British born expats are more likely to be retired, survey finds

by Ray Clancy on November 21, 2012

Some 38% of British expats are over 55, survey shows

While in many countries the lure of increased job opportunities means that becoming an expat is most appealing in young adult life, the opposite can be said of Britons looking to move abroad, with the majority of British expats living around the world actually falling into the over 55 year age bracket.

Of the British expat community, 38% are aged 55 and over, compared to just 22% of expats falling into this age bracket worldwide, according to the 2012 HSBC expat explorer survey.

In comparison, only 15% of British expats are aged 18 to 34, compared to a global average of 32%. British born expats are also more likely to be retired than most other nationalities. While 9% of expats who completed the survey are retired, nearly 17% of British expats describe themselves as the same.

One explanation could be that many expats originally from Britain are choosing to build their career within the UK before moving abroad to capitalise on the better weather and quality of life factors that are more abundant in destinations such as France and Spain, both of which are popular destinations for British expats.

Australia is the top location for British expats looking to leave home, while the UAE remains the most popular Middle Eastern destination for those from the UK, accounting for more than one in ten of all UK expats who took part in the survey.

Also those who move away from Britain may in fact be more inclined to stay in their new country than return to the UK. Few British expats who are living and working abroad are currently planning to move back to the UK for their retirement. While 43% of expats worldwide want to move back to their home country for retirement purposes, this is only true of 23% of British expats.

In contrast, when looking at the type of expats that are attracted to the UK, it seems the country is most popular with middle aged expats. Some 46% of expats in the UK are aged between 35 and 54 years of age. As a global financial centre, it is no surprise that one in five 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%.

Nearly one in ten expats living in the UK are from either the USA or Ireland, 9% each, with those from Australia, South Africa and India also building a large proportion of the UK’s expat population at 6% each.

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