Packing your bags to progress a career

With global economies forever changing, we track the popularity of employees’ relocation choices and ask what are the factors that entice them beyond the promise of high earnings?

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Front cover of Relocate Ultra
This article is taken from Relocate Serviced Apartments Ultra 2018 - all the latest in Serviced Apartments news and Global Mobility trends. Access your digital copy here

Published this autumn, HSBC’s latest Expat Explorer survey reveals the most popular destinations for globally mobile employees. Based on the responses of 22,000 expatriates and
covering their 31 most favoured locations, the annual study offers insights into their experiences and motivations.Although there is no change at the top for the best place to live and work for expats this year, with Singapore holding on to the highest rank, its dominance is being seriously challenged further down the list.

Bahrain makes gains

Bahrain moves up four places to number five out of 31 countries in the survey. The promise of higher earnings and disposable income has boosted the Arabian Gulf island state’s appeal. Just under half (45%) of those surveyed moved there to improve their earnings. Close to half (48%) also report their personal income is at least 50% higher, and 80% agree they can pay off debts and save more.
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Interestingly, on the ‘economics measure’ of the Expat Explorer survey, Bahrain has overtaken financial services hub Hong Kong as its economy diversifies and expands into banking, heavy industries, retail and tourism. It is now just one place behind regional neighbour on these criteria and fellow top-10 destination overall, the UAE.

Temporary to permanent moves

When it comes to making a more permanent move, Canada and the US score highly. Ranking number four overall on HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey, Canada is aiming to attract almost one million people by 2020, making it one of the most open and friendliest destinations in the world.Further south in the rankings overall and geographically, the US’s position is unchanged from the 2017 ranking at number 23. It retains its role as a traditional expat magnet, taking second place in the survey for career progression, with many people choosing to take up permanent residence after their assignment.

Living locally

Becoming part of the local community in Canada seems easy for people who move here. Seven out of 10 say they have integrated well with local people and culture, and 51% actually spend most of their time with locals.Local living is an increasingly important perspective for expatriates and business travellers, supporting ease of integration, cross-cultural awareness and understanding. It is also a key trend in serviced apartment design and a feature of many mobile millennials’ assignment must-haves. Taiwan (1), New Zealand (2), Spain (3), Bahrain (4) and Ireland (5) do particularly well on the ‘people measures’ of making friends, integrating and safety.

The view from Europe

In Europe, three countries feature in the overall top 10: Germany (3), Sweden (7) and Switzerland (8). Germany has among the lowest average working hours in the world (26 hours a week). Almost a quarter (71%) of expatriates here enjoy improved work-life balance and career development opportunities (58%).The UK has also improved its standing among the world’s most popular expat destinations. Moving up five places to 22, it is appreciated by internationally mobile workers for its attractive mix of career opportunities, culture and entertainment, and a world-class infrastructure.However, its downsides include the high cost of living, especially in the capital and second cities such as Aberdeen, Birmingham and Glasgow. Interestingly, these are some of the key growth areas for serviced apartments.
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