Expats living in the UK are concerned about the economy with 36% thinking it is heading in the wrong direction, according to research.
As is mirrored across much of the Eurozone economies, confidence and satisfaction in the UK economy is low. Expats in the UK are almost twice as likely to feel dissatisfied with the current state of the economy, the HSBC 2012 Expat Explorer survey reveals.
Among those that are looking to move away from the UK, some 48% cite the rising cost of living as a reason for their departure and a further 44% blame the negative economic outlook for the UK, both of which are markedly higher than the global average.
However, despite the seemingly negative outlook, expats in the UK are resilient. Some 71% of expats in the UK are looking to stay long term and only 7% are actively looking to leave the country, echoing much of the sentiment of expats across Europe.
In terms of lifestyle, expats in the UK hold a much more positive outlook. The country is currently ranked 18th out of 31 countries in this year’s Expat Explorer Experience league table, compared to 29th in 2011.
High scores for integration have helped boost this year’s score. Some 49% of expats in the UK agree that it was easy for them to make local friends and only 26% report spending more time with expat friends than locals.
As a result, 71% of expats in the UK feel they are integrating well within the local community and most, 65%, feel welcomed at work.
Integration scores could be bolstered further by the ease with which expats are able to find love in the UK, with 48% of expats in the UK having found a life partner, compared to only a global average of 33%.
The jump in the Expat Experience league tables this year could have a lot to do with the rich cultural events having taken place over the past year, which have focused the world’s gaze on the UK. The Royal Wedding of 2011, alongside the Golden Jubilee and summer of sport that took place throughout 2012 have emphasised the UK’s rich cultural heritage.
HSBC says that these events can help account for 65% of expats in the UK who associate the country with being a culturally interesting place for them to live, and 58% who enjoy the local entertainment.
The survey also shows that some 46% of those moving to the UK to live and work are aged between 35 and 54 years of age. As a global financial centre, it is no surprise that 19% of expats heading to the UK work in the banking and financial services sector.
It is likely that owing to Britain being recognised as one of the centres for higher education and academic excellence, the second most likely profession is education, 14% compared to an international average of 9%, followed by those coming to work in the healthcare sector at 8%.
Some 9% of expats living in the UK are from either the USA or Ireland, followed by 6% each from Australia, South Africa and India.