HSBC Expat Explorer: Mumbai best for expats in search of biggest paycheques

Mumbai, India’s financial services and commercial capital city, tops the latest HSBC Expat Explorer list of jurisdictions for expat salaries, with expats there earning an average annual income more than double the global expat average, data released today reveals. 

Expats working in Mumbai – formerly known as Bombay – earn an average annual income of $217,165 (£154,531, €175,824)  compared with the global average of $99,903, the HSBC Expat Explorer data shows.

Asian cities account for four of the top 10 when it comes to the largest expat pay cheques, the data also shows, with Shanghai in fourth place, with an average expat income of $202,211. Jakarta came in this year in eighth place on the 2017 expat income league table, at $152,589, and Hong Kong in ninth, at $148,410.

However, the data also show that cities where expat wages tend to be highest are also often associated with high living costs, while the cities which expats report as offering the greatest job and career opportunities tend also to be among the cities where wages aren’t quite as stratospheric, the data reveals.

HSBC Bank International, the international arm of the London-based banking giant HSBC Holdings, has been carrying out detailed research into the global expatriate world for the past seven years, making it one of the longest-running such surveys in the market, as well as one of the largest.

The latest survey was completed by some 27,587 expats from 159 countries and territories, via an online questionnaire, in March and April of last year, and was carried out for HSBC by YouGov.

Fifty-two cities were included in the final data analysis, with no fewer than 90 expat respondents from any of them, HSBC said.

Last year, as reported, Switzerland topped the earnings league table, where the average expat surveyed by HSBC was found to earn US$188,275 (£153,462, €180,326) a year, “almost twice the global average of US$97,419”, HSBC said.

Best for career-driven expats: San Francisco

For those expats more concerned with advancing their career than their savings account, at least for now, the top jurisdiction this year was San Francisco, where, of course, Silicon Valley is located.

London came in second, with 49% of those surveyed there saying it offered “fantastic” job opportunities, a possibly-surprising finding given talk of Brexit and reports that major financial institutions are planning major relocations of their London teams to EU cities like Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin.

New York, Dublin and Birmingham rounded out the top five jurisdictions for career-minded expats, the latest HSBC Expat Explorer research shows.

Value for Money

For those expats who just want their money to go further, meanwhile – such as those living on a fixed income, such as retirees – Bangkok, Berlin and Prague emerge as the best bets, “with 69%, 61% and 58% respectively saying the cities have an affordable cost of living”, according to  a summary of the HSBC Expat Explorer findings.

“The money is being put to enjoyable use,” the summary adds, noting that “the majority of expats in all three cities [reported] taking more holidays [in these cities]  – 63% in Berlin, 61% in Bangkok and 52% in Prague.”

‘A city for every expat’

Dean Blackburn, who is something of an expat expert as he’s head of HSBC Expat, notes that every overseas jurisdiction has its attractions, and that not all expats are attracted by the same features.

So while the financial and technology hubs of the US and the UK are the most attractive for ambitious expats eager to push their career to the next level, “there is a city out there for every expat”, he adds.

“Many expats measure the success of their experience abroad through the savings they can put away for the future, while others see it as a stepping stone to developing new skills.

“Some cities are a treasure trove of new experiences, and others serve as hubs for expats to explore.

“Whatever their priorities, expats should plan ahead to make sure they achieve their ambitions and make the most of their experience abroad.”

To read more about the HSBC Expat Explorer survey and its findings, click here. 

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