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Switzerland named the best place for a career abroad

Expats have named Switzerland as the best all-round destination for a career abroad, combining excellent earning prospects with an enjoyable work culture and enviable job security, according to research from the latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey.


Almost two thirds (65%) of expats in Switzerland say the country offers higher salaries than at home, while 53% praise the working culture and 43% feel more secure in their job.


The findings revealed that Europe provided the four best career destinations; Switzerland took the top spot, followed by Sweden, Germany and Russia. Career hotspots in Asia and the Middle East, including Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), dominate the rest of the top ten. The USA offers the best destination for careers in the Americas and ranks as tenth best overall.


The rankings look at eight key criteria to reveal which countries enable expats to thrive in their careers. These criteria are: the chance to acquire new skills, career progression, job security, actual and prospective earnings, benefits packages and work/life balance, as well as fulfilling work and the work culture.



Top 10 destinations for expat careers












United Arab Emirates




Hong Kong


Saudi Arabia



European countries top the table, and excel for expats who value the non-financial side of their career. Expats in Sweden enjoy the best work/life balance in the world, with 72% of expats there finding a better balance than at home. The UK, which ranks 20th overall, is one of the best places to develop skills, with nearly three in five (59%) expats saying the country offers them a better chance to do this.


While earning prospects for expats vary within Europe, job security in the region is rated the highest in the world. Four of the top five countries for expat job security - Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and France - are in Europe, with 59% of expats in both Germany and Sweden feeling more secure in their role after moving there.


Destinations in the Middle East offer excellent benefits packages and strong earning prospects. The majority of expats in Qatar (67%), the UAE (62%) and Bahrain (61%) say they earn more now than they did at home. HSBC say that there is more to expat employment contracts than just salary, however, and 94% of expats in Oman receive at least one benefit from their employer, more than anywhere else.


Asian countries also score highly for expats who are willing to develop their career.  Nearly two-thirds (62%) of expats in Singapore say their earning prospects are better than at home and 59% say it is a good place to progress their careers. Hong Kong performs even more strongly for these two aspects, with 68% and 63% rating it as a good destination for earning prospects and career progression respectively. Only 28% of expats in Hong Kong, however, say their work/life balance has improved.


Dean Blackburn, Head of HSBC Expat, commented, “Career success means different things to different people. It can be about rapid development and pay rises, or working in a job which challenges you. Others move abroad in search of more fulfilling work or to just find a better balance between work and life.


“According to the 22,000 expats we surveyed, Europe offers the best all-round careers experience, especially for aspects such as job satisfaction, security and a great work/life balance. Ambitious expats looking to move up the ladder will take a keen interest in Asia, while the financial rewards generally on offer in the Middle East provide an enticing prospect.


“It’s all down to what you want to get out of a career specifically during your time abroad and that’s why we created an interactive careers tool. If you want to know which country best suits your career priorities, learn about what it’s like to work in a different country or find out how to start a new career abroad, our tool could provide the answer.”

Tags: HSBC Expats

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