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Living in London vs Zurich: Which To Choose?

If you are planning on moving to a city with the highest salaries in Europe, most likely Zurich and London have crossed your mind. These two cities are popular destinations, thanks to their amazing job opportunities, excellent multicultural atmosphere, and high employment rates. 

This article helps you choose the best option between Zurich and London. It discusses the various aspects of life in each city, such as quality of life, cost of living, salaries, jobs, housing, healthcare, people, and activities you can engage in while in the cities.

Living in London vs Zurich

Zurich and London are amazing cities with a lot to offer. Still, before settling in either of them, you need to consider the following differences: 

Quality of life 

According to Mercer’s quality of living ranking, Zurich has one of the highest living standards globally. It has one of the best public transport systems ensuring that you can move from one place to another within a very short time. 

There are numerous outdoor activities that you can enjoy in Zurich, such as camping, skiing, and hiking. Additionally, you can participate in low-cost yoga classes, sports facilities, and musical performances offered at numerous places around the city.

On the other hand, London ranks among the cities with the highest quality of life, according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Its transport system is efficient, with choices ranging from buses, trains, and ferries. 

London is home to some of the world’s best schools, both at the high school and university levels. Some schools you can consider in this city include Imperial College and Westminster School.

Both cities have low crime rates at less than 5%, and rules govern everything, making it easy to know what is allowed or forbidden.

Cost of living 

No one can describe the cost of living in Zurich as cheap, but it’s a bargain compared to London, which is 11% more expensive. As a single person in London, you are likely to spend about £2,014 per month, and if you have a family, expect to use around £3,564.

Below is a table showing the cost of various essential items in Zurich:

ItemLondonZurich
Meals from an average restaurant£20£21
Transport monthly pass£188£88
Internet£31£42
Fitness club(Monthly enrollment)£45£73
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center£1,786£1,690
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center£1,294£1,287
Preschool daycare per month£2,363£1,582
Source: www.teleport.org

Jobs

According to a study by PwC, London has the highest number of job opportunities globally. Some of the most in-demand jobs in this city are in the following fields:

  • Transport
  • Tourism
  • Education
  • Healthcare 
  • Public administration
  • Construction

Read this guide on in-demand jobs in London.

Though London has a high number of jobs, it also has the highest unemployment rate compared to other cities in the country. This high unemployment rate is due to its high population hence an excessive number of applications for a single position. 

To get a well-paying job in London, you must be good at written and spoken English. However, the city is multicultural; therefore, having an additional language, such as German, will give you a higher advantage over other job seekers.

https://russianvagabond.com/how-to-get-a-job-in-london-as-an-american/

There are numerous methods of finding a job in London, such as using an employment agency, searching in the newspaper, and asking around. However, the most common and efficient method is searching on the following websites:

According to statistics, Zurich has a 2.1% unemployment rate, the lowest among European cities. Not everyone has the same chances of getting a job in Zurich; if you are in the following industries, you are likely to find a job faster:

  • Banking
  • Chemicals 
  • Insurance
  • Watch manufacturing
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Food retail

To find a job in Zurich, use the following platforms: 

  • LinkedIn: This website has exciting job opportunities for English speakers and foreigners in various industries.
  • Eures: A European job mobility portal that offers numerous job opportunities for EU nationals job seekers. 
  • Job websites: You can use websites such as Jobscout 24, Jobwinner, Monster, StepStone, and JobUp to find advertised jobs.
https://russianvagabond.com/list-of-most-demanded-jobs-in-switzerland/

Salaries

In Zurich, most employees earn a monthly income of between €4,944 and €6,929 and an annual one that ranges from €79,119 to €98,893.

There is no specific minimum wage in Zurich, but the least monthly salary is between €2,800 and €5,300 for skilled workers and from €2,172 to €4,148 for unskilled employees.

Zurich has among the lowest tax rates on salaries, with a 10% and 30% deduction from the gross pay. Some of the taxes deducted from one’s salary in Zurich include federal income tax, federal taxes, and church tax.

Learn about salaries and taxes in Zurich in the dedicated article.

For example, if you are a single person without children and are less than 25 years old, with a gross salary of €98,893, you’re entitled to the following taxes deductions from your pay:

  • Cantonal tax: €4,831 
  • Personal tax: €24
  • Communal tax: €5,749
  • Direct federal tax: €1,877
  • Social tax: €10,226
  • Total tax: €22,707

The salaries in Zurich vary depending on one’s occupation, as illustrated by the table below:

OccupationSalary
Dentist€136,890
Finance manager€112,701
IT manager€103,320
Chef€40,000
Receptionist€50,234
Nurse€60,000
Source: www.teleport.com
https://russianvagabond.com/what-is-a-good-salary-in-zurich/

In London, the average gross income is £4,475, and the annual salary isn’t less than £53,700. As a single person, this amount is enough to cater for your groceries, rent, regular takeaway food, and transport. 

Read about salaries in London in the dedicated article.

In London, income taxes depend on your salary and band, as shown by the table below:

BandTaxable income (£)Tax rate
Personal allowance Up to 12,5700%
Basic12,571 – 50,27020%
Higher50,271 – 150,00040%
Additional rateOver 150,00045%
Source: www.gov.uk

The amount you earn in London varies depending on your occupation. Below is a table showing the average salary for various careers in the country:

OccupationSalary
Physician£70,938
Finance manager£62,900
Attorney£74,344
Account manager£46,988
Waiter£19,674
Source: www.payscale.com
https://russianvagabond.com/what-is-a-good-salary-in-london/

People

Londoners are polite and mind their business, especially in public places. They are not so outwardly friendly, which may feel strange at first. For example, you are likely to walk for about 30 minutes on a busy street without getting a hello or wave from a stranger or neighbor.

