Switzerland just replaced Singapore as the best country for expats

By Bloomberg Pursuits, July 4 2019
Switzerland just replaced Singapore as the best country for expats

Switzerland has knocked Singapore off its perch as the world's top-ranked destination for expatriates.

The land-locked nation – home to some of the biggest private banks, commodity traders and pharmaceuticals companies – was judged the best place to live and work, according to a study published on Thursday by HSBC. Switzerland jumped from No. 8 last year as it garnered top marks for its earning potential and stability.

The average Swiss salary of USD$111,587 is 47% higher than the USD$75,966 mean pay package across the 33 nations surveyed by HSBC in the 12th edition of their annual expat country ranking.

Seven out of 10 expats said they had more disposable income after moving to Switzerland.

Yet while the nation of iconic ski resorts from Zermatt and Verbier to St. Moritz scored well for quality of life, Switzerland isn’t the place for a sense of fulfilment or making friends – ranking 31st and 24th respectively on those measures. On the other hand, it’s perceived as great place to raise children and make a long-term home.

Work-life balance

“Expats are increasingly looking at more than just the financial returns they get from moving to a new market,” John Goddard, head of HSBC’s expat unit, told Bloomberg.

“They’re looking at work-life balance, the general environment in which they want to bring up their children, they’re looking at safety, and Switzerland marks really well against all those different categories.”

Other big gainers included Turkey, which surged from 22nd to 7th, earning top marks for its open and welcoming communities and for the ease expats find in settling in. Spain jumped nine places to 4th, after coming first in the sub-categories of quality of life and physical and mental well-being.

The UK tumbled seven places to 27th as the uncertainty over Brexit saw the country come in the bottom three for both economic and political stability. Still, for UK-bound expats in need of consolation, the nation tops the sub-category for fulfilment and came in fourth for career progression.

Sweden was another big loser, dropping to 20th from 7th spot. High marks for economic stability and work-life balance weren’t enough to counter the difficulty expats found in making friends and reaching their potential in the Scandinavian country.

Bloomberg Pursuits

Bloomberg Pursuits curates the best in cars, food, drinks, travel, watches and more for the modern globally-minded executive, and is republished under licence by Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 44

I spent 15 years of my life in Switzerland - it's a fabulous place to live. The difficulty some expats may experience about making friends is in part due to language. Many expats I knew didn't make much of an effort to learn the language -French/German/Italian depending on which region of CH. And, while many Swiss speak English they also prefer people to assimilate into their culture - not the other way around. Again, a lot of the expats I knew seemed to congregate in their "English Club", "American Club" etc. I have many Swiss friends, and contrary to popular belief, they have a great sense of humour. They also have some amazing wines but sadly,so few are exported.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jun 2017

Total posts 1

I'd say that it's a bit the same in Norway - surprising how many have moved here without making a big effort to speak the language.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 1

As having lived in other countries I find the article questionable at best on accuracy. There's no mention of TAXES and the cost of living in that specific country. I've lived in other countries and Expats pay double in some cases triple the taxes. The country you're living in isn't naïve they have tax people and tax laws and they want their $$$. Yes, most corporations pick up the international tax liabilities but not the US portion in most cases. Absolutely, Singapore and Switzerland or wonderful places to visit on holiday, but go and live there a few or several years. Go live there, the article is misleading at best.

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