Switzerland offers the best quality of life, highly competitive salaries and “swift career progression”, according to the latest HSC Expats survey .

By Ian Horswill


Posted on July 8, 2019

Switzerland is a tiny landlocked country that is densely populated.

However, according to HSBC Expat’s annual survey, Switzerland offers the best quality of life, highly competitive salaries and “swift career progression” to make it the best country to live and work for the for the first time in HSBC Expat’s eight-year-old surveys.

According to data from Boston Consulting Group released last week, 7.5% of Switzerland’s population is a millionaire, the highest percentage in the world, and is not surprisingly, regarded as a tax haven. It is home to musicians Shania Twain, Phil Collins, Tina Turner and James Blunt.


Legendary American singer Tina Turner is a full-blown citizen of Switzerland.

A total of 82% of respondents based in Switzerland said their life had improved since moving to the country while 67% of people said they felt safer in Switzerland than in their home country. 70% said their surroundings were cleaner and 42% felt physically better.

Read next: The best countries in the world in 2019 according to US News & World

Approximately 30% of Fortune 500 companies have operations in Switzerland, which is bordered by Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein. The country has four official languages (Swiss German, French, Italian, and Romansh) and it is claimed 22% of the population is comprised of foreign workers and temporary outside residents.

The respondents were also highly satisfied with Switzerland’s political and economic stability. According to data from Boston Consulting Group released last week, 7.5% of Switzerland’s population is a millionaire, the highest percentage in the world.

The HSBC Expat Explorer breaks down its findings into three different categories: ‘living’, ‘aspiring’ (which refers to finances and career prospects) and ‘little expats’ – or family life and education.

Switzerland finishes 7th overall for living and 4th for children and family life. And it is in incomes that the country excels. Expats, or immigrants as many foreigners prefer to be called, earn an average US$111,587 in Switzerland, against a global average of US$75,966, according to HSBC. Switzerland is top for salaries, and 2nd for disposable incomes behind the United Arab Emirates.

The HSBC report, which is based on responses from more than 18,000 expats across 163 markets, marks the first time in five years that Singapore was not ranked in 1st place. The Southeast Asian city-state shifted to 2nd place.

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

Zurich is the largest city of Switzerland, a hub for railways, roads, and air traffic.
Zurich is the largest city of Switzerland, a hub for railways, roads and air traffic.

The biggest climber this year is Turkey, up 15 places to 7th, and Spain, which rose from 13th to 4th in the space of a year. Vietnam enters at 10th place for the first time.

Ian Yim, head of wealth and 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.”

The top 10 of HSBC’s “Best places to live and work” was rounded out in order by Canada, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.