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Expats in Switzerland still earn top dollar

Expats in Switzerland significantly outearn counterparts in Hong Kong and the United States. Keystone

Expats in Switzerland remain the highest earners globally, bringing home an average annual income of $202,865 (CHF202,516), according to a study published on Thursday by HSBC.

The United States and Hong Kong complete the podium of top earners. Expats there earn $185,119 and $178,706 per year, according to the HSBC Expat Explorer, now in its 11th edition.

People who decide to move to Switzerland to work generally benefit from a substantial salary increase, roughly $61,000 dollars, according to experts at the British bank.

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But money is not the top consideration when professionals pick Switzerland.

More than a third (35%) gave career opportunities as the main reason for their relocation to the Alpine nations. A better quality of life proved a close second (32%), followed by salary (24%).

The survey was completed by 22,318 expats from 163 countries and territories through an online questionnaire in March and April 2018.

Switzerland does not disappoint. Once settled in the Alpine nation, almost two-third of respondents said Switzerland was a good springboard for their career and 73% hailed its high quality of life.

That rosy view was replicated by expat children who reported a high-level of well-being.

“The study confirms what we hear from our customers. Apart from professional and financial reasons, foreigners who settle in Switzerland appreciate the quality of life and stability of the Swiss system,” said Jean-François Bunlon, Head of the Swiss market at HSBC Private Banking.

The situation of the Swiss who decide to move abroad is less enviable in terms of income. HSBC says they are facing an average wage cut of around 6%.

However, these Swiss citizens see the value in moving abroad. They are twice more likely to start a business than other expatriates.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR