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All over the world, the varying experiences of men and women in the workplace, in everyday life and in financial terms are being closely examined and passionately debated.

It was important to reflect that work in our own research and this year - our interviews with thousands of women in hundreds of different countries reveal some significant and sometimes surprising differences.

Some are empowering women. In fact, moving abroad increases the average female income by around 27%. Among men, the increase is only 23%. Globally, the average salary for women is USD84,000. It rises to USD143,000 in the USA, USD155,000 in Hong Kong, USD173,000 in Switzerland and USD193,000 in China.

Female expats are more likely to be bilingual than men too – a skill we know enhances the expat experience in general and can only be a bonus at work

Eighty-five per cent of expat women speak at least two languages compared with 83% of expat men. Among the most common are English, spoken by 60% of women, 22% speak French and 16% speak Spanish as well as their native language – all higher proportions than men.

85%

of expat women speak two or more languages

But elsewhere there are still challenges to overcome.

We know for example, that almost six in every ten expats is male. In the Philippines, the figure is 93% this year. In Saudi Arabia, it's 74%, and in Sweden it's 67%.

Of all the territories we examined, only Ireland and Turkey had more female expats than male, and that was by just one or two percentage points.

With slightly lower levels of education overall, a quarter (23%) of women became an expat because their partner accepted a job overseas . Only 3% of men did the same.

In fact, just 27% of women moved to progress their own career compared with 47% of men and only half of female expats are working full-time compared with three quarters of men.

27%

of expat women moved to progress their career

Then there's the pay gap. They may have had a larger percentage increase in salary since moving abroad but female expats earn an average of USD112,00. That's USD42,000 less than their male peers.

Perhaps as a result, female expats tend to have a lower level of disposable income than they did at home and fewer opportunities to save money.

The contrasts aren't purely about work and money though. This year's study also shows some broader differences. Women are more often neutral or negative about their host territory's economic and political stability than men, for example.

Women may not find it as easy to settle in their host territory as men but they are more likely to have a more active social life in their new home than they did before moving.

Managing your money as an expat: some things to consider - and how we could help.

Things to consider

The 2018 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 22,318 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2018. League tables are calculated using responses to 27 of the questions asked in the research. A minimum sample of 100 expat respondents including at least 30 expat parents is required for a country to be included in the league tables.

About HSBC Expat

We provide wealth management, banking and currency management services in a stable, central location. So if you move to a new country or territory, your finances won't have to.

Expat Explorer collects key findings from countries around the world.

Use the dropdown menus above to add or remove criteria and see which findings from 2018 are most relevant to you, or use our league table to see how countries compare.

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