Singapore the ‘Top Expat Destination’ for third year in a row

Expats have rated Singapore as the best country in the world to live and work for the third year in succession, while Norway rose four places to come in second, according to the new Expat Explorer survey released by HSBC on 4 October 2017. New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands completed the top five.

A strong economy, impressive track record for families and confidence in their financial affairs were among the many reasons expat life in Singapore was deemed outstanding. The city-state ranked first overall once again this year, coming fourth in the Economics league table, fourth in the Experience league table and third in the Family league table.

Three-quarters of expats (73%) said Singapore offered better earnings potential than their home country. Indeed, they reported a 42% increase in their annual income since the move to an average of almost US$118,000, which is US$18,000 higher than the average expat income globally and US$3,000 higher regionally.

Not only that,but expats in Singapore were also very confident in the strength of the local economy (73%) and Singapore’s political climate (83%). The greatest concern over their financial affairs was the future of the global economy. Half (48%) of all Singapore-based expats, compared with only a third (31%) of expats generally, and two-fifths (37%) of expats regionally, cited economic uncertainty globally as a key concern.
More than two-thirds (65%) of expats in Singapore said they had more disposable income than at home. This money was spent on taking more holidays (50%) and living in a better property (40%). And those setting money aside were saving for retirement (57%), property (44%) or other long-term investments (40%).

But an expat life in Singapore is not cheap, especially for the 40% of expats surveyed who had families. Almost nine in ten expat parents (85%) said childcare was more expensive than at home. But with Singapore ranked second in the global rankings for the quality of children’s education, the investment may seem justified.

Considered one of the safest, most secure destinations in the world (82% of expats said they felt safer in Singapore than at home, to rank the country second globally). Singapore came in third in the rankings for family. This included ranking third for the quality of childcare (68% of expat parents said it was better than at home), fifth for children’s health and wellbeing (72% said it was better than at home) and sixth for their children’s overall quality of life. Overall, 74% of expat parents said their children had a better quality of life here than they would have at home.

The HSBC Expat Explorer survey is the world’s largest and longest running study of expat life, asking more than 27,500 expats about their experience abroad. As well as unveiling the best places in the world to live as an expat, the survey also found that life abroad typically increases expats’ income by 25%, with the average expat earning just under US$100,000 a year. Far from compromising their wellbeing, expats seem to find the right balance. Four in ten (40%) adopt a more positive outlook on life after moving abroad, with 45% becoming more physically active.

Contact Andy Galway in our Singapore Office.

Andrew Galway
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