Twenty-eight per cent of the expats in Saudi Arabia rated financial wealth and financial security as the top benefit of being an expatriate in a major survey.
Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Egypt top this year’s league table of Expat Economics, the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2011, which focuses on how the economic situation differs for expats from country to country.
Expats in Singapore felt that personal development (27 per cent) and a better quality of life (17 per cent) were more important than the financial aspects of their move, said the survey.
Expats in these countries work predominantly in the banking or financial sector (36 per cent, 35 per cent and 33 per cent) and cited career prospects as one of the key drivers for their relocation (85 per cent, 62 per cent, 57 per cent).
When asked about the top benefit of being an expat, financial wealth and financial security (28 per cent for both) were rated highest by those in Saudi Arabia, while expats in Singapore felt that personal development and a better quality of life (27 per cent, 17 per cent) were more important than the financial aspects of their move.
This trend is mirrored in Egypt with expats most likely to cite personal development as their top benefit of relocation (33 per cent) with financial wealth second (23 per cent) and financial security a close third (17 per cent).
Expats’ perception of the economy in their country of residence varies across the top three countries in the Expat Economics league table. 68 per cent of expats in Saudi Arabia believe their economy to be very strong and nearly half believe that it will continue to improve over the coming year (49 per cent).
Only 6 per cent of expats here think the economy is weak or has deteriorated, and within this group only 33 per cent are considering relocating. The story is similar in Singapore where 68 per cent of expats believe that their economy is strong and 64 per cent feel that it has improved in the past year.
Again only 6 per cent of expats believe the economy is weak or has deteriorated and within this only 29 per cent are actively looking to relocate.
Conversely, three quarters of expats in Egypt feel that their economy is weak (77 per cent) and 47 per cent feel it will continue to deteriorate in the coming year. This perception has had an impact on expats’ desire to remain in the Egypt: while only 20 per cent of those who think the economy is weak or has deteriorated state that they are actively looking to relocate, a further 33 per cent are considering moving.
Expats are divided on whether their work/life balance is better since relocating. Overall, just under half (48 per cent) agree that their work/life balance has improved and just under a third (30 per cent) say it hasn’t.
Additionally, perceptions on work/life balance vary depending on expats’ income: expats earning over $200 are less likely (39 per cent) to say that this aspect of their life has improved than those earning $200k or less (45 per cent).
The main luxuries that expats in these countries benefit from compared to their home country are: domestic staff, swimming pools, owning their property or owning more than one property; although expats in these countries are less likely to go on more luxurious holidays (37 per cent, 45 per cent and 53 per cent respectively) compared to expats overall (50 per cent).
Countries which provide expats with the greatest benefits in terms of salary and economic rewards don’t always provide the best quality of life for children and families.