Geneva — Switzerland has knocked Singapore off its perch as the world’s top-ranked destination for expatriates.
The nation, home to some of the biggest private banks, commodity traders and pharmaceuticals companies, was judged the best place to live and work, according to a study published on Thursday by HSBC Holdings. Switzerland jumped from number eight in 2018 as it garnered top marks for its earning potential and stability.
The average Swiss salary of $111,587 is 47% higher than the $75,966 mean pay package across the 33 nations surveyed by HSBC in the 12th edition of their annual expat country ranking. Seven out of 10 expats said they had more disposable income after moving to Switzerland.
While the nation of iconic ski resorts from Zermatt and Verbier to St Moritz scored well for quality of life, Switzerland isn’t the place for a sense of fulfillment or making friends — ranking 31st and 24th respectively on those measures. On the other hand, it’s perceived as a great place to raise children and make a long-term home.
“The research confirms what we hear from clients, many of whom move to Switzerland for its high quality of life, good business prospects and economic and political stability,” said Jean-Francois Bunlon, market head for HSBC Private Banking in Switzerland.
Singapore placed second, after topping the ranking for the past four years.
Other big gainers included Turkey, which surged from 22nd to seventh, earning top marks for its open and welcoming communities and for the ease expats find in settling in. Spain jumped nine places to fourth, after coming first in the sub-categories of quality of life and physical and mental well-being.
The UK tumbled seven places to 27th as the uncertainty over Brexit saw the country come in the bottom three for both economic and political stability. Still, for UK-bound expats in need of consolation, the nation tops the sub-category for fulfillment and came in fourth for career progression.
Sweden was another big loser, dropping to 20th from seventh spot. High marks for economic stability and work-life balance weren’t enough to counter the difficulty expats found in making friends and reaching their potential in the Scandinavian country.