Top 10 Countries for Women to Work Abroad
For International Women’s Day, InterNations took a look at women working abroad and the countries that they are most satisfied in.
- Women are less likely to move abroad for their career than men (25% vs. 38%).
- Czechia, Bahrain, Taiwan, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Malta, and Australia offer the best working life for women.
- Women working abroad are more likely to be single and not have kids than men working abroad.
Munich, 28 February 2019 — Women are more likely to be the traveling spouse than actively pursuing a career abroad, as the latest Expat Insider survey by InterNations reveals. In fact, 28% of female expats name love or their partner’s job/education as their main motivation for moving, followed by just 25% citing reasons that are related to their own career. Male expats, on the other hand, name work-related reasons most commonly (38%), while just 13% moved for love or their partner’s job/education.
For International Women’s Day, InterNations, the world’s largest expat community, took a look at the women that do work abroad and the countries in which they are happiest with their career. The findings are based on the insights of 8,855 female expats that took part in the Expat Insider 2018 survey, one of the most extensive surveys about working and living abroad, annually conducted by InterNations. For the survey’s Working Abroad Index, several topics such as career prospects, work-life balance, and job security are factored in.
Career Women Abroad
Similar to male expats, women working abroad tend to be highly educated: about nine in ten of both women (89%) and men (85%) hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. This is despite the fact that women working abroad are on average 3.5 years younger than their male counterparts (40.1 years vs. 43.6 years).
When it comes to their personal life, the Expat Insider survey shows that just 56% of women working abroad are in a committed relationship — this is 15 percentage points lower than the share of men who are working abroad and in a relationship at the same time (71%). What is more, 63% of working female expats do not have any children, while just 47% of men say the same. “The results of the Expat Insider survey leave us with the question whether women have the same opportunities as men when it comes to combining a career abroad with family life,” says InterNations Founder and Co-CEO Malte Zeeck. However, regardless of whether this is a personal choice or not, female and male expats working are about equally satisfied with their life abroad (76% vs. 75%, respectively).
Top 10 Countries for Women to Work Abroad
- Career prospects: 73% satisfied (vs. 63% of men)
- Work-life balance: 79% satisfied (vs. 78% of men)
- Job security: 78% satisfied (vs. 66% of men)
Czechia is the highest-ranking country for women to work in, climbing up eight ranks within one year. With 83% of women being happy with their jobs in the country, their satisfaction rate is eleven percentage points higher than that of men (72%). Furthermore, female expats in the country (73%) also tend to rate their career prospects better than male expats (63%). In fact, a female Ukrainian expat appreciates the “availability of jobs on the market”. However, just 38% of expat women working in Czechia say that they earn more than what they would in a similar position back home, compared to 50% of all women working abroad.
- Career prospects: 66% satisfied (vs. 72% of men)
- Work-life balance: 76% satisfied (vs. 79% of men)
- Job security: 61% satisfied (vs. 78% of men)
After being voted the best destination for women working abroad in 2017, Bahrain lost the top spot in 2018. However, the country still boasts above-average results: nearly two-thirds of female expats in the country (66%) are pleased with their career prospects (vs. 53% of women globally). The same is true for their work-life balance, with 76% of female expats in Bahrain being pleased, 16 percentage points more than women globally (60%). Therefore, it might be no surprise that close to nine in ten female expats (88%) are generally happy with their jobs in Bahrain, compared to 62% of women worldwide.
- Career Prospects: 66% satisfied (vs. 62% of men)
- Work-life balance: 77% satisfied (vs. 66% of men)
- Job security: 72% satisfied (vs. 78% of men)
Taiwan narrowly dropped out of the top 10 destinations for women working abroad in 2017 (11th) but is back in the top 3 now. The comeback might be due to women’s higher satisfaction with their working hours (72% in 2018 vs. 60% in 2017) as well as career prospects (66% in 2018 vs. 59% in 2017). A Filipino expat living in Taiwan even states that her favorite thing about living in the country is “how easy it is to find a job”.
- Career prospects: 50% satisfied (vs. 61% of men)
- Work-life balance: 75% satisfied (vs. 74% of men)
- Job security: 73% satisfied (vs. 69% of men)
Ranking among the top 10 countries for women working abroad for the fourth year in a row, Norway comes in fourth now. A British female expat points out to like the “opportunity to live a healthy life with a good work-life balance” in Norway. In fact, three-quarters of female expats in Norway (75%) are satisfied with their work-life balance (vs. 60% of women worldwide), and 86% are happy with their working hours (vs. 61% of women globally). The high overall ranking is despite the fact that female expats are less satisfied with their career prospects in Norway than men (50% vs. 61% satisfied).
- Career prospects: 49% satisfied (vs. 65% of men)
- Work-life balance: 82% satisfied (vs. 84% of men)
- Job security: 61% satisfied (vs. 69% of men)
After coming in tenth for three consecutive years, Denmark slightly climbs up the ranks. One of the reasons for the country’s improved rating might be the higher level of female expats’ satisfaction with their job security (61% in 2018 vs. 53% in 2017). However, Denmark’s work-life balance is the country’s strongest asset, being voted the best in the world by women! An Iranian woman mentions “the flexible working hours” among her favorite things about life in Denmark. More than four in five (84%) are happy with their working hours (vs. 61% of expat women globally).
