The Best Places Around The World For Work Right Now
We live in an international world.
This is a world in which kids from Angola to Afghanistan adore Lionel Messi, in which anything can be purchased, and in which foreign time zones and cultural practices are common knowledge, because the top companies operate on a global scale.
So there’s no reason you have to keep working in your hometown forever – especially as 74% of expats increase their income abroad, according to HSBC’s 2019 Expat Explorer Survey.
This is a great reason to make the leap, but you don’t want to just move for the money. You want to be happy and feel like you’ve succeeded professionally, so your next home needs to be economically and politically stable, while allowing you to meet your ambitions.
If you’re ready for your next adventure, fill in this form to compare quotes from the best shipping companies who will help you move to your new home.
On This Page
Head straight to a specific section by clicking the links below.
The Best Places in the World to Work
|Best for Income
|Best for Raising a Family
|Best for Work-Life Balance
|Best for Climate
|Best for Job Security
|Best for Reaching Your Potential
|Best for Making Friends
Best for: Income
When it comes to improving your bank balance in a stable nation, look no further than this central European home to chocolate, skiing, and a capital which has long been a global home of banking.
In 2019, expats in HSBC’s survey crowned Switzerland the best country to move to overall – and it’s easy to see why.
The average expat salary was $111,587 (£86,300) – a massive 33% increase on the global average for expats, which stands at $75,966 (£64,700).
This explains why 71% said they had more disposable income than they did in their home country.
You can spend that extra money at Zurich’s Opera House and Kunsthaus art museum, or on wonderful dishes like cheese fondue, rösti, and a soul-warming hotpot called a zürcher eintopf.
DID YOU KNOW: 67% of expats feel safer in Switzerland than they did in their native country.
If you’re one of the nearly half a billion people worldwide who speak German, French, or Italian, you can find a home in this relatively peaceful city – and don’t worry, English is also fully acceptable.
Expats can also enjoy life in this Alpine paradise without worrying about political or economic instability pulling the rug out from under them.
Only 20% were anxious about the country’s economy (compared to 49% worldwide), while 86% had no worries about Switzerland’s political situation – which must be nice.
Zurich is expensive – no doubt about it – but if you’re offered the kind of £80,000+ salary mentioned above, you should be more than comfortable.
82% of expats in Switzerland said their quality of life had improved in this picturesque nation, and higher levels of pay certainly had something to do with that. In Zurich, more money means fewer problems.
Best for: Raising a Family
Working while raising children is tough for anyone, but it’s especially hard for a parent who’s moved for their job.
Thankfully, Germany makes it as easy as possible. You’re allowed to take off six weeks before and eight weeks after you give birth, on full pay – and you can then take up to three years off work.
Only the first year is paid (at 65% of your last salary), but this increases to 14 months if your partner takes two months off as well. This time can also be shared between you, at a ratio of your choice.
If you don’t have a job when you give birth, you’re still entitled to €300 (£256) per month – which rises to at least €375 if it’s not your first child.
When your little one is ready to enter the education system, you can rest assured that they’ll receive some of the best teaching in the world. Expats ranked Germany as the third-best country for schooling in HSBC’s survey.
And what’s more, the top two universities in Germany are in Munich, according to The Times’ rankings. Your kids can get their fill of higher education at The Ludwig Maximilian University or the Technical University of Munich.
Children need to play, so it’s fortunate that Munich is blessed with an abundance of delightful playgrounds – and that 20% of the city is parkland.
Enjoy the huge Englischer Garten (English Garden), and make sure to also take your kids to the beautiful Ostpark and Rosengarten. There’s no shortage of nature in Munich.
Germany’s third-biggest city is also safe, multicultural, and full of English speakers. What’s not to love for you and your children?
Best for: Work-Life Balance
If you’re looking for flexible working hours, look no further than Helsinki.
Moving to Finland’s southern coast will mean almost certainly getting the right to alter your daily working schedule by three hours in either direction.
Enjoy rocking into the office at 12pm? No problem. Want to welcome the kids home at 4pm instead? Also totally fine.
For two decades, Finns have benefited from the 1996 Working Hours Act, which led to a world-high 92% of the nation’s companies providing flexible arrangements by 2011, according to global accounting firm Grant Thornton.
For comparison, only 18% of companies in Japan do the same.
DID YOU KNOW: Finland is the happiest country in the world, according to the 2019 World Happiness Report.
Helsinki is the place to take advantage of this revamped law, at least according to Kisi’s 2019 Work-Life Balance Index, which has seen the city top the rankings.And things are just getting better for anyone working in Finland. The new 2020 Working Hours Act is set to offer most full-time employees the choice of when and where they work for half of their hours.
This was down to the fact that you can expect 30 days of paid holiday, a 26-minute commute, an excellent rate of LGBT+ equality, barely any pollution, and the highest overall happiness score in the world.
If you’d like to embrace this Scandinavian pocket of happiness, complete this form to receive shipping quotes from trusted specialists.
Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
Best for: Climate
The desert city of Scottsdale has an excellent combination of job opportunities, high average salary, and low cost of living – but the real star is the sunny weather.
