Singapore is top location for expats for second year in a row

by Ray Clancy on September 21, 2016

For the second year in a row Singapore has been named as the top location for expats worldwide, with many seeing it is a good place to progress their career and secure a good salary.

New Zealand comes in second in the latest HSBC’s Expat Explorer country league table, then Canada, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Austria, Sweden, Bahrain and Germany making up the top 10 of the rankings, which cover 45 countries across the globe.

singaporeThe survey found that expats in Singapore enjoy some of the world’s best financial rewards and career opportunities, while benefiting from an excellent quality of life and a safe, family friendly environment. Indeed 62% of expats said they saw an increase in their earnings in Singapore.

The average annual income for expats in Singapore is US$139,000 compared with US$97,000 across the world, while 23% earn more than US$200,000, which is more than twice the global expat average of 11%.

Overall, 66% of expats agree that Singapore offers a better quality of life than their home country compared to 52% of expats globally, while three quarters say the quality of education in Singapore is better than at home, the highest proportion in the world with the global average 43%.

Now in its ninth year, Expat Explorer is the largest and one of the longest running surveys of expats, with 26,871 respondents sharing their views on life abroad including careers, financial wellbeing, quality of life and ease of settling for children.

The 2016 Expat Explorer report also reveals that millennials are drawn to expat life to find more purpose in their careers. Some 22% of expats aged 18 to 34 moved abroad to do so compared to 14% of those aged 34 to 54 and only 7% of those aged 55 and over.

Millennials are also the most likely to embrace expat life in search of a new challenge with 43% seeking such an experience compared with 38% of those aged 34 to 54 and only 30% of those aged 55 and over. Millennials are finding the purpose they seek with almost half, 49%, reporting that they are more fulfilled at work than they were in their home country.

Far from slowing progress towards their longer term financial goals, expats find many are fast tracked by life abroad. Some 40% of expats say that moving abroad has accelerated their progress towards saving for retirement, 41% towards buying a property, compared to around one in five whose move abroad has slowed their progress towards these financial goals.

The research also found that 29% of expats say living abroad has helped them to save towards their children’s education more quickly, compared to only 15% who say it has slowed them down.

Switzerland ranks highly for offering unrivalled financial wellbeing and a strong economy for expats. Some 87% of expats living in Switzerland feel confident about the political stability of the country and 80% feel confident about its economy. Three quarters say the earning prospects are better in Switzerland than they are back in their home country, with an average annual income of US$188,000 while 71% are able to save more of their income.

New Zealand leads the way for an unrivalled expat experience with 83% of expats praising the country’s environment as better than in their home country and 73% saying their quality of life has improved, which compares to 52% of expats globally.

Some 72% of expats are integrating well with the local people and culture and 57% believe that New Zealand welcomes people regardless of faith, races, gender and sexual orientation better than their home country.

Sweden was ranked in particular for an excellent environment for families with 75% of expat parents in Sweden rating their children’s quality of life as better than back home, 46% saying the quality of education in Sweden is better and 72% saying it is less expensive. A similar proportion, 75%, believe the quality of childcare available in Sweden is better than it is at home.

‘Expats consistently tell us that moving abroad has helped them achieve their ambitions and long-term financial goals, from getting access to better education for their children to buying property or saving more for retirement. Most expats also find that their quality of life has improved since making the move and that they are integrating well with the local people and culture,’ said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat.

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