Singapore tops expat survey

Singapore has taken the top spot in HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer country league table for the second year running.

The 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.

More than three in five (62 per cent) expats in Singapore say it is a good place to progress their career, with the same proportion seeing their earnings rise after moving to the country (compared with 43 per cent and 42 per cent respectively of expats globally). The average annual income for expats in Singapore is US$139,000 (compared with US$97,000 across the world). Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) earn more than US$200,000. More than twice the global expat average of 11% per cent.

Overall, 66 per cent of expats agree that Singapore offers a better quality of life than their home country (compared to 52 per cent of expats globally), while three quarters (75 per cent) say the quality of education in Singapore is better than at home, the highest proportion in the world. The global average is 43 per cent.

New Zealand and Canada finished second and third in the survey, with Czech Republic and Switzerland rounding out the top five.

The 2016 Expat Explorer report also reveals that nearly a quarter of expats aged between 18 and 34 moved abroad to find more purpose in their career. This compares to 14 per cent of those aged 34-54 and only 7 per cent of those aged 55 and over. Millennials are also the most likely to embrace expat life in search of a new challenge: more than two in five (43 per cent) say this, compared with 38 per cent of those aged 34-54 and only 30 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

What’s more, far from slowing progress towards their longer term financial goals, expats find many are fast tracked by life abroad. Around two in five expats say that moving abroad has accelerated their progress towards saving for retirement or towards buying a property, compared to around one in five whose move abroad has slowed their progress towards these financial goals. Almost a third of expats say living abroad has helped them to save towards their children’s education more quickly, compared to only 15 per cent who say it has slowed them down.

Now in its ninth year, HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey 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.

Top ten countries for expats to live and work

  1. Singapore
  2. New Zealand
  3. Canada
  4. Czech Republic
  5. Switzerland
  6. Norway
  7. Austria
  8. Sweden
  9. Bahrain
  10. Germany

Article published 27th September 2016