Singapore is world's best expat destination for third straight year: Survey


In Singapore, nearly three-quarters of expats polled said the city-state offers better earnings potential than their home country.
In Singapore, nearly three-quarters of expats polled said the city-state offers better earnings potential than their home country.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - Singapore is the world's best overall destination for expatriates for the third year running, but Switzerland is the place where expats draw the highest salaries.

Singapore narrowly beat Norway to the top spot. New Zealand came in third, followed by Germany in fourth place and the Netherlands in fifth.

These are the findings from HSBC's latest annual Expat Explorer report, which polled 27,587 expats across the world, including 476 foreign nationals in Singapore.

The league table ranks 46 economies using a score that summarises expats' overall views of that destination, based on 27 survey questions.

In Singapore, nearly three-quarters of expats polled said the city-state offers better earnings potential than their home country.

Indeed, they report a 42 per cent increase in their annual income since the move to an average of almost US$118,000 (S$160,000).

But life in Singapore is not cheap, especially for the 40 per cent of expats surveyed who have families.

Almost nine in 10 expat parents say childcare here is more expensive than at home. On balance though, 26 per cent of expats here feel their host city offers an excellent education system compared with only 10 per cent of expats globally.

Globally, expats have an average gross personal income each year of just under US$100,000 - 25 per cent more than they did at home. That's US$18,000 lower than the average in Singapore.

But the place that really takes the cake in expat pay is Switzerland, where they earn an average of more than US$193,000 a year - 54 per cent more than what they would draw at home.

The top five economies by expat income are Switzerland, India, China, the United States and Hong Kong.

The report also found that investing in property is particularly popular among expats in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Britain, home to some of the most expensive property markets in the world.

Separate research by Savills for HSBC showed that prime residential property currently costs about US$3,800 per square foot in Hong Kong, US$1,700 psf in London, US$990 psf in Singapore and US$590 in Dubai.

As for Singaporean nationals abroad, 70 per cent said their work/life balance has improved since they left home, compared with 53 per cent of expats globally.

Another 42 per cent of Singaporean expats said their social life is better than it was at home.