Singapore best place for expats to live and work, 5th highest for salaries: HSBC poll

Singapore packs everything a budding expat could want into one of the world's smallest territories.
Singapore packs everything a budding expat could want into one of the world's smallest territories.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

SINGAPORE - Singapore emerged for the fourth year in a row as the best place for expatriates to live and work, coming ahead of countries like New Zealand, Germany and Canada in an annual survey conducted by HSBC.

But the highest expat salaries are found elsewhere - in Switzerland, the United States and Hong Kong - according to HSBC's latest annual Expat Explorer survey which polled 22,318 expats, including over 500 residing in Singapore.

Expats here earned an average of US$162,000(S$224,000), US$56,000 more than the global average - placing Singapore in fifth place for expat salaries, behind Switzerland, the US, Hong Kong and China.

In first-placed Switzerland, expat pay averaged US$202,900 - nearly twice the global average. But as the best place to live and work, Switzerland ranked only eighth because of the high cost of raising children and difficulty making friends.

In the survey's three main categories, Singapore ranked third for "economics", fifth for "families" and sixth for "experience".

Almost half of all expats (45 per cent) surveyed in Singapore said they initially moved here to progress their careers, higher than the global average of 35 per cent, while 38 per cent said they did so to improve their earnings (global average: 24 per cent).

It was not all the lure of money though - more than a quarter who relocated to Singapore said they simply wanted a challenge.

Still, the poll also found that 59 per cent who moved to Singapore said doing so enabled them to begin saving for retirement versus the global average of of 37 per cent, while almost half (45 per cent) could save enough to buy a property (global average: 33 per cent).

On that last point, half of the expats in Singapore said they could not afford to buy a property here, with most choosing to buy in their home country.

When it comes to their personal lives, just under half (45 per cent) of expats surveyed in Singapore said they found a long-term partner here.

When it comes to family benefits, 60 per cent of expat parents in Singapore, against a global average of 45 per cent, found their children's health and well-being to be better here than at home.

Anurag Mathur, head of retail banking and wealth management, HSBC Bank (Singapore), said in a media statement: "It comes as no surprise that Singapore continues to be an expat draw-card. Its well-established international trade and investment links, mature financial markets, and strong economic growth make it an ideal home base for business owners and career-focused professionals to tap the growth opportunities in Asia.

"But the real kicker is the lifestyle. When adding it together, while 19 per cent were initially sent by their employer, almost half (47 per cent) chose to stay in this safe, well-organised city for its lush, vibrant surroundings and the great quality of life it offers them and their family."

Sweden, one of the world's most gender-equal countries, was top for family; while New Zealand, Spain and Taiwan scored highest in the experience category.