Millennials move abroad for purpose and prospects, confirms HSBC Expat Explorer Survey

HSBC has announced its 2016 Expat Explorer Survey findings. The report is HSBC’s 9th and focuses this year on “Achieving ambitions abroad.”

Singapore and New Zealand were again first and second best destinations overall for expats, respectively, pursued by new top five entrants Canada, Czech Republic and Switzerland. Sweden, Bahrain and Germany meanwhile saw a decline compared to the year before, while managing to stay in the top 10 (Bahrain slipped from a lofty 4th in the 2015 survey):

  1. Singapore
  2. New Zealand
  3. Canada
  4. Czech Republic
  5. Switzerland
  6. Norway
  7. Austria
  8. Sweden
  9. Bahrain
  10. Germany

The report (PDF downloadable here) represented the views of 26,871 expats in 190 countries. In their foreword, HSBC explains this year’s theme:

This year’s findings suggest that whatever you are seeking in life, whether it is finding more fulfilment in your career, immersing yourself in a new culture, buying a property or getting access to better education for your children, expat life can help you reach that goal.

One such goal for many is meaning or fulfilment. The report says that just under a quarter (22%) of Millennials aged 18-34 move abroad to find purpose in their career, ahead of Generation X (14%) and Boomers (7%). Furthermore, 43% of Millennials are most likely to move abroad to pursue a new challenge, as opposed to 38% of Generation X and 30% of Boomers.

Interestingly, the report reveals that Japan (22%), Taiwan (22%) and the UAE (20%) are the three destinations with the highest proportions of expats overall who moved to find purpose. Japan recently featured strongly in Monocle’s 2016 Quality of Life survey, with Toyko, Kyoto and Fukuoka all in the top ten.

But it’s not just purpose that drives Millennials. Old-fashioned ambition appeals as strong as ever, with 37% saying they embraced expat life to improve job prospects. This is ahead of Generation X (25%) expats and just 12% of Boomers.

Leave a Reply