Singapore still best destination for expats - HSBC survey

Relocating abroad boosts average salaries by $21,000 a year, according to this year's HSBC Expat Explorer survey, published on Thursday.

Photo of Singapore's skyline
Based on responses from more than 22,000 expatriates across the world, annual salaries in the 163 countries surveyed were found to be highest in Switzerland ($202,865), the United States ($185,119) and Hong Kong ($178,706).“It absolutely is life-changing,” said John Goddard, head of HSBC Expat. “That extra income helps people prepare for their future life. Over a third say they were able to put money away for retirement. Another third say they used it get on the property ladder.”The survey found that 45 per cent of expats said their existing jobs paid more internationally and 28 per cent changed locations for a promotion.

Women not benefiting as much as men from international assignments

But the survey also found that relocating women still trailed their male counterparts in several respects. While expat women’s income was boosted by about 27 per cent - a bigger increase than men saw - their average salaries remained $42,000 lower than males'.Additionally, only about a quarter of women moved abroad in a bid to develop their careers, compared with 47 per cent of their male counterparts.
Related articles:

Singapore has everything an expat could want

Based on all criteria, including lifestyle, family experience and career prospects, in addition to finance, the survey adjudged Singapore to be the most desirable expat destination in the world for the fourth year running.“Singapore packs everything a budding expat could want into one of the world’s smallest territories,” HSBC said. "A combination of strong economic, working, family, social and wellbeing ratings makes Singapore the global leader for expats yet again this year. No matter their age, gender, circumstances, nationality or career, expats enjoying life here agree it's tough to beat."Sweden, one of the world’s most gender-equal countries, got top billing for family life, while New Zealand's “welcoming atmosphere and personal benefits that can last a lifetime” topped the experience category ahead of Spain and Taiwan.

The UK is one of the most popular expat destinations in the world

The UK  moved up five places to stand 22nd in the overall rankings. "The UK is one of the most popular expat destinations in the world, offering an attractive mix of work opportunities, culture and entertainment," said the report."You can enjoy a good quality of life in the UK, benefiting from a world-class infrastructure that includes an extensive public transport system and the National Health Service. One drawback is the high cost of living, especially in the capital and places like Aberdeen, Birmingham and Glasgow."

Expat life in the US: long hours and hard graft

At 23rd was the USA, unchanged from the 2017 rankings. While HSBC said the States was a traditional expat magnet, with many choosing to take up permanent residence, it added: "The American economy is robust and varied. Working life is often characterised by long hours and hard graft."And while there are plenty of opportunities for expats to succeed – the USA came second out of 31 countries in our 2018 Expat Explorer Survey for career progression – the corporate environment can be ruthless."A full copy of the survey can be found at Expat Explorer top 10, based on all criteria:
  1. Singapore 
  2. New Zealand 
  3. Germany
  4. Canada 
  5. Bahrain 
  6. Australia 
  7. Sweden 
  8. Switzerland 
  9. Taiwan 
  10. United Arab Emirates 
For related news and features, visit our International Assignments section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online DirectorySubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all of the international assignments and global mobility news. 

Related Articles