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Working Abroad: The Best Expat Jobs

There are a plethora of different qualities that make a country desirable to live in for expats. Whether you are seeking locations with outstanding international schools or dream of better weather and greater opportunities to get outside, there will be a country that fits your requirements. With so many different aspects of moving overseas to consider, how do you know which expat destination is best?

An aspect of life overseas that many expats find plays a major role in their decision making relates to working abroad. Overseas jobs tend to vary in salary, with some countries paying much less or much more for the same role back at home. Factor in living costs and working hours and it can be hard to distinguish if you would be better or worse off emigrating to a new country to work.

Fortunately for you, the team here at Expatriate Group have the answers for you. Using the top 10 countries from InterNations Working Abroad Index, our team have collected data relating to working in each county. Further to this, we scoured the globe sourcing the average salary for the most popular expat jobs to help give you a real-life picture of working overseas. Even better, we were able to put our research into one easy to use map for you – simply click on the pins to find out more!

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From using the map above, you will be able to see how each of the 10 countries rank based on our findings. Not only this, but you will get a glimpse of the best paid job in the country based on our sample of eight, and the average salary for this role. You can click the ‘Find out more’ tab in each information box to be taken to the country of your choice for a comprehensive look at different occupations, the cost of living, and the average % of a monthly salary spent on basic living expenses. Alternatively, use our navigation panel to the right or scroll down to take in all our fascinating findings.

What are the best overseas jobs for expats?

As our main ranking criteria, we have taken the mean of the average cost of living as a percentage of the average monthly salary. In short, this is the amount of your salary you could expect to spend on necessities each month. Our data is based on costs as an individual expat living and working abroad. All currencies have been converted into USD.

1Germany
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
38
Average Cost of Living
$1,634
Average Monthly Salary
$4,988
Cost of Living Percentage
32.8%

In the top position of our best expat countries to work in is European powerhouse Germany. With expats spending roughly 36.7% of their monthly salary on living costs per month, this gives the country the lowest expenditure in relation to the other top 10 countries analysed. Germany also boasts the second shortest working week, with expats spending just 38 hours in their job roles. See a full breakdown of jobs, average salary and the percentage spent on living costs per month below:

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$8,340$1,63419.6%
Pilot$7,681$1,63421.3%
Electrician$4,794$1,63434.1%
Plumber$4,786$1,63434.1%
Oil/Gas Engineer$4,047$1,63440.4%
Accountant$3,866$1,63442.3%
Teacher$3,340$1,63448.9%
Cabin Crew$3,055$1,63453.5%

As can be seen above, expats working as cabin crew in Germany spend approximately 53.5% of their monthly wages on living costs every month. Engineers, accountants, and teachers are in a similar position – spending over 40% of their pay cheques on living expenses.

In contrast, GPs receive an average of $8,340 per month – the highest paid job in Germany based on our selection. This means just 19.6% of a GP’s monthly salary is spent on living costs, leaving over $6,000+ in the kitty.

2Taiwan
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
46
Average Cost of Living
$1,833
Average Monthly Salary
$4,603
Cost of Living Percentage
39.8%

An island country off the east coast of China, Taiwan is ranked in second place as the best place to work abroad. Expats in Taiwan spend an average of just 48.7% of their salary on living costs per month. GPs, on average, use just 17% of their monthly salary of $10,582 on living expenses every month. Securing an expat role as a pilot or engineer in Taiwan will see you take home over $4,500 per month.

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$10,582$1,83317.3%
Pilot$5,969$1,83330.7%
Oil/Gas Engineer$4,840$1,83337.9%
Accountant$3,916$1,83346.8%
Cabin Crew$3,366$1,83354.5%
Teacher$2,845$1,83364.4%
Electrician$2,711$1,83367.6%
Plumber$2,593$1,83370.7%

Are there any downsides to working in Taiwan? With high salaries across the board compared to other countries we have researched and a relatively low average monthly living cost ($1,833) working life for expats seems comfortable. However, Taiwan has the second highest average weekly working hours, coming in at 46 per week.

3Norway
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
33
Average Cost of Living
$2,699
Average Monthly Salary
$6,263
Cost of Living Percentage
43.1%

With an average working week of just 33 hours, the lowest out of our top 10 countries, Norway ranks in the third position. However, it is not just a great work life balance that makes the country a great place for expats to work. Workers in Norway can expect to spend an average of 50.9% of their average wages on living costs per month.

