Due to a number of different reasons, professional expats tend to earn higher incomes than their peers back in their country of origin do. Taxes are of course a major contributing factor – many expats choose to live in countries that have a lower tax rate than their home countries.The recent My Expatriate Market Pay Survey conducted by Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA) provides detailed benchmarking data about expat salaries in various countries. The survey showed that there are ten countries where expats earn incomes that are higher than the global average. The survey examined expats’ pay levels across the globe, including data on allowances, benefits, methods of salary calculation and taxes.
The survey covered more than 300 global companies in 170 countries, with more than 10,000 employees around the world providing a rich trove of information and insights. One focus of the resulting report is a ranking of countries based on expat package costs. A typical expat benefit package for a mid-level manager, aside from salary, includes relocation costs, housing, medical insurance and education among other things.
Based on the economy, population, culture and resources, every country offers various different jobs. There are plenty of international opportunities available and with a little research, you can find a well-paying job in your field of work.
Before we get into the European countries where the highest paid expats live, let’s take a look at the top paying expat jobs in the world.
Doctors earn high incomes in most parts of the world. But there are some regions where highly skilled physicians are paid a lot more. Doctors can also move abroad and establish their own practice while also taking advantage of regular employment.
Some of the highest paying European countries for doctors include the Netherlands and Switzerland. The qualifications required for practicing as a doctor include a degree in medicine, a specialization certificate, and a medical license. Doctors can earn $ 120,000 to $ 290,000 annually.
Some of the highest paying jobs in finance include financial analysts, financial managers and financial directors. However, these jobs are mainly centered in Asian countries like China, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.
Expat professionals with a lot of experience are likely to get the best jobs. Qualifications for a job in finance include a degree in business or commerce and an additional MBA degree. The approximate salary for these jobs us between $ 60,000 to $ 200,000 per year.
Petroleum engineers are rewarded for the difficulty of their tasks with high incomes. In fact any work in oil rigs yields high compensation. Senior engineers with a high level of expertise and skills earn the most. Qualifications required include an engineering degree. The approximate income of a petroleum engineer is $ 40,000 to $ 150,000.
Pilots are among the highest paid professionals. Here too, Asian countries such as China and Hong Kong dominate, in addition to the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The qualifications required to work as a pilot is a diploma or certificate in aviation and the average salary is between $ 50,000 and $ 250,000 annually.
Teaching English abroad comes with a reasonable salary. Some countries and regions offer very low salaries such as those in Central America or Thailand, but there are regions where English teachers earn decent wages. Some of the top paying countries offer up to $4,000 per month.
One of the most popular expat industries is Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). BPO executives are often sent abroad as expats to outsourcing countries such as the Philippines and India. Other popular outsourcing destinations include Bulgaria, Belarus, Serbia and Canada. Outsourcing can be of different types, but most expat outsourcing executives earn high salaries along with generous expat packages that include transportation, accommodation, travel, and in some cases also meal allowances. The salary range for outsourcing executives is between $35,000 – $250,000 a year.
This is a broad industry, but even the most limited IT position can earn a high income. There is always a demand for IT jobs in all major cities of the world.
Countries like Belarus and Germany usually offer high salaries for those with the skills and experience, along with a basic IT degree. The average salary for those in IT jobs is between $50,000 – $150,000 a year.
The salary range for pharmacists is between $65,000 – $135,000 annually. It could be among the most underrated careers in the world and in many countries pharmacists are not well compensated.
The qualifications required of a pharmacist are a pharmacy degree and a license. In countries like Ireland, the income for pharmacists has been rising in recent times as there is an increased demand for pharmaceutical services.
Engineers are required to be proficient and skilled in their duties but they are not always well paid. An engineer’s salary depends on skill level. Countries where there is a great demand for engineers are likely to pay more to expats.
In Germany, there is a rising demand for mechanical and electrical engineers as the country has an extensive manufacturing industry. The qualifications required of engineers are a specific engineering degree and expert experience. The typical income of an engineer can fall anywhere between $50,000 – $102,992 annually.
The highest paid expat jobs in Europe can be found in the following countries.
According to ECA’s My Expatriate Market Pay Survey, the United Kingdom comes out at the top with the highest expat packages among the top financial destinations. The average total expat package for professionals in the middle managerial level in the UK is approximately $430,000 annually.
However, the UK’s economy has been feeling the impact of the Brexit vote and employment growth has reduced from 2 percent to 1 percent year on year. There has also been a rise in inflation to 1 percent, which has cut the increase in real disposable incomes in half. There has also been deterioration in job creation.