- Career prospects: 56% satisfied (vs. 62% of men)
- Work-life balance: 65% satisfied (vs. 59% of men)
- Job security: 70% satisfied (vs. 79% of men)
Luxembourg is an attractive destination for those looking for a well-paid position. More than three-quarters of female expats working in Luxembourg (76%) believe that they earn more than they would in a similar position back home. For a German expat the fact that her “job is well paid” is even one of the best things about life in Luxembourg. Both men and women rate Luxembourg as the best country in terms of economy and job security for the fourth year in a row! Exactly seven in ten women who are working (70%) are happy with this factor, compared to 58% of women worldwide. What is more, not one female respondent in Luxembourg has something negative to say about the state of the country’s economy (vs. 18% globally).
7. New Zealand
- Career prospects: 51% satisfied (vs. 70% of men)
- Work-life balance: 78% satisfied (vs. 70% of men)
- Job security: 68% satisfied (vs. 76% of men)
A great work-life balance seems to play a major role in women’s satisfaction with working in New Zealand: close to four in five female expats (78%) are happy with this factor, compared to 60% of women working around the globe. What is more, 80% of expat women in the country are pleased with their working hours, which is six percentage points higher than the results among male expats working in the country (74%). Only when it comes to their career prospects do women seem to be worse off than men in New Zealand: just 51% of expat women are satisfied with this factor, compared to 70% of men. However, not everyone seems to agree, as a female British expat living in New Zealand points out the “ease of getting jobs and starting a business of our own”.
8. The Netherlands
- Career prospects: 58% satisfied (vs. 68% of men)
- Work-life balance: 73% satisfied (vs. 77% of men)
- Job security: 68% satisfied (vs. 73% of men)
With 73% of women happy with the respective factor, the Netherlands also offers a great work-life balance (vs. 60% women worldwide). Furthermore, 92% are happy with the economy, compared to 64% of women worldwide. Close to half (48%) even say it is very good, which is twice the global average (24%). Maybe this contributes to a Polish expat stating that the “great salary” is one of the best things about life in the country. Interestingly, 58% of women are happy with their career prospects, which is higher than the global average of women (53%) but lower than the share of men (68%).
- Career prospects: 58% satisfied (vs. 48% of men)
- Work-life balance: 70% satisfied (vs. 81% of men)
- Job security: 66% satisfied (vs. 65% of men)
Moving to Malta seems to be beneficial for women’s careers, as 58% of female expats in the country are satisfied with their career prospects (vs. 48% of men). What is more, about two-thirds of female expats on the island (66%) are pleased with their job security, which is eight percentage points higher than the global average of women (58%). While women working in Malta are more likely to be satisfied with their work-life balance than female expats worldwide (70% vs. 60% globally), male expats in the country seem to enjoy it even more: more than four in five (81%) are happy with this factor.
- Career prospects: 65% satisfied (vs. 67% of men)
- Work-life balance: 70% satisfied (vs. 69% of men)
- Job security: 64% satisfied (vs. 63% of men)
Being about equally satisfied with their career prospects, work-life balance, and job security, Australia seems to be a great country to work for both female and male expats. In fact, 70% of women are happy with their work-life balance, compared to just 60% of women globally. A female Swiss expat points out that “the work-life balance and the weather are amazing” in Australia. Maybe that is one of the reasons why 64% of women are also satisfied with their jobs overall, which is even 13 percentage point more than in 2017 (51%). What is more, 60% of expat women also say that they earn more in the country than they would in a similar position in their home countries (vs. only 48% in 2017).
About the InterNations Expat Insider 2018 Survey
For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNations asked more than 18,000 expatriates representing 178 nationalities and living in 187 countries or territories to provide information on various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and nationality. Participants were asked to rate up to 48 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven. The rating process emphasized the respondents’ personal satisfaction with these aspects and considered both emotional topics as well as more factual aspects with equal weight. The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were then bundled in various combinations for a total of 17 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up six topical indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, Personal Finance, and Cost of Living Index. Except for the latter, all indices were further averaged in order to rank 68 expatriate destinations around the world. In 2018, the top 10 are Bahrain, Taiwan, Ecuador, Mexico, Singapore, Portugal, Costa Rica, Spain, Colombia, and Czechia.
For a country to be featured in the respective Working Abroad Indices for women and men, a sample size of at least 31 survey participants per country and gender was necessary. In 2018, 57 countries met these requirements for women working abroad, and 63 for men.
With 3.4 million members in 420 cities around the world, InterNations (www.internations.org) is the largest global community and information site for people who live and work abroad. InterNations offers global and local networking both online and face-to-face. At around 6,000 official events and activities per month, expatriates have the opportunity to meet other global minds. Online services include country and city guides created by a team of professional writers, guest contributions about life abroad, and discussion forums to help members with topics such as the local job or housing search. InterNations membership is by approval only to ensure we remain a community of trust.
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