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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Career Opportunities: Bahrain, Ecuador, and Vietnam Are the Best Bet

Expats in Bahrain benefit from the best career prospects, while there are few job opportunities in Greece: looking for work is given as one of the three most common employment statuses there.
  • 70% of expats in Bahrain rate career prospects positively.
  • In Czechia, women are more likely than men to rate career opportunities positively.
  • Over half of the respondents in Greece believe that there is a lack of career prospects.
  • Many of the expats in the bottom 10 countries are already retired.

Bahrain Offers Top Career Prospects

When it comes to career prospects, Bahrain ranks 1st out of 68 countries. A total of seven out of ten expats rate career prospects there positively: in fact, only 8% of men in Bahrain regard career prospects negatively, compared to 21% worldwide, while just 6% of female respondents voice a negative opinion, compared to 28% of women worldwide.

More than half the expats in Bahrain (52%) agree that they considered the economy and labor market there a potential benefit before moving. In fact, the three main reasons for relocating to Bahrain are the partner’s career (17%), finding a job there (16%), and financial reasons (13%), reflecting Bahrain’s growing reputation as an innovation and entrepreneurial hub.

Ecuador and Vietnam Round Out the Top 3

In second position and jumping 60 places from its 2017 ranking is Ecuador: 69% agree that career prospects are generally good, and just 14% rate this factor negatively. Although expats in Ecuador were less likely to consider the country’s economy an advantage of their move — potentially due to the very high share of retirees there (46%) — one in five states that the most important reason for their relocation were financial considerations; this is compared to 5% worldwide. The same percentage (20%) say the main reason for their move was in fact a better quality of life.

Vietnam rounds out the top 3, with 71% rating career prospects positively. Over a fifth of expats in Vietnam (22%) moved to the country after they found a job there, while another 13% say they were looking for adventure or a personal challenge. A third of expats there are working as teachers, academic staff, or researchers. Interestingly, there are significantly more male than female respondents living in Vietnam (63% vs. 37%).

Very Different Experiences in Czechia

A total of four countries in the top 10 for career opportunities are also in the top 10 of the Working Abroad Index as a whole: these include Vietnam, Bahrain, Taiwan, and Czechia. Around two-thirds of respondents in both Czechia (67%) and Taiwan (66%) rate their career prospects positively. In Czechia, 69% of the respondents who’ve been living there for less than two years also agree that it was easy to apply for a job in the country, 28 percentage points above the global average (41%). When it comes to Czechia, there is also a disparity between how well male and female respondents regard their career opportunities, with 73% of women rating this factor positively, compared to 63% of men.

Poor Work-Life Balance Doesn't Mar Economic Prospects

Countries in the top 10 for career opportunities typically also do well in the Working Abroad Index in general. Only Chile and the USA, which rank 4th and 6th for career prospects, are somewhat of an exception, ranking 27th and 31st in the index. Both countries perform poorly when it comes to work and leisure, with Chile even ranking last for satisfaction with working hours!

In general, the economy and labor market were not something respondents worried about prior to relocating for any of the top 10 countries. Most noticeably in Chile (69%), Panama (66%), and Taiwan (61%), over six in ten say they considered these factors a potential advantage before moving to these countries.

Struggling Economies Last for Career Prospects

Greece finds itself in last place when it comes to career opportunities, with over half of the respondents (53%) rating them negatively. Italy comes in second to last, with just a third of expats rating career prospects positively, and Cyprus ranks 66th place out of 68.

In Greece (26%) and Italy (27%), over a quarter of expats say they considered the economy and labor market a potential disadvantage before moving — understandable, considering the Eurozone crisis, which affected Greece in particular, and the high unemployment rate in both countries. In all of the bottom 3 countries for career prospects, looking for work is among the top 3 main employment statuses, with percentages among respondents ranging from 9% (Cyprus) to 11% (Italy).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, six of the bottom 10 countries for career prospects are also in the bottom 10 of the Working Abroad Index: Greece, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Kuwait, and Turkey. In Serbia and South Korea, the share of respondents who are students (13% in Serbia and 12% in South Korea) is more than double the survey average of 5%. In six others — Costa Rica, Cyprus, Portugal, Greece, Italy, and Turkey — retirement is one of the main three employment statuses. So, a large share of expats in these countries (between 10% in Turkey and 51% in Costa Rica) at least no longer have to worry about their career prospects there.

Further Reading