4 July 2019

Singapore down but not out: HSBC Expat survey

** Switzerland the best place globally to live/work, ending Singapore’s four-year reign
** Singapore remains best place for expats with children
** Singapore’s education system, stability and child friendly culture the draw for expat families


After four years at the top, Switzerland has nudged ahead of Singapore as the best place in the world to live and work, according to HSBC’s global expat survey. Despite the dip, Singapore remains the best destination for families.

The HSBC Expat’s Annual League Table of Best Places to Live and Work 2019 - in its 12th year - is designed to explore the attitudes, opinions and experiences of people living overseas.

Quality of life, highly competitive salaries, and stunning surroundings, have seen Switzerland take the top spot for the first time, climbing from eighth place last year.

Singapore remains the best destination for those relocating with children largely on the back of its well-regarded education system, job stability and opportunities as well as the quality of life it offers.

Mr Ian Yim, Head of Wealth & International, HSBC Bank (Singapore) said: “In 2018, we pointed out that other countries have started to up their game in their pursuit to attract the highest calibre of international talent, and Switzerland’s rapid ascent is a clear example of this. Nevertheless, our study shows that Singapore remains an attractive destination for expats especially if they are looking to build a long term career while raising a family.”

Singapore is the only Asian city that is ranked in the top three, ahead of key international cities including Australia, Germany and the UAE.

Singapore has all the right ingredients to raise little expats

One of the biggest draw of Singapore for expat families is its safety and clean environment.

85% of expats “feel safer and more secure” in Singapore and appreciate the “very clean and safe public spaces” that the country offers. These scores are significantly higher than the global average of 48% and 41% respectively.

Singapore also scored significantly higher than the global average when it comes to having an “excellent education system” (47% vs 26%), “and being “a good place to raise children” (54% vs 28%).

62% of expats agree that the quality of education their children receive is better in Singapore than it would be in their home country, the percentage is significantly higher than the global average of 36%.

According to expats in Singapore, the benefits of raising children abroad include “fluency in more than one language” (69% vs 68% globally), “better quality of education” (50% vs 32% globally) and “more open to new experience and cultures” (74% vs 72% globally). In all areas, Singapore scored higher than the global average.

Mr Yim added: “Our research shows that internationally mobile people are looking for places that match their priorities, goals and objectives. Singapore in particular tops the ‘Little Expat league table’ which looks at expats’ attitudes and opinions about family life in their adopted city. Singapore government’s ongoing focus on getting its fundamentals right in staying ahead and intensifying competition globally will ensure it remains an attractive destination for expats for years to come."

Download the Singapore report here.