Which countries offer expat women the best career prospects?

The community for expats, InterNations, ranked the top ten countries around the world for career prospects for expat women, ranking the countries by salary, career satisfaction, working hours and more.

Skyline view of Mexico City
The expat lifestyle continues to draw women from around the world, with almost one quarter (24 per cent) attracted for work-related reasons, according to InterNations, a network for people who live and work abroad. 

Expat experience for women

More than half the women that work abroad (51 per cent) are satisfied with their career opportunities. However, one-third of them (33 per cent) state that their income abroad is lower than what they would make in a similar job at home In their latest Expat Insider survey, InterNations interviewed 7,000 female expats living in 168 countries. The network ranked the top ten countries for women to pursue a career as an expat.

The top ten countries for female expats:

1. Mexico – Two-thirds of women working in Mexico (67 per cent) state they are satisfied with their job. One German expat pointed out that Mexico offers “an environment where expats have a good standing”. However, working long hours is a negative factor for 26 per cent of women there.
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 29 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 68 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 45 hours
2. Myanmar – The country is at the top of the chart when it comes to female expats having a high enough household income to cover everything they need; in fact, 39 percent even have more than enough to cover their basic needs, which is more than four times the global average (9 per cent).
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 46 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 70 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 45.5 hours
3. Cambodia – Offers the highest level of satisfaction (82 per cent) for working hours and job security (75 per cent). A female expat from Russia said, “There are so many ways to develop yourself and try yourself in different spheres.”
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 33 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 63 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 42.4 hours
4. Bahrain – The majority of expats working in Bahrain (93 per cent) work full time, however, they work the fewest hours out of the top-10 destinations. Most workingwomen in Bahrain are satisfied with their work-life balance (77 per cent).
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 65 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 65 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 40.9 hours
5. New Zealand – With just above one-third (34 per cent), New Zealand has the highest share of women working only part time. One of the reasons for this might be that a large share of them moved in order to increase their quality of life (28 per cent), while only four per cent named work-related reasons as their main motivation. However, those who work are highly satisfied with their work-life balance (74 per cent), their job security (71 per cent), and their job in general (76 per cent).
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 53 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 61 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 41.8 hours 
6. Kazakhstan – More than half of the women living in Kazakhstan (53 per cent) moved for work-related reasons. An expat from Georgia said she enjoy living in Kazakhstan because she had, “the job that I like and being valued as a good professional”.
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 62 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 67 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 45 hours
7. UK – The fields of work are more diverse for expat women in Britain, InterNations said. However, 80 per cent of respondents said they earned less than 75,000 US dollars per year, which some said isn’t enough to cover their daily necessities.
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 51 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 67 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 41.1 hours 
8. US – “The career opportunities are incredible,” says an expat from Canada living in the US. Close to one in six expat women (16 per cent) say they have a yearly gross household income of more than 150,000 US dollars, which is twice the global average (8 per cent). The satisfaction with working hours however is the lowest out of the top 10 countries (52 per cent).
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 62 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 64 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 43 hours 
9. Kenya – A majority of women working in Kenya were sent abroad by their employer (20 per cent), compared to only seven percent globally. However, expats in Kenya face long hours and jobs that are not necessarily secure – only 48 percent state to be satisfied with the latter (57 per cent globally). Income is a major attraction with 16 percent has a gross household income of more than 150,000 US dollars per year.
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 36 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 60 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 46.4 hours 
10. Ireland – In Ireland, a majority of women (14 per cent) work in healthcare, which is twice the global average of female expats in that field (7 per cent). “It is easier to find job opportunities here,” states an expat from Romania. Moreover, they enjoy a high job security (64 per cent) and, with fewer hours per week than the global average, they are also satisfied with their work-life balance (69 per cent).
  • Possibility of a higher salary abroad: 51 per cent
  • Career prospect satisfaction: 63 per cent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 41 hours

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