Where expats earn the most?

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European countries are top destinations for those looking to grow their careers outside of their home countries, according to HSBC’s latest Expat Explorer survey. The survey participants are mostly high-paid expats and clients of HSBC and this methodology doesn’t enable the study to become a norm.

Based on a worldwide survey, Switzerland was ranked number one for the second year in a row, thanks to a winning combination of good pay prospects and work-life balance, as well as a positive work culture.

The average annual expat income in Switzerland is US$188,275 – nearly twice the global average of US$97,419. Besides that, 69 percent of expats in Switzerland said they saw an improvement in their work-life balance, while 61 percent said the work culture there was better than in their home country.

Country  2016 Rank Average expat salary (USD)
Switzerland 1 188,275
Germany 2 97,693
Sweden 3 84,802
United Arab Emirates 4 112,820
Norway 5 97,486
Singapore 6 138,641
Austria 7 85,288
Hong Kong 8 169,756
United Kingdom 9 83,227
Bahrain 10 98,622

The survey showed that despite Europe’s below survey average offering in expat earnings and benefits (except in Switzerland), the region in general provides a highly-attractive working environment.

Most expats in the region (52 percent) believe the European work culture is an improvement compared to their home country; especially in Sweden, where 71 percent of expats said so.

Recent graduates also reported better job prospects, job security, and work culture abroad compared to employment opportunities in their home countries.

Over 60 percent of them added that overseas work experience was a valuable addition to their résumé and would likely improve their job prospects upon returning home.

Around two-thirds of expats currently in Hong Kong and Singapore reported that the two city-states were good choices for career advancement – well above the worldwide average of 43 percent – while other expats across Asia said that they found their work more fulfilling since relocating.

HSBC commissioned the study, which involved nearly 27,000 expats from 190 countries and territories, to help evaluate the benefits of an international career. 

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