In Zurich, people are welcoming and warm despite the high population of over 400,000 people. There is a lot of intimacy and familiarity, which brings a great sense of community. 

Housing 

In London, houses are expensive; the average monthly cost of renting a home is £1,846, and buying one costs around £221,519.

Below is a table indicating the average cost of renting and buying various houses in London:

Type of houseMonthly renting costBuying cost
One-bedroom apartment (city center)£1,662£450,089
One-bedroom apartment (outside of the city center)£1,272£365,000
Three-bedroom apartment (city center)£3,188£825,080
Three-bedroom apartment (outside of city center)£2,081£550,000
Source: www.data.london.gov.uk – London housing report

You can also read about how to rent in London as a foreigner to inform yourself better.

In Zurich, there are numerous decent houses, but they are excessively expensive. The price of a house depends on location; if a home is outside the city center, it costs less, while if it’s within, its price can be pretty high. 

Below is a table showing the average cost of renting and buying a house in Zurich:

Type of houseCost
One-bedroom apartment in the city center£1,971 per month
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center£1,506 per month
Price per square meter to buy an apartment outside the city center£11,150
Price per square meter to buy an apartment in the city center£16,587
Source: numbeo.com

In addition to the rental prices above, you need to factor in a three-month rent deposit when first moving into the property. This money is kept in a separate account under the landlord’s name and is given back to you at the end of the tenancy contract.

You can use numerous methods to find a house in Zurich, such as asking around, using a real estate agent, checking the newspaper, or using online platforms like homegate, immostreet, and immoscout24.

The tenancy in Zurich is usually on contract terms, and either the tenant or landlord can terminate it. Both parties have to agree on the termination; otherwise, either party can file a complaint in court within 30 days.

Healthcare

Zurich has an outstanding healthcare system and high standard healthcare system, which consists of both private and public facilities.

In Zurich, the healthcare facility deducts healthcare costs from one’s contributions to the Swiss health insurance schemes. Therefore, everyone in Zurich must have a health insurance policy with a recognized insurance company like Allianz Care or Cigna Global to receive treatment.  

Most people in Zurich opt for a basic healthcare cover, and because it doesn’t cover certain things like dental visits, they complement it with private health insurance. 

Read more about health insurance in Switzerland.

In Zurich, you need to pay the first £297 each year for any excess medical treatment. Some insurances cover the extra medical treatment annually, but it’s limited to £692 for adults and £296 for children. 

According to reports, London has one of the best healthcare systems globally. Unlike other European cities, healthcare in London is free, thanks to the National Health Service (NHS).

Though the healthcare system in London is free, there are things it doesn’t cover, such as dental visits. Therefore, it’s advisable to have a healthcare insurance policy from a registered company like Cigna Global or Aviva.

The table below shows the average charges to expect for healthcare services in London:

ServiceAverage cost
Prescription charges£8.95
3-month PPC (prescription prepayment certificate)£31.26
Dental charges£23.90 – £284.90
12-month PPC£109.1
Source: www.ons.gov.uk – UK national statistics 

Things to do 

London

London is full of numerous iconic places you can visit during your stay there. Some of the most exciting things that you can enjoy in these places include:

Swim in Hampstead Ponds

If you are looking for a place to cool down from London’s scorching sun, then Hampstead Heath is the place to visit. In these ponds, you are free to engage in life-guarded, open swimming throughout the year.

This pond operates on a member-only basis; therefore, before planning your visit, apply for membership. Though open throughout the year, the Hampstead heath ponds management doesn’t provide a lifeguard during winter. 

Party at Notting Hill Carnival

Since 1966, London has hosted the largest street party every year on the streets of Notting Hill. This event celebrates the Caribbean communities, their traditions, and cultures. Enjoy amazing dances, live music, and exquisite Caribbean dishes during this event.

Take a walk within Little Venice

Your trip to London is not complete without a visit to this special spot called Little Venice which is full of ponds, rivers, and lakes. Here you can enjoy the seafood at the great summerhouse, a cruise to Camden, and a cup of tea at the cafe near Clifton Nurseries. 

Zurich

Zurich is a beautiful city with something for everyone to enjoy! During your visit to this magnificent city, you can engage in the following activities: 

Take a cruise at lake Zurich

When in Zurich, take a cruise at the famous lake Zurich as you enjoy the city’s magnificent view. The cruise has eight stops and a floating restaurant where you can enjoy meals, drinks, and snacks. The rides vary in length, ranging from 55 to 80 minutes. 

Climb the Uetliberg mountain

Zurich is home to Uetliberg mountain, which is easily accessible by train. When at the top of this mountain, you’ll have a fantastic city view, especially during the night under the lights. 

Visit the museum of fine arts (Kunsthaus Zürich)

When in Zurich, ensure that you visit the best art museum in Europe, especially if you are an art enthusiast. This museum has extensive collections of works by famous artists such as Magritte, Mirò, and Max Ernst. You can also purchase artworks from your favorite artist on the ground floor.

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