Singapore no longer among the top destinations for expats, says survey

Author: PM editorial | Date: 7 Sep 2016

Difficulty of achieving good work-life balance is making it a less attractive place to live

Quality of life is not what it used to be in Singapore, according to a new survey by global networking site Internations.org.

The city-state has dropped from fourth to 13th position in the Expat Insider Survey for 2016, although it is still considered best in the world for travel and transport and second-best for safety and security.

“Singapore attracts thousands of expats, due to the safe environment and career opportunities,” said the report. “However, certain factors like the cost of living can make life harder than expected.

“Given the name ‘Asian Tigers’, it is hardly surprising that expats in these four nations [Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan] are positive about the economies, but the opinions regarding job security and work-life balance are a bit more varied.”

The high cost of living in Singapore had much to do with its fall from the top 10 countries, despite this being partially negated by higher than average wages. While the quality of education was described as ‘excellent’, it is also expensive.

Life outside work also needs improving for those living in Singapore, according to the report. It ranked 52nd in the ‘personal happiness’ category and social life was an issue for many. “In 2015, 20 per cent of expats in Singapore said they were completely satisfied with their socialising and leisure activities, but in 2016 only 14 per cent are still of this opinion,” said the report.

However, from a purely financial point of view, Singapore still remains a strong choice: “In Hong Kong and Singapore, 65 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively, say that they have improved their job-related income by relocating, well above the global average of 54 per cent.”

The report also gave an indication of what the ‘average’ expat in Singapore looks like. The average age is 39.3 years old, 52 per cent are female and their average working week is 45.8 hours. Of the expat nationalities working in Singapore, 13 per cent are British, 11 per cent Indian and nine per cent American.