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$13,008$2,69920.7%
Pilot$9,604$2,69928.1%
Accountant$5,691$2,69947.4%
Oil/Gas Engineer$5,366$2,69950.3%
Electrician$4,491$2,69960.1%
Plumber$4,484$2,69960.2%
Teacher$3,988$2,69967.7%
Cabin Crew$3,739$2,69972.2%

The average cost of living in Norway is $2,699 per month, which is the fourth highest when compared to the other nine countries being analysed. However, the average monthly salary is higher in general, averaging at $6,330.

Like many of the countries analysed during our research, both GPs and pilots receive the highest salary in Norway, with GPs receiving an average of $13,008. Other well-paid roles including engineers, electricians, plumbers, and accountants.

4Israel
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
43
Average Cost of Living
$2,726
Average Monthly Salary
$3,693
Cost of Living Percentage
73.8%

The only Middle Eastern country to feature in our top 10, Israel boasts an average expat salary of $66,445 per month. However, on average, expats will need to part with 56.8% of their monthly salary to cover basic living costs. The average cost of living in the country is $2,726. This would leave a teacher in Israel with just $1,232 of remaining income a month.

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$11,428$2,72623.9%
Pilot$6,742$2,72640.4%
Oil/Gas Engineer$6,473$2,72642.1%
Accountant$4,332$2,72662.9%
Plumber$4,074$2,72666.9%
Electrician$3,958$2,72668.9%
Cabin Crew$3,801$2,72671.7%
Teacher$3,514$2,72677.6%

At the opposite end of the scale, GPs spend only 23.9% of their wages in living costs per month, leaving them with $8,000 in disposable income. Compared to the 77.6% of teachers and 71.7% of cabin crew, this is a very agreeable figure.

5The Netherlands
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
38
Average Cost of Living
$2,735
Average Monthly Salary
$3,981
Cost of Living Percentage
68.7%

Based upon our research, GPs in the Netherlands receive the highest salary out of all the countries and occupations analysed. An average monthly take home for a GP is $14,170. With an average living cost in the Netherlands of $2,735, expats working as GPs spend an average of 19.3% on living expenses. With an average working week of just 38 hours, working life for expats in the Netherlands. However, is the Netherlands all that it seems sitting in position five?

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$14,170$2,73519.3%
Pilot$7,856$2,73534.8%
Oil/Gas Engineer$6,049$2,73545.2%
Plumber$5,466$2,73550.0%
Accountant$4,174$2,73565.5%
Cabin Crew$3,791$2,73572.1%
Teacher$3,391$2,73580.7%
Electrician$2,878$2,73595.0%

GPs, pilots, engineers and plumbers can all live comfortably in the Netherlands, with no percentage of living cost against monthly salary rising over 50%. However, teachers and electricians are at the bottom end of the scale. Teachers pay approximately 80.7% of their monthly salary on living expenses. With an average cost of living in the Netherlands standing at $2,735, this would leave a teacher with just $656 to play with. More worrying still is the salary for electricians. Despite having to be highly skilled, an electrician in the Netherlands receives just $2,878 per month. Shockingly, with the average living cost coming in at $2,725, this equates to a 95% spend on living expenses. An electrician would be left with just $143, essentially living pay cheque to pay cheque.

6Estonia
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
38
Average Cost of Living
$1,634
Average Monthly Salary
$3,345
Cost of Living Percentage
48.8%

Unlike many other countries we have explored, teachers are well paid in the European country of Estonia. One big perk of the country, however, is a low cost of living – $1,634. Teachers receive an average monthly take home of $3,413, meaning a 47.9% spend on living costs. This is a significant improvement compared to some of the countries we have discussed throughout.

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$5,784$1,63428.3%
Pilot$5,356$1,63430.5%
Oil/Gas Engineer$4,156$1,63439.3%
Teacher$3,413$1,63447.9%
Accountant$2,612$1,63462.6%
Cabin Crew$2,060$1,63479.3%
Electrician$1,689$1,63496.7%
Plumber$1,686$1,63496.9%

Again, GPs, pilots, and engineers take the top spot for the best paid expat jobs in Estonia, equalling a low percentage spend on living costs. All expat workers in Estonia can expect an average working week of 40 hours.

Interestingly however, tradesmen such as electricians and plumbers receive a poor salary, meaning a huge chunk of monthly pay is spent on living. Electricians shell out 96.8% of their salary on living costs per month, with plumbers exceeding this at 96.9%. This would mean approximately $50 left in the bank.

