Unarguably the best, most expansive expat survey is back! HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey is up online and it’s waiting for you to fill it in. The survey’s findings are always fascinating, and they really help other expats realise that they are not alone with any hurdles they’ve encountered in terms of integration, and they are certainly not alone in terms of loving their new life abroad!
The survey is fairly long-winded however, and it does require a certain amount of commitment from all respondents – so take an extended tea break before you sit down to submit your answers because you don’t want to get distracted half way through!
The findings from the survey bring us all great insight into what the expat lifestyle is like all over the world. Furthermore the findings allow us all to see where in the world expats are better off financially and emotionally, where families enjoy the best lifestyle for example, and where healthcare, the work/life balance and aspects of life such as the cost of living are better.
Last year’s Expat Explorer survey gathered responses from over 4,100 expats who were based in over 100 countries around the world. The extensive findings were then closely analysed – and as HSBC is country neutral, i.e., they have nothing to gain or lose from the promotion or otherwise of any one nation, the delivery and summarisation of the results can be viewed as entirely accurate.
The survey covers three main areas of the expatriate experience, the economic side of life – from earnings to outgoings; the overall experience of living abroad – from integration to lifestyle; and the effect for expatriate children – from schooling to their health and happiness. As a respondent you just complete the aspects of the survey that are relevant to you, and let the independent collators and editors do the rest.
Last year, for the second year in a row, Russia ranked number one overall in the economic section of the report - mainly because of the income and amount of disposable income expats who live and work in Russia enjoy.
According to the survey’s findings: “Over one-third (36%) of expats in Russia earn over $250,000 per annum, over three-quarters (85%) say they have more disposable income since moving and over three-quarters (76%) are able to save more since relocating. The country is seen as a good choice for those looking for financial gain or to progress their career, with 76% of expats moving there for this reason…”
As all expats know however, money isn’t everything (!) – the lifestyle is equally as important. So, in the overall experience/lifestyle section of the survey you may be interested to learn that Thailand came out on top. It ranked exceptionally well in every single sub-category, scoring especially well in the likes of finding accommodation and schooling, making friends, the working environment and work/life balance.
This will probably explain why we have seen an increase in the numbers of enquiries we’ve received from would-be expats expressly interested in relocating to Thailand…
The final category to examine is the offspring section of the survey, and this ranked Belgium as the best place to live for families with children. Whilst the nation didn’t score especially well for safety (which is of course the most critical aspect for parents) it scored highly elsewhere – such as in terms of the education standards on offer, cost and quality of childcare and the social integration of children.
However, because in terms of safety and security for children it didn’t rank well, this just goes to prove why you need to spend more time examining the findings of the survey rather than just looking at the headlines it generates.
Fortunately the website produced from the findings allows anyone the opportunity to explore the data produced from the survey in great depth. You can compare and contrast countries and you can dig deeper into one nation or one aspect of the expat experience. You can identify the criteria that are important to you and then look and see which nation scores best in each category.
Ultimately you can use the data freely as you research where in the world you might like to live, work, retire, bring up your children or relocate to next! You can find the Expat Explorer survey pages via HSBC’s International Banking pages.