Want more work/life balance? Move to Switzerland, say expats

by Ray Clancy on October 22, 2014

Switzerland is ranked as the number one country by expats looking for a well-balanced, high quality lifestyle, new research has found.

In second place is Singapore, followed by China, Germany and Bahrain. The rest of the top 10 includes New Zealand, Thailand, Taiwan, India and Hong Kong.


Those living in Switzerland enjoy the very best of expat life according to a new HSBC survey

The seventh annual Expat Explorer survey commissioned by HSBC reveals that those living in Switzerland enjoy the very best of expat life, with the country ranking first out of 34 countries.

From a financial wellbeing perspective, Switzerland emerges as a destination to advance career prospects and receive a healthy salary while also maintaining a good work/life balance.

One quarter of expats in Switzerland earn more than US$200,000 per year, yet 51% report a better work/life balance since moving. Expats in Switzerland also have a lot of confidence in the local economy, with 47% saying they are very satisfied with the state of the economy, the highest proportion for any country included in this year’s survey.

Many expats in Switzerland comment on the country’s high quality of air and pleasant surroundings, with three quarters agreeing that this is an improvement on their home country.

Expat parents also report that Switzerland offers great benefits for families too. Some 81% said they believe their offspring are now safer, 77% said they enjoy a better quality of life and 65% said they receive a better education.

Asia emerges from this year’s survey as the best region for financial wellbeing, with 19% of expats earning over US$200,000 per year and 65% saying they have more disposable income since relocating.

China is home to the largest proportion of high earning expats in the world, with 38% earning over US$200,000 per year and 76% having more disposable income than they did at home.

Elsewhere in Asia, some 24% of expats in India and 23% in Hong Kong earn over the US$200,000 per year mark, with 56% and 63%, respectively, saying they have greater disposable income than before.

Some 74% of expats in the Middle East report that they are satisfied with their host country’s current economic outlook, the highest of all regions in this year’s survey.

Countries in the Middle East continue to attract career minded expats seeking to boost their earning potential, with 56% of expats who move to the Middle East doing so for better job prospects and 35% moving to increase their income levels.

But it’s not all hard work, as the survey reveals that the 62% of expats in Bahrain enjoy a better work/life balance and 68% have a more enjoyable commute into work in comparison to their home countries.

Expats this year voted New Zealand as the best destination for expat life experience and raising a family abroad. The country ranks as the easiest place for expats to set up a new life, making it a popular option for expats young and old to enjoy a high quality lifestyle.

New Zealand is the destination where expats are most likely to move in order to improve their standard of living according to 54%, as well as benefiting from the pleasant climate and picturesque scenery (89%), friendly local people (75%) and a good work/life balance (71%).

Expat parents living in New Zealand also commented on the improved health and wellbeing (78%) and safety of their children (87%), as well as saying they are bringing up more confident and well-rounded individuals (58%) since moving.

‘There are a great many decisions involved in making the move abroad, ranging from consideration of finances and managing money, right through to integrating into the local community and arranging childcare,’ said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat.

‘While Asia continues to excel as a region for those looking for higher salaries, the Middle East draws career minded expats and New Zealand offers a great opportunity for those looking for quality of life and a good place to raise a family,’ he explained.

‘This year’s Expat Explorer league table shows that there are many countries that offer a good balance, providing expats with a rewarding and exciting experience,’ he added.

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