7Panama
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
44
Average Cost of Living
$1,612
Average Monthly Salary
$3,099
Cost of Living Percentage
52.0%

Ranking in seventh position is the country of Panama, nestled between Costa Rica and Colombia. Sitting on the isthmus linking Central and South America, Panama boasts a tropical climate and would suit expats wanting sunshine all year through.

However, can you afford to live in Panama? GPs, pilots, engineers, and accountants can certainly live a great expat life in Panama. The cost of living is low at $1,612 meaning expat salaries over $2,500 can go far. GPs are the best paid out of the job roles we have analysed, with an average monthly salary of $7,576. A downside to working in Panama is the long working weeks, typically 44 hours.

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$7,576$1,61221.3%
Pilot$3,939$1,61240.9%
Oil/Gas Engineer$3,840$1,61242.0%
Accountant$2,574$1,61262.6%
Electrician$1,901$1,61284.8%
Plumber$1,892$1,61285.2%
Teacher$1,675$1,61296.2%
Cabin Crew$1,397$1,612115.4%

Sunshine and a low cost of living, what is there not love about life in Panama? If you’re cabin crew life may not be so easy. The average salary for cabin crew in Panama is $1,397, less than the cost of living expenses. This means you’d have to pay 15.4% over your salary to make even basic ends meet.

8Luxembourg
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
40
Average Cost of Living
$3,218
Average Monthly Salary
$5,964
Cost of Living Percentage
54.0%

Located in Western Europe, Luxembourg boasts some of the highest expat salaries from our research. However, out of the 10 countries analysed, it has the highest cost of living too, coming in at $3,218. If you’re a GP or a pilot life should be relatively comfortable in Luxembourg with 23.6% and 33.3% of a monthly salary being spent on living costs, respectively. Furthermore, with an average working week of 40 hours, a work life balance shouldn’t be too taxing to achieve.

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$13,650$3,21823.6%
Pilot$9,654$3,21833.3%
Teacher$6,149$3,21852.3%
Oil/Gas Engineer$5,216$3,21861.7%
Cabin Crew$4,164$3,21877.3%
Accountant$4,066$3,21879.1%
Electrician$2,730$3,218117.9%
Plumber$2,082$3,218154.6%

However, similarly to Estonia, it is the tradesmen who suffer financially in Luxembourg. Both electricians and plumbers earn, on average, below the average cost of living. With plumbers receiving an average salary of $2,082 monthly and the average living cost approximately $3,218, this means a shortfall in wages of $1,136. Similarly, the monthly salary spent on living costs for electricians comes in at 117.9%, a disparity of $488.

To live comfortably in Luxembourg the best expat jobs, besides being a GP or a pilot include, teachers, engineers, cabin crew and accountants.

9Czechia
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
39
Average Cost of Living
$1,498
Average Monthly Salary
$3,087
Cost of Living Percentage
48.5%

With an average of 75.6% of a monthly wage being spent on living costs, Czechia ranks in ninth place. Despite having the second lowest average monthly living cost compared to the other nine countries researched, and working hours hovering around 39 per week, some occupations in Czechia do not prove as fruitful as others.

The average pay for a GP is Czechia is $6,490 – up to 50% lower than GPs in other countries. Whilst this is a comfortable salary to live on in Czechia due to an average cost of living coming in at $1,498, it is significantly lower than other countries studied. Engineers and pilots fall into the same bracket.

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$6,490$1,49823.1%
Oil/Gas Engineer$5,886$1,49825.5%
Pilot$4,532$1,49833.1%
Teacher$1,914$1,49878.3%
Accountant$1,867$1,49880.2%
Cabin Crew$1,845$1,49881.2%
Electrician$1,250$1,498119.8%
Plumber$910$1,498164.6%

Teachers, accountants, and cabin crew can expect spend around 80% of their monthly salary on living costs each month, leaving approximately $300 to play with. Whilst this may seem a struggle in itself, it is again electricians and plumbers who receive the lowest wages in Czechia. Electricians spend, on average, 119.8% of their monthly wages on living costs each month, meaning an individual would have to find an extra $248 each month to cover the basic necessities. However, worse off still are plumbers. Despite having an average monthly pay packet of $910, the average cost of living means a spend of 164.6% on living costs – a difference of $588 that a plumber would have to find.

