An average of more than $193,000 is earned by expatriates moving to Switzerland which is also the home to some of the biggest private banks, commodity traders and pharmaceuticals companies. A study published by HSBC Holdings Plc shows that it is 54 percent more than if they’d stayed at home and is the highest in the world. The 58 percent increase enjoyed by expats relocating to Saudi Arabia’s petrodollar economy only exceeds that boost in remuneration.
Measuring issues from personal finances and career progression to the strength of the local economy, for a third straight year Switzerland leads HSBC’s economics ranking.
Switzerland is the home of Credit Suisse Group AG, drugmaker Roche Holding AG and commodities trader Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. and almost eight in 10 expats said they had more disposable income after moving there.
“Switzerland has always been a high achiever for economics,” said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat. “The majority of expats there are in full-time employment with improved earning prospects. Expats in Switzerland are also some of the most confident in the local economy.”
According to the annual HSBC Expat Explorer report, Singapore topped the overall country rankings for the third year while Norway and Germany placed second and third for economics, followed by Singapore.
Its top ranking is derived by also scoring well in categories for experience and family by the city-state, where foreigners make up more than 60 percent of the population.
Because of low ratings in the experience and family categories, Switzerland dropped to No. 11 in HSBC’s overall expat country rankings. It was ranked 36th for the ease of integrating with local people and forming friendships while the nation of iconic ski resorts from Zermatt to St. Moritz scored well for lifestyle. While the country was only placed 44th out of 46 for social life and how welcoming it was from a diversity perspective, the country with more than 2 million foreign residents was judged a good place to bring up children.
Placed just ahead of China, with Egypt propping up the list, those categories also dragged down Saudi Arabia to 40th in the overall ranking. by the weakness of the Saudi economy, which is facing the worst slowdown since the global financial crisis counters the strong personal finances of expats living in the desert kingdom.
To attract more foreign workers as it seeks to diversify its economy away from oil, Saudi Arabia must address cultural differences with the West, said Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein. He said last week that creating districts where “certain behaviors” are allowed and other places where they are not could be involved in that process.
According to HSBC’s survey of more than 27,500 people from 159 countries and territories, with expats increasing their income by an average of 25 percent, moving abroad is financially rewarding, in general.
“From home ownership to retirement preparation, expats can achieve their lifelong goals more quickly,” Blackburn said.
(Adapted from Bloomberg)