the periods of insurance or employment in a member state of the European Union (EU) can be taken into account, as long as the last employment was in Switzerland and you have received the form 716.103 from your employer.

You have earned at least 500 CHF a month before registering as unemployed.

How to claim unemployment benefits?
  • You register, in person, at your local unemployment office (RAV/RP) in your respective canton.
  • You provide the requested forms and documents (working contracts, salaries slips, dismissal letters, 716.103 form, birth certificates of the kids)
  • You are actively searching for a new job ad can demonstrate this.
How is the unemployment benefit amount calculated and what’s the maximum duration?

As a rule, the benefit is 70% of the insured earnings up to a maximum of CHF 12’350/month if you do not have dependent children under the age of 25 in Switzerland or abroad and 80% if you do.

As a standard calculation basis, the average salary of the last 6 months is taken as the basis for the calculation unless the average salary of the last 12 months of contributions proves to be more advantageous for you.

Rm. Only the salaries (or the part of the salaries) bellow Fr. 12’350/month or Fr. 148’200/year (12 x Fr. 12’350) are insured for unemployment.

If you are a EU citizen and comply to the above requirements, In case you worked at least 4 weeks in Switzerland before becoming unemployed, the amount of the daily allowance in the event of unemployment is in principle calculated on the basis of the wage that the unemployed person received in the last country of employment.

The duration of the entitlement to the unemployment compensation range from 9 to 24 months depending on how long you have contributed during the last 2 years before you request the compensation. (It is the duration of the employment relationship certified by the employer that is decisive, not the number of days worked).

Remain sharp and intellectually stimulated, take part in a mastermind group

Mastermind groups are mentoring groups used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members. Members challenge each other to set and accomplish strong goals.

There are 2 main different types of Mastermind groups
  • Peers to peers Mastermind Groups
    A peer-driven mastermind group is a small group of 3 to 6 individuals who are at roughly the same level in their journey and where everyone feels like they can give and receive roughly the same amount of value in their group.
    Such peers to peers groups are very often self-organized. They set their own agenda and bring together people of their choosing. They can either be about a broad industry theme or a specific goal theme.
  • Expert-led Mastermind Groups
    These mastermind groups size can range from 4 to 20 people.
    In this setting, the expert often has the leader role and is often two or more steps ahead of the members of the group in a field of expertise or in professional seniority.
    These groups are often paid membership groups with recurring fees. They are mainly reputed, established organizations that are not open to just anyone and everyone. They may have exclusive criteria when selecting new members.

These types of mastermind groups are based on mentor-mentee coaching relationship, but instead of a one-to-one mentoring experience, more people are involved in the mentoring sessions.

People interested in joining a mastermind group have 2 options:

  • Join an existing mastermind group.
    In such case, they need to explore what are the groups that will be interesting for them and what are the pre-requisites and access conditions.A few organisations offer an overview of the mastermind groups they host. The Success Alliance does. Meetup is also a good place to identify already formed master mind groups, so is LinkedIn.
  • Create their own Mastermind group.
    A wide range of guides and tips is available online to help getting started with the creation of your new mastermind group. Creating and animating a Mastermind group required group facilitation skills. It could be interesting, especially when considering starting an expert-led Mastermind group and even more, when participation fees will be requested, to follow a targeted course to become a certified Mastermind facilitator. Amongst other organizations, The Success Alliance and the Mastermind Business Academy are providing such education in English.