How countries & territories compare


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All Findings

Balancing work, income and lifestyle

Far from just being about the paycheque to fund it all, work forms a huge part of the wider expat experience.

Our study shows working expats are highly educated professionals. Almost nine in ten expats have a degree, technical or professional qualification or higher and half of those expats earning more than USD250,000 have a postgraduate degree. Just 11% have a maximum of school level education.

The overseas life, with all its benefits and opportunities, is clearly difficult to access if you're not already successful and the world's expats remain ambitious.

While improving their quality of life and/or improving their earnings were key drivers for around a quarter of all expats, by far the most compelling reason for upping sticks was career progression (38%).

Their aspirations don't necessarily mean being locked to a bleak desk day after day though. Almost two thirds (63%) of expats in Switzerland (with the highest average salaries in the world) say their work/life balance is better than it was at home and in Germany 64% of expats say the work culture is better than at home.


of expats in Switzerland say their work/life balance is better than at home.

However, few territories can offer the same win-win when it comes to the quality of the working environment and the financial rewards for being there.

As at home it often feels like the tougher the working environment, the greater the salary in return.

Compare our 11th and 12th placed territories for example. In Vietnam, where the average income is USD90,000, fewer expats have financial concerns than among expats globally thanks partly to a reasonable cost of living.

Work too is less stressful than it was at home for almost 40% of expats and yet almost half say they are more fulfilled working in Vietnam than they were at home. Most even report a shorter commute.

With work colleagues making up the majority of the expat social circle, getting on well at work means getting on well in other areas of life. The Vietnamese workplace offers that too, with 35% of expats here saying they can socialise at work better than in their home country. All in all, 92% of expats working in Vietnam say they are as happy or happier working here than they were at home.


of expats in Vietnam are as happy or happier at work than in their home country.

In Hong Kong, where the average income is twice the Vietnamese salary at almost USD179,000, half of expats work longer hours and more than half say the working culture is more stressful than at home.

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.

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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