This 125-year-old city offers its residents around 300 days of sunshine every year (nearly 100 days more than the average US location), and the landscape to take advantage of the climate.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve provides you with more than 30,000 acres of gorgeous desert landscape – and with 180 miles of hiking trails and just 11 annual inches of rain, there’s nothing stopping you from exploring the great outdoors.
This lovely-looking outdoors also contains a plethora of hundred-year-old olive trees, stunning south-western architecture, and more than 200 golf courses.
It also doesn’t hurt that Scottsdale’s workers enjoy an average commute of just 20 minutes, according to Data USA, and a median household income of $80,306 (£65,032) – around $25,000 (£20,200) more than the national average – according to Niche.
A 2019 WalletHub survey found Scottsdale was the best place to find a job in the US, and it also boasts excellent public schools, as well as more spas per capita than any other city in the US – for when you need to relax after a tough hike.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Best for: Job Security
Lodged between France, Germany, and Belgium lies the only nation you should consider moving to for job security.
In 2019, InterNations’ annual survey rated Luxembourg as the best country to move to for job security and the economy – for the fifth year running.
Move to the capital, Luxembourg City, and you’ll benefit from an average salary of €59,000 (£50,300) in one of the world’s premium banking and administrative hubs.
There’s a reason why this tiny European capital of 120,000 people now boasts 160 different nationalities, and it comes down to the tight hold you’ll have on your job.
Just like Switzerland, there are multiple official languages – French, German, and Luxembourgish – but English is spoken everywhere. In 2019, Luxembourg came ninth in the global English Proficiency Index, beating regional powerhouses like Germany and France.
The capital also has plenty to offer other than continued employment, with four Michelin-starred restaurants and a classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 2007, it became the first city to ever be named European Capital of Culture twice, recognition it deserved for its many art galleries, museums, threates, and concert halls.
Best for: Reaching Your Potential
Manama is the best place in the world if you’re after professional advancement – which is appropriate, since its name comes from a phrase meaning “the place of dreams” in Arabic.
On an island off the coast of Saudi Arabia sits Bahrain’s centre of finance and construction, where you can grow and develop your skills as a manager.
HSBC’s survey ranks Bahrain as the best place for career progression. Expats who live there say that they develop leadership qualities out of necessity, as building personal relationships is key to getting deals over the line.
The head of HSBC Expat, John Goddard, told the BBC that Bahrain’s failing oil trade has helped to create new opportunities in other parts of the economy.
The country, he said, was welcoming innovation as it attempted to move away from its reliance on the oil industry, meaning there were chances for “skilled expats” who wanted to take “the next step up the career ladder”.
In a city of a little over 150,000 people, you’ll be able to quickly forge connections and rise up the ranks. You’ll also be able to get by speaking English – though learning some Arabic will certainly help with making friends in your industry.
It also certainly doesn’t hurt that moving to the kingdom means receiving a tax-free salary, as well as financial help with housing and education.
Best for: Making Friends
Canada is the third-best place to be an expat overall, according to HSBC’s survey, and the top country when it comes to just generally living.
This is down to the welcoming social and political culture of the nation, which is best exemplified by its west-coast haven. A 2019 Big 7 Travel survey found that Vancouver was the friendliest city in the world, which will be no surprise to any of its inhabitants.
While Canadians are generally considered friendly, they have the best reasons for cheeriness in this city of 675,000. Its ethnic and cultural diversity allows expat families to quickly make friends and form lifelong connections.
This variety is also reflected in the city’s geographical range – Vancouver is graced with both mountains and beaches, meaning you can go skiing and water skiing on the same day, if you wish.
It’s also home to Stanley Park, one of the world’s biggest at 1,000 acres, a relatively warm climate (for Canada), and a glorious variety of animals, from grizzly bears to grey whales, orcas, sea otters, and bald eagles.
These natural gifts are complemented by Vancouver’s flourishing entertainment industry, which has seen the city act as the filming site for numerous TV shows, including The Killing, Riverdale, The Man in the High Castle, and Once Upon a Time.
As well as TV and film, you can also work across a huge array of industries, from technology to construction. Vancouver has one of the fastest-growing economies in Canada – and the friendliest.
Moving to a new country can be difficult and bewildering, but with the help of the above information, you should at least know which place is right for you.
Whether your ideal destination lies in northern Europe, the Middle East, or the west coast of Canada, you have options galore on this blue and green orb of ours.
To recap, the top seven places in the world to work right now are:
- Zurich, Switzerland: best for income
- Munich, Germany: best for raising a family
- Helsinki, Finland: best for work-life balance
- Scottsdale, USA: best for climate
- Luxembourg City, Luxembourg: best for job security
- Manama, Bahrain: best for reaching your potential
- Vancouver, Canada: best for making friends
So whether you’re becoming an expat to raise your salary, your professional profile, or your general enjoyment of life, you should now be able to choose the perfect new city for you.
Leap into this new chapter of your life by taking the first step towards your new home. Fill in this form and get free bespoke shipping quotes for your move.