Hong Kong Has Asia’s Highest Expat Salaries

Expats living in Hong Kong are earning the highest salaries in South East Asia. The city is also ranked in the top 20 places in the world for expats to live and work by annual HSBC survey.
Hong Kong Has Asia’s Highest Expat Salaries
By Carli Allan
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Families living in Hong Kong are earning more than USD 72,000 than the average expat worldwide and the highest salaries in South East Asia, according to HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer Survey. The survey also reports that Hong Kong is one of the top 20 best places in the world for expats to live and work.

Expats in Hong Kong earn an average salary of HKD 1,402,663 (USD 178,000) a year, which is 10% higher than salaries in Singapore. Of the 163 countries surveyed, the highest average annual salaries were in Switzerland (USD 202,865), the US (USD 185,119) and then Hong Kong.

Although expats may be earning more in Hong Kong they prefer to live in Singapore, which was ranked the world’s number one expat destination.

The survey, which was completed by more than 22,000 expats worldwide, looks at topics including personal finance, work-life balance, and the overall cost of raising children. As well as being listed in three league tables – Economics, Experience and Family – countries are given an overall global ranking.

Hong Kong is ranked 17th in the world, which is a drop of four places from 2017. It is 11th in the league table for economics, 21st for family, and 18th for experience.

Hong Kong is popular as a family destination, where the majority of expats are aged 34-54 years and 37% have children. Nearly all expat families will send their child to one of more than 80 international schools, and 50% of expat parents in Hong Kong say the quality of childcare and education is better here than back home. But this does come at a cost.

The report states: “Four in every five expat parents (82%) say it is more expensive to raise a family in Hong Kong than it was at home.”

Nearly half of all expats in Hong Kong moved to progress their careers (40%), and 28% to improve their earnings. While they may be earning more than in other Asian countries such as Singapore, their quality of life is suffering.

More than half (57%) said working life comes with added stress levels and 52% of expats in Hong Kong are working more evenings and weekends than they did at home. Consequently, 48% of expats say their work/life balance is worse now than in their home country.

Singapore was named the best place in the world for expats to live and work for the fourth year running; New Zealand, Germany, Canada and Bahrain were named as the next best expat destinations in the league’s top five. In other parts of Asia, Malaysia jumped 10 places from 2017 to be ranked 15th, Vietnam 19th, and Thailand 21st.

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