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Friday 23 February 2018

Ex-pats working here broke and miserable

Grass is greener elsewhere for foreign workers, says survey

Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Expatriates living in Ireland are among the most broke and miserable in the world despite having jobs and feeling welcome, a new survey reveals.

Despite ranking near the top of 64 countries when it comes to being welcomed by the locals, the spirit of Cead mile failte soon dies when foreigners living here reflect on their personal finances, safety, public transportation, the cost of living and not surprisingly, the dismal Irish weather, according to a global survey of expatriates by InterNations.

The social network for people living and working abroad ranked Ireland 40th out of 64 top destinations for foreign workers in 2015, even though Ireland was ranked fourth for having "a friendly attitude towards foreign residents".

Malta was ranked at the top of the list for people seeking a new life abroad while Kuwait was at the bottom.

Such diverse countries as China, Mozambique, Luxembourg and Poland ranked near the top of the list for those searching for an interesting job or good career opportunity, exceeded only by the United States and the United Kingdom.

But sun-kissed Greece, Italy and Portugal, however, were ranked at the lower end of the scale for foreigners seeking job opportunities in southern Europe as a result of high unemployment and poor job prospects due to their fragile economies.

But the "Expat Insider 2015" survey of 14,300 expatriates around the world, found that foreign workers here were more or less happy with their "work-life balance," ranking 17th in the overall leader board, with the sixth shortest working week of all countries surveyed, coming in at an average of 42.2 hours a week. But their satisfaction in their careers here left a lot to be desired at 24th spot, while worries over job tenure and security a common source of anxiety, resulting in a ranking at 36th spot.

"While Ireland doesn't do too badly in terms of work-life balance, it seems the state of the local economy still isn't great," according to the study.

Surprisingly, the vast majority of foreign workers here are women.

According to the survey, 62.5pc of foreign workers here are female compared with 37.5pc male. The average age of a foreign worker here is 37, with British, Romanian and Italians comprising the top three nationalities.

And while the economy and labour market conditions were key considerations made by more than half of workers (55pc) before they took the plunge, almost as many workers cited "looking for an adventure" (14pc) as the ability to find a job on their own here (18pc). An equal number of workers, (11pc) said they were motivated to move here "for love" as were those who followed their partner here for the sake of their partners' career or education.

Foreign workers were overwhelmingly company employees or managers (63pc), but at the lower rung of the corporate ladder, with close to a third in entry-level positions or without "special seniority or expert status (36pc).

The largest group of workers (37pc) earned between €23,000 and €45,000 per annum, followed by those earning between €45,000 and €68,000 (19pc) and those at the lower end of the pay scale earning between €10,000 and €23,000.

Sunday Independent

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