Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Climbing the expat career ladder: the best places to work abroad

Take part in our 2016 Expat Explorer survey here.

Moving abroad can change your life in a number of ways, particularly when starting a new job. New offices, new colleagues, a new environment and a new work culture; the list of things to consider is endless.  There may be challenges along the way, but often these bring their own rewards:

“The work is hard, the hours are long and the pace is crazy, but I have loved adapting to the culture and understanding the difference in approach to different tasks.” –UK expat in Hong Kong


Our 2015 Expat Explorer Survey asked over 20,000 expats about different aspects of life abroad, including careers and the best places in the world to work. Based on the responses, we have compiled the top destinations for expat careers and created a new tool to help expats find the best places to flourish. 


At the top of the ranks is Switzerland, where expats comment on enjoying an excellent work culture coupled with strong levels of job security. Notably, almost two-thirds of expats say the country offers higher salaries than at home – perfect for expats looking to increase their pay packet whilst enjoying and adapting to a new professional culture.

“Switzerland offers a great work/life balance – it feels like a proper break when I leave work on a Friday” – British expat Switzerland

Europe stood tall among the rest of the world in the rankings, with Sweden and Germany taking second and third place respectively.

Sweden led the way on work/life balance, with the highest number of expats reporting an improvement compared to their home country. A report released by the Swedish Institute reinforces this principle. ‘The Swedish Approach to Fairness’[1] highlights several ways in which the country’s welfare system is geared towards encouraging a balanced lifestyle, notably through generous parental leave and equality at work.

Europe ranks one of the top places for job security – with four of the five of the top countries located on the continent. Expats in Germany say they feel secure in their role following their move abroad. This is to be expected considering Germany is the fourth-largest economy in the world – a thriving source of innovation that dominates European economics.

“Life is Germany is exciting and interesting, opening up new possibilities and opportunities” – British expat in Germany

Countries from Asia and the Middle-East rank from fifth through to ninth place – led by Singapore and followed closely by the UAE, Bahrain, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. These countries offer an appealing combination of strong earnings prospects and sought-after benefit packages. Over two-thirds of expats in Qatar earn more than they did at home, and nearly every expat in Saudi Arabia receives at least one benefit from their employer. Expats in the Middle East are also encouraged to visit friends and family back home, with twice as many (67%) in the region receiving airfare allowances in comparison to the global average (33%).



“A great opportunity for growth and challenges” – Australian expat in Qatar

At fourth place in our league table is Russia, where sixty-two percent of expats said there is a better opportunity to acquire new skills and find more fulfilling work. Over two thirds (69%) said they found it easy to form new friendships since moving to Russia, which can help a new country feel more like home both professionally and personally. 


Did you agree with our 2015 careers ranking? Have your say in next year’s results by sharing your views in our 2016 Expat Explorer survey today: https://start.yougov.com/refer/vysfh7HYcJdChF?&source=1 

The Expat Explorer survey, now in its eighth year, is the world's largest independent global expat survey. Commissioned by HSBC Expat and conducted by a third party research company YouGov, 21,950 expats based in over 100 countries were questioned between March and May 2015. In order to be included, each country had to reach a minimum sample size of 100 expat respondents.


This information does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are not the views of HSBC and are subject to change.


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