Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to break out of your comfort zone? A surefire way to do this is to work and live in a country and culture that is different from your home. To that end, HSBC Bank commissioned a survey of nearly 27,000 expats from more than 100 countries to determine the best places to pursue a career abroad.
Of the employees polled, 15 percent specified that they moved because their employer asked them to, while 25 percent said they moved to improve their job prospects and 37 percent were after a new challenge. Because different people have different career priorities, the survey examined various factors including salary, work-life balance and how each country approaches company culture.
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Based on all of these elements, the country that ranks highest for its career potential is Switzerland. The average income for expats in Switzerland is $188,275, compared to a global average of $97,419. Sixty-nine percent of expats in Switzerland claim that they’ve improved their work-life balance since moving there, and 61 percent prefer the work culture in Switzerland to that of their home nation.
Following Switzerland, the countries that round out the top 10 are: Germany, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Norway, Singapore, Austria, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Bahrain.
As a region, the Middle East is reportedly the best when it comes to employee benefits. Ninety-one percent of employees get at least one benefit, while the global average is 67 percent. A full three-quarters of expats in the UAE receive health-care benefits.
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More than 60 percent of expats in both Singapore and Hong Kong agree that these countries offer a lot of room for career development, but 50 percent of expats who moved to Hong Kong and 30 percent of those in Singapore reveal that they struggle with work-life balance. On the flip side, expats in both Norway (87 percent) and Austria (71 percent) report a strong sense of work-life balance.
While the United Kingdom was 18th on the ranking in 2015, it jumped several spots to 9th in 2016. It’s also the country with the largest proportion of survey respondents (64 percent) who said they were able to develop more new skills than they could have in their home country. (HSBC notes that the survey was conducted before the Brexit vote on June 24, 2016.)