In HSBC’s latest Expat Explorer Report, the company reveals some interesting insights into expat life, and expat perceptions of various countries around the world.
The Expat Explorer Survey is aimed at providing people with information when they aren’t sure where they want to move, are trying to decide between a few countries, and want to compare their home country to those in which they’re interested. To view the Survey’s results table, click here.
In the 2019 Survey, the top ranking countries were as follows:
- New Zealand
- United Arab Emirates
The countries were ranked according to criteria across 3 categories; Living (well-being and society), Aspiring (finances and ambition), and Little Expats (child-related factors).
Switzerland takes top position
Switzerland ranked highest overall, and has secured a position in the top 10 every year since 2011. An impressive 82% of expats in Switzerland have seen an improvement in their quality of life compared to their home country, with its stunning scenery a major contributing factor. Expats also praise Switzerland’s low levels of pollution, with 70% noting cleaner and more pleasant surroundings than they were used to at home. This is far higher than the global average with only 40% of all expats saying the same. Enhanced well-being doesn’t stop there. Home to Geneva, the City of Peace, Switzerland is renowned for its low crime rates and safe streets. Two-thirds (67%) of expats feel more secure there than in their home country.
Financial factors are where Switzerland continues to excel. Higher levels of disposable income are reported by 71% of expats, contributing to an average expat salary of $111,587, well above the global mean of $75,966. Expats also note the country’s remarkable levels of political and economic stability. In a year where almost half of expats globally (49%) are concerned about their country’s economic situation, only 20% in Switzerland have any such reservations, and 86% are relaxed about the country’s political status.
Expat life exceeds expectations for young professionals
Those who make the move abroad before their 35th birthday see the biggest boost in their pay packet and career potential, compared to older workers, leading to greater fulfillment and a securer financial future.
Almost half (47%) of young expats move abroad to further their career, and they are very much reaping the rewards. The majority (55%) become more confident while abroad, while more than seven in 10 (71%) learn new skills. They are also more likely to benefit from quicker promotions or move into a new career path entirely – with one in 10 even starting their own business after moving country.
Moving abroad early can also be the key to unlocking higher earnings. Four-fifths (80%) of young people aged under 35 years increase their earnings abroad. Expat Millennials can expect to see their income jump by over a third (35%), from an average global annual salary of $40,000 to just under $55,000. In comparison, for 35 to 54-year-olds, earnings increase by just under a quarter (24%), while the over 55s see a 9% increase.
With this increased windfall meaning more disposable income in the short-term, our data shows that Millennials are also thinking long-term. These expats told us home ownership was their top financial priority, with 45% of under 35s already on the property ladder.
Popular destinations for Millenials include Hong Kong, the USA, the UK, and Poland.
Tips from HSBC
The company notes that it is important to get ahead with as much admin as possible before departing. This includes not only organizing visas and sorting out financial matters and budgets, but also planning school applications and arranging healthcare services.
HSBC also suggests using the local language of your new home as soon as possible, and immersing yourself in the local culture, can allow you to develop a strong social circle and help you settle in faster. Joining interest-based clubs is one way to achieve this.
For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.