We’ve just released the results of our latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey, this year covering the views of over 20,000 expats from around the world.
The responses we received have been used to create three key league tables that together make up the picture for a balanced life abroad: Economics ,Experience and Family.
For the Economics league table, a number of different factors go into the rankings. These include expat’s views on their personal finances, confidence in the local economy, views on political stability, the ease of setting up a business and working life aspects such as career progression and job security.
Below is a ranking of the top 10 countries for expat Economics in the world, as revealed in this year’s survey starting at number 10…
10. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a strong economic destination and particularly attractive to expats working in financial services (39% of expats surveyed in Hong Kong work in this industry). It has the best career progression opportunities of any destination with 68% of expats stating it is a good place for this and 86% saying that the chance to acquire new skills is better than or just as good as at home. As well as employees, entrepreneurs can benefit, as 54% say Hong Kong is a good place to start a business.
It seems that Oman offers the best of both worlds when it comes to expats enjoying increased disposable income and a better work life balance. Our survey reveals that 72% of expats there say they have more disposable income compared with the global average of 57%. Meanwhile 65% say they enjoy a better work life balance (compared with the global average of 50%).
For expats in Bahrain, this small Kingdom in the Persian Gulf offers a place for expats to both save more and enjoy higher disposable incomes. Expats in Bahrain are nearly one and a half times more likely than the global average to say they are able to save more and 72% say they have more disposable income compared with 57% of the global average.
7. Saudi Arabia
More than any other country in the league tables, expats associate Saudi Arabia with the financial side of life. Nearly three-quarters (73%) say this is the most important aspect of life when making the move. The country offers expats strong contractual benefits, a lower cost of living and a strong economy (68% say this is the case).
Flickr - Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho
With Sweden’s more relaxed workplace culture and flexible working practices it is no surprise that over 72% expats say their work life balance has improved since moving there. Despite earning less than some of the other countries in our top 10 list, expats enjoy the working culture and making the most out of the free time they have. One thing our survey clearly highlights is how 60% of expats in Sweden say they have seen their relationship strengthened since relocating.
Beyond the country’s mesmerising sand dunes, many expats in Qatar gain from generous expat packages that help them to settle into their new surroundings. Three quarters of expats say they receive a relocation allowance from employers, which helps them to acclimatise to their new home and settle in quicker. You can also take a look at our Qatar Expat Country Guide for more great tips on moving, living and working in the emirate.
4. United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, and more specifically Dubai, offer budding entrepreneurs a promising location to realise their business dreams. 86% of expat entrepreneurs in Dubai say it is a good place to start a business.
As well as entrepreneurs, expats working in the UAE also benefit from increased disposable income and workplace benefits such as travel and healthcare allowances – 88% of expats in Dubai say they get allowances for annual trips home compared with the global average of 33%, while 72% say they have medical allowances as part of their employment contract (compared with 52% elsewhere).
Germany ranks third in this year’s Economics league table. In a country known for its strong financial and manufacturing industries, four in five expats are confident about the German economy. Not only do expats feel secure about the country’s prospects, it also stands out as a place for career progression. Around half say they’ve been able to advance their career since moving there.
Expats heading to Singapore enjoy a combination of financial and career advantages. Our results show that three in five expats in the city-state have boosted their earnings. Over a quarter (28%) of expats there earn more than $200,000, compared with just 13% globally and over half believe the opportunity to acquire new skills is greater in Singapore than it is at home.
With Singapore as one of Asia’s key financial hubs offering robust economic and financial fundamentals, it is no surprise that 78% of expats there express high levels of confidence in the local economy.
Switzerland is number one this year for expat economics. A strong local economy and wonderful opportunities for work progression make Switzerland an ideal destination for career-minded types. As well as the opportunity to progress careers and increase earnings, as noted by 53% and 65% of expats in Switzerland respectively, three in four expats also say they also have the chance to enjoy life outside of work.
Discover more about the best places to live and work abroad. Visit the HSBC Expat Explorertool to browse the 2015 survey data and see how different countries compare.