HSBC survey: Global expats show resilience and optimism for future

October 19, 2021 | 18:10
The 14th Expat Explorer study, a global survey of over 20,000 people who live and work abroad, indicates that almost two-thirds of expats feel optimistic about the year ahead despite the volatility of the past 18 months.
HSBC survey: Global expats show resilience and optimism for future
Over two-thirds of expats believe their quality of life is better in their current location

The key reason driving optimism is their hope to live "normally" again (75 per cent), but 6 in ten (61 per cent) are also feeling positive because of the quality of life they will be able to enjoy.

Expats in Taiwan are the most optimistic (85 per cent), closely followed by those in Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam (all 83 per cent).

As the world has been in a state of flux during the pandemic, the study suggests that locations with stability ranked highly.

Nearly all expats based in Australia, Switzerland, and Jersey (in the Channel Islands) would recommend their location as a "stable" place to live in the next 12 months - Australia (92 per cent), Switzerland (92 per cent), Jersey (90 per cent).

Expats’ desire to live and work abroad has not been diminished by the pandemic – the majority plan to stay in their host location for the foreseeable future, with 80 per cent intending to continue living in their host country for the next year at least, and only 7 per cent planning to move.

Expats ranked Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand as the top three places to live and work in 2021.

The findings suggest that expats are prioritising personal lifestyle choices rather than traditional relocation drivers such as career progression (34 per cent) or expanding professional network (31 per cent).

The survey shows that the top 5 goals that expats look forward to achieving in the next 12 months are getting to know the local area (50 per cent), travelling (47 per cent), understanding and exploring local culture (47 per cent), making new friends (45 per cent), and going out more (41 per cent)

Over two-thirds (67 per cent) of expats also believe their quality of life is better in their current location.

Globally, over two in five (46 per cent) of expats feel that their host communities have shifted to be more supportive during COVID-19. The number is even higher in Vietnam where 51 per cent of expats say the local community has become more supportive of each other since the start of the pandemic.

However, the study also highlights some of the challenges that expats have faced during the pandemic. Over half (63 per cent) have been stopped from travelling abroad for business, and the majority (90 per cent) were unable to see family or friends in their home countries. Yet it also points to the resilience of the global expat community, as two in five (42 per cent) say they were able to continue to manage their physical health.

“Despite the very real challenges that the entire world has faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing sense of optimism that with the vaccine rollout picking up pace, we will all return to a more normal existence,” said Tim Evans, CEO of HSBC Vietnam.

“In Vietnam, this will mean a return to strong economic growth in a very vibrant and exciting country, where apart from the benefits of being in a fast-moving and vibrant economy, the country also offers a wide variety of geographies from mountains, jungles to beaches, wonderful food, and very hospitable people. As an expat living here in Vietnam, I would not want to be anywhere else at this exciting time for the country,” Evans noted.

Expats ranked Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand as the top three places to live and work in 2021. Vietnam ranked the fifth location in the Asia-Pacific region, having climbed three places to the 19th position in the world.

Expat Explorer is a comprehensive and in-depth global survey of expats. The 2021 survey is HSBC’s broadest look at expat living to date, with expats from 46 countries and regions sharing their views.

HSBC is one of the largest foreign banks in Vietnam in terms of investment capital, product range, and customer base.

By Anh Duc

What the stars mean:

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