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These Are the Best Countries to Live and Work in—And to Boost Your Salary

Hotel guests in the infinity pool at the SkyPark atop Marina Bay Sands look out towards the city skyline in Singapore, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. Photographer: Sam Kang Li/Bloomberg

(bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- Moving abroad boosts the average worker’s income by $21,000, with the best-paid staff found in Switzerland, the U.S. and Hong Kong.

That’s the conclusion in a survey showing that 45 percent of expats said their existing job paid more internationally and 28 percent changed locations for a promotion. In Switzerland, famous for both sky-high mountains and prices, the annual income boost totaled $61,000. Expat salaries there averaged $203,000 per year -- twice the global level.

In HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer, Singapore topped the ranking as best place to live and work for a fourth straight year, beating New Zealand, Germany and Canada. Switzerland ranked only eighth, with the high cost of raising children and difficulty making friends going against it.

“Singapore packs everything a budding expat could want into one of the world’s smallest territories,” said John Goddard, head of HSBC Expat.

Sweden, one of the world’s most gender-equal countries, got top billing for family, while New Zealand, Spain and Taiwan led the way in the experience category.

Despite the cultural, financial and professional advantages of moving abroad, the survey of 22,318 people uncovered that women trailed on a variety of metrics.

While relocating boosted women’s income by roughly 27 percent -- topping the increase experienced by men -- only about a quarter moved to develop their careers, compared with 47 percent of their male counterparts. Just half worked full time, and the overall level of education was somewhat lower. Women’s average annual salary was also $42,000 lower than men’s.

--With assistance from Adrian Leung.

To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Bosley in Zurich at cbosley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, Zoe Schneeweiss

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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