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The best places in the world to work revealed

John Goddard

Germany is the best place in the world for globetrotting workers, followed by Bahrain and the UK. UK moves up six places to be crowned best country in the world to learn new skills. Working abroad helps 58 percent of people become more confident and 61 percent more adaptable. Contributor John Goddard – Head of HSBC Expat.

New year, new job, new country? A stint abroad could be the key to unlocking a more confident, creative and adaptable you according to HSBC, as it announces the best countries in the world to work abroad. The survey of more than 22,000 expatriates from the world’s leading international bank reveals that career ambition is the number one reason why people take the plunge and settle abroad. 

According to HSBC, Germany should be top of the list for ambitious globetrotters looking to further their careers in 2019.  Germany has gone from strength to strength as a destination for foreign workers, overtaking neighbours Sweden and Switzerland to be crowned the best place in the world to work abroad for the first time. The strong work/life balance and job security see it pip Bahrain and the UK to first place. 

German businesses have clearly earned their reputation for efficiency. Expats rate it as the most productive workplace in the world – 65 percent would describe it as productive.  You won’t be expected to take the job home with you, however, as 70 percent of foreign workers in Germany state that their work/life balance has improved. Some well-known German brands have even banned employees from reading emails on the weekend. As a result, respondents told HSBC that Germany has the second best working culture in the world, behind only Sweden. 

Almost three quarters (73 percent) of overseas workers in Germany also claim to have improved job security as a result of the move, the best in the world thanks to a highly regulated labour market. They also get the benefit of being able to turn to their Betriebsrat (worker council) if they need help, advice or support as they get settled into work. 

Bahrain – The best expat pay package 

Storming 10 places up the rankings this year, Bahrain is attracting the world’s best and brightest with enviable pay packages. 77 percent of foreign workers say their earning prospects are better in Bahrain than back at home, up from 62 percent last year. Even more striking, the majority of foreigners that come to Bahrain for work receive an accommodation allowance (69 percent), airfare allowance (68 percent) and medical allowance (64 percent), while one in four (23 percent) can expect a bonus to help cover living expenses. 

Taking the time to build face-to-face relationships is key to doing business in Bahrain, just one reason why it is the best place to go in the world to develop as a leader. The majority (59 percent) of respondents in Bahrain say working in the country has helped them to become a better leader. 

United Kingdom – A melting pot for ambitious minds

Up six places in the rankings, internationally mobile citizens are raving about what working in the UK has to offer for both professional and personal development. Almost half of the people who move to the UK do so for their career. The average working expat in the UK sees gains across the board in work/life balance, career progression and earning prospects. The positive elements of working life in the UK also results in 58 percent of foreign workers describing the working culture as better than in their home country.  

Britain’s foreign workforce is young, educated and ambitious, more than two fifths (43 percent) have a post graduate degree. Global talent has long powered the international melting pot of London and that does not appear to be slowing down. According to respondents, the UK is the best country in the world for those who want to learn new skills and the 4th best to climb the career ladder, narrowly behind Hong Kong, USA and Singapore. 

John Goddard, Head of HSBC Expat, commented: “The new year can often be a catalyst for considering where you are and where you want to be, particularly when it comes to your career. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ but if you’re looking for career inspiration, it may be worth going beyond the borders of your home country to find the place where you can thrive at work. 

“Whether you are taking a calculated risk to secure the job of your dreams or moving to accept a big promotion, working abroad can have serious consequences for your finances. Knowing where to keep your savings, how to transfer money and protect against currency fluctuations is vital. Once you have the logistics in order, you can focus on seeking out new experiences, gaining new skills and learning more about your new environment.”

New Year Career Resolutions

If self-improvement is on your list of new year resolutions, a stint abroad could be the answer. Try these destinations to become your best self: Get out of your comfort zone: Working abroad anywhere can make you more adaptable (61 percent of all people working abroad say this) and more confident (58 percent)

Learn to lead: Bahrain is the place to go if you want to find your voice as a leader. 59 percent of people say working there has developed their leadership skills. Make new friends: Eager to become a people person? Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines are the most sociable work places in the world. Finish that novel: Head to Brazil, 57 percent of foreign workers say working in Brazil has made them more creative.


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