Employment and working conditions

Employment and working conditions in international cooperation differ considerably between employers. The position and its responsibilities, and the financial strength and philosophy of the organisation are decisive factors.

Conditions generally differ between positions in Switzerland and abroad. You should consider the whole package of benefits, not just the salary.

Length of contract

In international cooperation, employment contracts for positions abroad are usually limited, often for between two to three years. Positions at the headquarters in Switzerland are generally unlimited. In some multilateral organisations, contracts are renewed annually.

Salary and allowances for living costs

Approaches vary considerably from a professional salary in Switzerland through to compensation based on local living costs and the social situation of the posting. There are many levels and variations, including in non-monetary forms such as free accommodation.

Benefits, insurance and pension

In Swiss organisations these benefits conform to national standards, although anything beyond this is not regulated consistently. Multilateral and non-Swiss organisations have their own standards. We strongly recommend you to make sure you obtain precise clarifications and receive a contractual agreement.

Personal contributions

Some organisations in the fields of voluntary work and tourism do not pay salaries but cover costs. In all cases, these should be linked to service provision.

Additional and partner agreements

Some organisations in the area of voluntary work and tourism do not pay a salary but expect significant personal contributions (e.g., costs related to preparation) or even payment of expenses.

Additional benefits

Additional benefits are regulated in the contract and make up a complete package; for example, travel costs, domestic transport costs, vehicle use, accommodation rental, moving expenses, renting furniture in Switzerland, training costs, school fees, and travel home for holidays. The whole package of benefits should be considered.

Working conditions

Working conditions vary greatly in IC: small and large teams; teams abroad comprised mainly of nationals (for example, Swiss) or with a wide range of nationalities and cultures (for example, multilateral organisations); positions embedded in local teams (personnel development cooperation).

Regardless, the work is characterised by working together with local personnel, whether it be jobs in major cities, remote areas, relatively stable situations or conflict areas. Some contexts permit relatively stable working hours and a normal social life. Elsewhere, your social life is limited to workmates and colleagues with whom you live.

While part-time work at the headquarters in Switzerland is common, it is rarely found abroad.

Discover IC Panorama

What does international cooperation mean? In the panorama of the IC working world you will find definitions, actors and career examples.

Contact us

Do you have any questions or requests? We are gladly at your disposal.


Share this page