10Vietnam
Best Paid Job
GP
Average Working Hours
48
Average Cost of Living
$1,019
Average Monthly Salary
$1,489
Cost of Living Percentage
68.4%

The southeast Asian country of Vietnam is ranked tenth on our top 10 countries and offers the lowest average cost of living at $1,019. However, its also offers the longest working week, at 48 hours. Most people are happy to work long weeks if the money is right and the staff perks are substantial. However, with 75% of the jobs we have analysed resulting in a monthly spend of living costs above 50%, perhaps life in Vietnam for a working expat could be questionable financially.

OccupationAvg Monthly SalaryAvg Cost of Living% of Salary Spent
on Living Costs
GP$3,431$1,01929.7%
Pilot$2,152$1,01947.4%
Oil/Gas Engineer$1,965$1,01951.9%
Accountant$1,413$1,01972.1%
Cabin Crew$1,214$1,01983.9%
Plumber$658$1,019154.9%
Teacher$557$1,019182.9%
Electrician$522$1,019195.2%

Like all other countries on our list, GPs receive the highest expat salary in Vietnam. However, at just $3,431 a month, this falls into the top 30% of lowest expat salaries we have uncovered during our research. Plumbers, electricians, and teachers take the bottom three spots when discussing salary, with cabin crew in the lowest 10 also.

GPs, pilots, and engineers could live a comfortable lifestyle in Vietnam. Whereas cabin crew and accountants would be left with roughly $200 for other expenses per month.

Plumbers, teachers, and electricians receive staggeringly low pay in Vietnam – half the basic cost of living. Electricians receive, on average, $522. This would mean a monthly expenditure of 195% of their monthly take home to even afford basic living costs. The same is for teachers at 182.9% and plumbers, 154.7%.

What are the best expat jobs?

You’ve absorbed the data above and have made your own opinions on the roles and occupations that fare well overseas. However, we don’t like to do things by halves at Expatriate Group, so we wanted to give you a concise conclusion too.

Working abroad as a GP

Of the top 10 countries analysed, being a GP has come out on top as the best paid expat occupation (of the roles studied). Despite inequalities in salary between each of the 10 countries, GPs would fare well if heading overseas to take up a new job. With the countless years of training to become a qualified GP, perhaps it is not surprising that they have taken the top spot. Taiwan and the Netherlands present the best countries for expat GPs due to a monthly salary much higher than the average monthly living cost.

Teaching jobs abroad

Teaching overseas is an occupation taken up by many expats, particularly as so many foreign countries teach English. However, across many of the countries we have explored, teaching is one of the poorest paid professions. Taiwan and Luxembourg offer the best paid teaching opportunities for expats when compared to the average cost of living. Estonia and Germany could also be suitable and well-paid locations for teachers too.

Finance jobs abroad

Within our data we delved into the salaries of accountants, a skilled job for many expats. The outcome for accountancy across the 10 countries researched was a mixed bag but, in general, accountancy proved a stable occupation. Norway, Taiwan, and Germany all offered average expat accountant salaries well above the average cost of living.

Jobs abroad with accommodation

Some companies overseas specifically want to employ expats. However, they understand that when an individual (or family) is travelling abroad specifically for the job that they will need help setting up their new life. This is why many expat job offers come with accommodation, either permanently throughout the duration or for a number of months to allow their new employee to get on their feet.

If you have been offered a job overseas, make sure to take a look at the different perks on offer. For expatriate families this may include a house and schooling for children, for individuals; apartments and transport are commonplace.

Countries looking for engineers

From our research, being an oil or gas engineer can be a profitable job. However, it really depends on the overseas country being considered. Czechia and Estonia may not offer the highest salary for engineers compared to the other eight countries. However, when balanced against the average monthly cost of living, they are well paying steady jobs for expats in the country.

You will often see countries recruiting for expats to join teams as engineers overseas. Other jobs that you will see commonly advertised specifically for expatriates are:

  • Teachers
  • Accountants
  • Au pairs
  • Nurses
  • Hospitality staff

Best country for expats seeking overseas jobs

If you are thinking of taking the plunge and moving overseas, don’t forget to include working abroad when making your decision. There are so many elements to consider when planning to move abroad, but ensuring you have the correct income to facilitate your dream lifestyle is key.

Whether you opt to move to one of the countries we have discussed or will be conducting your own research, exhaust all your resources when decision making. Don’t forget, Expatriate Group have a number of resources to help you move abroad!

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