Working Abroad Could Boost Your Salary by More Than a Third

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Young professionals who move abroad for work could see their earnings jump by more than a third, according to a new study which found that 18 to 34-year-olds stand to gain more from an overseas relocation than any other age group.

HSBC Expat’s survey released Thursday found that millennials and Gen Z employees enjoyed the greatest step up in terms of earnings and career progression of all overseas workers, based on feedback from 18,000 expats living in 163 markets.

The average 18 to 34-year-old’s earnings rose 35% after relocating overseas, the report found, taking the average salary for someone their age from $40,358 to $54,484. In certain markets, that increase was as high as 51%.

Older employees, meanwhile, enjoyed more modest raises. Earnings for those aged between 35 and 54 rose by just under a quarter (24%) after moving abroad, while those for employees aged 55 and over increased 9%.

The report also found that young people felt better rewarded professionally than their older peers as a result of their move abroad. Just under a third (31%) of 18 to 34-year-old respondents said they believed they were promoted move quickly after moving abroad. Additionally, 71% said they had picked up new skills and 55% said they felt more confident.

Three locations — Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and the U.K. — particularly stood out in this year’s report for their skills and earnings potential.

Hong Kong

The financial hub boosting careers and pay checks

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Hong Kong skyline featuring a Chinese boat. DuKai photographer | Moment | Getty Images

Hong Kong’s status as a global finance hub offers employees great career progression opportunities while providing clear benefits for pay packets too.

Over two-thirds (67%) of 18 to 34-year-olds working overseas in Hong Kong said they moved there to advance their careers. Typically, they found the move rewarded with an average 41% pay rise. Their older colleagues also saw wage increases of well above the global average.

United Arab Emirates

Young minds, great opportunities

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Dubai’s skyline Andrew Madali | 500px Prime | Getty Images

Considered one of the fastest-growing nations in the Gulf region, the UAE has been attracting young, international workers for years with its offer of competitive salaries, high living standards and strong career progression opportunities.

According to HBSC’s report, the average 18 to 34-year-old who relocated to the country for work enjoyed a 51% increase to their annual income. Their older peers also saw a significant jump in earnings, up around 40%.

United Kingdom

Upskilling young professionals with big ambitions

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London’s panorama of business and banking area from the St. Paul cathedral IR_Stone | iStock | Getty Images

When it comes to learning new skills, the U.K. hits the mark for young professionals. The majority (60%) of workers who relocated to the U.K. said they felt the move had been good for their career progression, while more than a third (36%) said they have developed new skills as a result.

The 18 to 34-year-olds who moved to the British capital for work typically received a pay rise of 35%, on par with the global average for their age group. Colleagues who were between the age of 35 to 54, however, enjoyed an above average boost of around 28%.

Making the move

John Goddard, head of HSBC Expat, told CNBC Make It the findings reflect the increasing value employers are placing on workers with international skill sets.

“The world is more interconnected than ever, but most of us only experience this online,” said Goddard. “In this marketplace, young people who can collaborate and build relationships across cultures are incredibly valuable to businesses.”

Of course, making the move can be easier said than done. However, Goddard recommended reaching out to other people who have made similar moves who may be able to advise you on your way.

“One of the key benefits of the globalized world we live in is there is likely to be someone you can learn from when it comes to moving,” Goddard said.

“People have been crossing borders for work for decades and they can be a valuable source of insight and knowledge to anyone looking to make the move today.”

Author: Karen Gilchrist

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