Top 10 countries to live and work — and it's not the UK

Saleha Riaz
·3-min read
The average salary in Switzerland is £4,792.89. Photo: Getty Images
The average salary in Switzerland is £4,792.89. Photo: Getty Images

Switzerland topped a list of best countries to live and work in, with a high average monthly salary and a strong ratio of property price to income, followed by Denmark and Iceland. The UK didn’t make it to the top 10, coming in at number 18.

The average salary in Switzerland is £4,793 ($6,392) and it has a property price to income ratio of 8.68. It also helps that the Swiss are “committed to neutrality and peace,” the report by Blacktower Financial noted.

Chart: Blacktower Financial
Chart: Blacktower Financial

The Nordic states also did well in the rankings, with Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Finland all making the top 10. “It seems the chilly climate doesn’t stop them from being great places to live,” Blacktower said.

Right at the bottom of the list, at number 23, 24 and 25, were Israel, Taiwan and Spain. Israel had a monthly salary of £1,901 and a property price to income ratio of 12.83. The average salary in Taiwan is £1,105 and in Spain is £1,235.

Research has found that most people move abroad for lifestyle improvement, adventure, new activities, to earn more money and for new career opportunities.

Blacktower used data relating to key metrics such as world happiness data, quality of healthcare and property price to income ratio.

The firm also shared its top financial tips for managing and protecting expat finances when living and working abroad. It stressed the importance of familiarising with local tax laws, and “Brexit-proofing your finances.”

READ MORE: UK nears top of list of countries most difficult to get on property ladder

“Seemingly, many of the high street banks are stepping back from their EEA [European Economic Area] clients and leaving many people’s finances in the balance once the Brexit transition period ends,” the report warned.

“Speak to a professional and ensure that your financial future is in the hands of someone regulated and licensed to operate in a post-Brexit era,” it added.

Meanwhile, London has been ranked as one of the worst cities in the world to live as an expat — even before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

That is according to the annual Expat Insider 2020 report by InterNations, which surveyed more than 15,000 expatriates representing 173 nationalities and living in 181 countries. Out of the 66 cities, London ranked 51st.

Respondents were asked to rate 25 different factors, which fall into 13 subcategories, related to life abroad. Those 13 subcategories were then put into four indices – Quality of Urban Life, Finance and Housing and Urban Work Life.

London’s ranking was dragged down by its poor scores across many categories. It ranked 59th in the Finance & Housing Index with 38% of respondents says housing is hard to find vs. 27% average globally. Only 8% of expats considered UK housing “affordable” versus 41% on average worldwide.

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