The UK’s service sector is the main driver for the country’s economy, and this accounts for nearly 80 percent of the total GDP. The main service sectors include business, banking and insurance. The UK is also among the world’s largest manufacturing economies. Key players in the aerospace industry have the UK as their base. It also the abode of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world. Historically, the automotive and construction industries have been prominent in the country. Due to its strong economy, good work environment and high standard of living, the UK has always attracted expats.
According to data released by HSBC, expats working in Switzerland earn an average salary of €178,616 annually, which is nearly twice the global average, amounting to the highest in the world. HSBC’s expat career ranking indicated that expats ranked Switzerland highly on financial and personal well-being parameters. Switzerland featured at the top of the ranking on account of the combination of high incomes and an outstanding work culture.
Switzerland’s capital city, Geneva, is home to the European headquarters of the United Nations. The country is considered to be the best all-round location for an overseas career and more than half of those surveyed by HSBC maintained that their work-life balance had enhanced in Switzerland. 61 percent said that the Swiss work culture was better than in their native country.
However, it must be noted that even though Switzerland ranked at the top in financial well-being for expats, it occupies a low ranking in cultivating relationships and social life. Switzerland’s cost of living is also incredibly high and the price of food is around 70 percent higher than the European average. Healthcare costs too are high in Switzerland.
IT, financial services and biotechnology have been popular avenues of employment for expats. However, the Swiss immigration policy is based on quotas and it must be proven that a local is unable to fulfill the position applied for by a foreigner.
The Swiss economy continues to grow stronger. Unemployment rates are also low, in spite of the Eurocrisis, mainly due to foreign investment. In the World Economic Form’s 2015-2016 survey, Switzerland ranked number one.
Luxembourg is an appealing destination to expats because of its low inflation and unemployment rates, and its strong economy. The country was impacted by the global financial crisis, but public debt has stayed lower than nearly all other EU member countries.
Those with university education, qualifications, specific skills and work experience will find it easy to get jobs in Luxembourg. The country has a robust, high-tech driven service sector that is beneficial for expats. There are also special tax exemptions for expats employed in Luxembourg.
The steel industry used to be one of the key drivers of income, but today it accounts for just 7 percent of the economy. However, Luxembourg is still home to the largest steelmaker in the world. Today, finance and technology are predominant here, with almost 150 banks and a multitude of national and overseas employees employed in the financial sector.
Luxembourg is a wealthy country with a GDP of 56.58 billion USD. It has a small population and the GDP per capita is second in the world, after Qatar. Luxembourg has been increasingly showcasing itself as a technology hub and companies like Amazon and Skype have their European headquarters here. Due to relaxed tax laws, Luxembourg has become a tax heaven for the wealthy in Europe.
The Netherlands has a number of international companies providing plenty of job opportunities for expats. Some of the big names based here include ING Group, Unilever, Heineken and Philips. There are also a large number of recruitment agencies.
The Netherlands has a stable economy with a lot of foreign investment, which receives a boost from the country’s favorable tax conditions. Its population is diverse and well-educated. Nearly 21 percent of the population comprises of foreigners and ethnic minorities.
Unemployment and flexible contracts increased during the Dutch economic crisis, but the Netherlands still has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. There is a great demand for highly skilled workers, also known as ‘knowledge workers’, and there is in place a fast-track immigration process to recruit individuals that fit the bill, including IT specialists, those working in the finance sector, and those working in sales and marketing. There are also tax benefits for those that are employed.
Some of the other sought-after positions in the Netherlands include jobs in healthcare and education, and interim managers.
The Netherlands has an egalitarian society that is also evident in the workplace. The typical work week is made up of 36 to 40 hours, which in some cases is spread over only four days. Since work is structured very well within organizations, much of the work is done during regular working hours.
One of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe belongs to Germany, and in March 2017, it reached an all-time low of 5.8 percent. It is still lower in certain parts of the country such as Bavaria in southern Germany.
The German Federal Institution for Population Research conducted a study that revealed that a third of expats from non-EU countries obtained employment in Germany within 12 months. Individuals with a university degree or vocational qualifications in the form of an apprenticeship, work experience and a rudimentary knowledge of German have a fair chance of obtaining work in Germany.
Germany has a shortage of skilled workers in many professions such as scientists, mathematicians, engineers, IT specialists and doctors. Since the country has an increasing population of older individuals, other positions such as in the health, nursing and geriatric fields are also scarce. Also available are hospitality and English teaching jobs.