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The two don't always go together.

Cailey Rizzo
January 05, 2017

When an expat moves to another country, they’re exchanging one way of life for a completely different one. Turns out they could be swapping the size of their paychecks, too.

According to data from HSBC, expats in Switzerland make an average of $188,275 a year — almost twice the global average.

But money isn’t everything. The country ranked close to last for almost everything outside of work, including cultivating relationships and maintaining a social life. And Switzerland’s cost of living is the second highest in the world (after only Bermuda), so a chunk of that bigger paycheck is going towards basic living expenses.

Overall, six of the top 10 countries for career-minded expats were European. Runners up were Germany and Sweden — despite the fact that both average salaries rank below the global average for expats. The two countries both rank highly for benefits like job security and work-life balance.

In terms of salary alone, runners up were Hong Kong and India. While countries with great employment benefits (health benefits, accommodation allowances and trips home) were mostly around in Middle East, in countries like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

For those looking to advance their career, Asian countries like Hong Kong and Singapore scored highly. However once an expat relocated to Asia, they often began reporting a significant dip in work-life balance.

HSBC’s data came from a global survey of 26,871 expats in more than 100 countries. An interactive exploration of the data—including a quiz to figure out the best country for personal career preferences — is available on the HSBC Expat website.

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