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HSBC Expats Explorer survey for 2010

The HSBC Expat Explorer Survey for 2010 questioned over 4,100 expats from over 100 countries between April and June 2010 to produce the largest survey of its kind which reveals a wealth of information on the economic and daily life situations expats face.

The Expat Economics Survey, the first of the three reports from the 2010 Expat Explorer Survey, presents interesting findings on the financial aspects of expat life, including top locations for salaries and levels of disposable income and luxuries. It stands out that:

  • Emerging economies remain on top for expat finances;
  • Russia is home to the wealthiest expats, followed by the Middle East;
  • The wealth gap continues to widen between the East and Mainland Europe;
  • The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are emerging as expat hotspots;
  • Expats are repatriating a significant proportion of their wealth.

As for France, it scored 23rd on the overall top locations for expat finances league table, 24th for wealth hotspot criteria only (as almost half of the expats living in France earn less than $60,000; the global average being 26%), 22nd on the income level ranking, 24th on the disposable income ranking, and 16th on the luxuries items ranking.

The Expat Experience Survey is the second report from the 2010 Expat Explorer survey. It explores expats' experiences of setting up in their new country of residence, integrating into local society as well as their quality of life compared to where they used to live. Key findings are that:

  • Thailand comes out at the top in terms of overall experience of expat life;
  • 25% of expats found "adapting to culture", especially in BRIC countries and the Middle East, a top concern. The most significant challenge is "re-establishing a social life," which 41% found to be true. Feeling lonely and missing friends and family is the second most common worry (34%) amongst expats ahead of relocation and it was found this is especially true for female expats.
  • Europeans prove to be the least friendly to expats and dominate the bottom five places on the ease of making friends leage table.
  • The majority of expats (57%) became so for increased career opportunities and financial gain.
  • Countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Russia that score high for expat finances perform badly on quality of life rankings. On the other hand, countries that score well on the quality of life rankings such as South Africa (3rd), Spain (6th) and France (7th) are much less appealing destinations to those looking for increased career advancement and financial gain. In fact, less that one expat in five (18%) moving to Spain did so for potential financial gain, along 26% in France, and 40% in South Africa.

On the overall experience rankings, France is at the 6th place. It is 11th on the ease to set up rankings, 2nd on the ease to integrate to culture rankings and 7th on the quality of life rankings. 33% of expats based in France are retirees, with 21% having moved there specifically to retire.

(MMC, 5 of December 2010)

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