Saturday 24 February 2018

Bank on a six-figure salary if you're an expat in Switzerland

Ouchy Castle in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Ouchy Castle in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Andy Hoffman and Zoe Schneeweiss

It pays to be an expatriate in Switzerland.

Expats living in the home of global giants including UBS Group, drug maker Novartis and commodity trader Glencore earn an average salary of $188,275 (€180,000) a year.

That’s the highest in the world and almost twice the global average, according to data published yesterday by global bank HSBC.

Switzerland also tops the bank’s expat career ranking for a second year.

“Expats ranked Switzerland highly for both financial and personal well-being criteria,” said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat.

“The combination of high salaries and excellent work culture has placed Switzerland at the top of the careers league table,” Mr Blackburn said.

Switzerland, which hosts the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, ranked the best all-round destination for a career abroad.

Of those surveyed by HSBC, 69pc said their work-life balance had improved while in Switzerland, and 61pc said the work culture was better than their home country.

The ranking is based on a survey of 26,871 expats in more than 100 countries.

Germany and Sweden ranked second and third overall, despite salaries that were at or below the global average, according to HSBC. European countries took six of the top 10 spots.

Ireland ranked 27th, up from 31st place in 2015.

Expat workers based here rated Ireland highly for family life, but high personal taxes here mean this country scored poorly in terms of disposable income.

While important, pay isn’t necessarily decisive for those moving to take up a job.

“Expats in Sweden and Germany enjoy benefits outside the financial side of work,” said Mr Blackburn.

“Germany offers the best job security for expats. Sweden, as well as topping the tables for work culture, is praised by 79pc of expats for its excellent work-life balance.”

In contrast, previous data released by HSBC showed that while Switzerland ranks first in financial well-being for those working abroad, it ranks close to last in cultivating relationships and social life.

The cost of living in Switzerland is also notoriously high, with Swiss newspaper ‘Neue Zuercher Zeitung’ last month reporting that the price of food is 70pc above the European average, while healthcare expenses are more than double.

The best employment packages – including health benefits, accommodation allowances and trips home – are found in Middle East countries such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, according to HSBC.

Hong Kong and Singapore topped the ranking for career development with 68pc and 62pc respectively of respondents agreeing that these were good places to improve their careers.

Lifestyle, however, suffered for some upon moving to Asia as 30pc of expats in Singapore and 50pc in Hong Kong reported a decline in work-life balance.

(Bloomberg)

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