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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Canadian Expats Are among the Better-Paid Expats Globally

Canadians working abroad are older than average, more likely to be female, and often work in education. While they usually earn a good salary, their working conditions abroad are seen as less agreeable and less modern compared to Canada.

Why do Canadians move abroad? According to the Expat Insider 2021 survey by InterNations, 45% of Canadians working abroad name their career as the most important reason for relocating to another country. Most of the Canadian expats were recruited internationally (16%), found a job on their own (15%), or were sent by their employer (11%). Just 3% moved abroad to start their own business. Aside from work-related reasons, an above-average share of Canadians working abroad (13%) originally relocated because they wanted to live in their partner’s home country / for love (vs. 10% globally).

Canadians Working Abroad Are Older and More Likely to Be Female …

On average, Canadian expats working abroad are 47.2 years old, which is considerably older than the global average (43.1 years). More than half (55%) are female (vs. 46% globally), while just 45% are male (vs. 53% globally). While some of the basic demographics are different, Canadians are fairly similar to the average expat in terms of their working life: 84% work full time (vs. 82% globally), and the average working hours among all survey respondents amount to 39.5 hours per week at work (vs. 39.9 hours globally).

… and Often Work in the Field of Education

More than one in five Canadian expats (22%) work in the field of education, which is ten percentage points more than the global average (12%). This might be related to English native speakers being much sought after: the share of British (22%) and US American (25%) expats working in education is also considerably higher than the global average. Other fields of work Canadian expats frequently mention are IT (9%) and advertising, marketing & communication (8%).

The high share of (language) teachers might also explain the lower share of Canadian expats in a senior/specialist position (21% vs. 30% globally). On the other hand, 15% are top managers / executives (vs. 13% globally). Lastly, a slightly above-average share say they are self-employed / freelancers (13% vs. 11% globally).

Working Conditions Abroad Are Not So Great for Canadians

Canadians are generally happy with their working life abroad: close to three-quarters (74%) are satisfied with their job in general, about the same as the global average (73%). However, a closer look at some individual factors reveals that the latter do not match the global average. Canadian expats report below-average levels of satisfaction with their working hours (66% happy vs. 70% globally), their work-life balance (66% vs. 68% globally), their local career opportunities (44% vs. 49% globally), and the state of the local economy (58% vs. 65% globally) in their respective host country.

This can be explained by looking at the most common expat destinations where Canadians work: This list features the USA (7%) and Germany (6%), followed by the Netherlands, Spain, and Qatar (4% each). Among expats living in these countries, Germany (6th) is the only country that ranks ahead of Canada (12th) in the Expat Insider 2021 survey’s Working Abroad Index. The Netherlands (13th) comes close behind, followed by Qatar (19th), and the USA (26th). However, Spain (51st) even ends up among the bottom 10 destinations worldwide.

They Especially Miss the Modern Way of Working

More than a quarter of the Canadian respondents working abroad (27%) say that factors like autonomy, freedom, creativity, personal development, and self-fulfillment are not important in the host country’s business culture. These values are closely related to the concept of New Work, which describes the new way of working in the global and digital age. On a global scale, just 18% of working expats say that this concept is not important in their current country of residence.

This perceived lack of a modern approach to work becomes even clearer when the respondents compare their host country to Canada: 40% say that New Work plays a less important role in the business culture of their host country than back home in Canada. Nearly one in five (18%) even say that it is far less important than back home, which is more than twice the global average (8%).

Canada Is Leading the Way When It Comes to a Modern Way of Working

In fact, just two out of the most common destinations for Canadians working abroad rank ahead of Canada when it comes to the importance of New Work in the local business culture: The USA (1st), the Netherlands (5th), and Canada (8th) all rank among the top 10 out of 55 countries worldwide. While Qatar (18th) and Germany (35th) land mid-field, Spain (48th) even ends up in the global bottom 10 again.

For example, just 32% of expats living in Spain say that New Work plays a more important role in the local business culture than in their home country. This is below the global share (49%), while 68% of expats in Canada say that this way of working is more important there than in their home country.

“The answers of both Canadians abroad and expats living in Canada show that Canada is leading the way when it comes to a modern way of working,” says Malte Zeeck, InterNations Founder and Co-CEO. “It is hardly a surprise then that Canadian expats are not always satisfied with their working conditions abroad.”

Canadians Enjoy Generous Remunerations and Remote Work

When asked what they like most about their current job, 35% of Canadians cite the good compensation and/or good benefits. In fact, Canadians feature among the better-paid expats around the globe: more than half (55%) have a gross yearly income ranging from 50,000 to 150,000 USD (vs. 45% globally), and 17% even make more than 150,000 USD annually (vs. 11% globally).

Another aspect they like about their current job, which is mentioned nearly as frequently, is the opportunity to work remotely (34%). Exactly three in four Canadian expats (75%) are able to work remotely (vs. 78% globally), and 66% of them like doing so (vs. 65% globally). They tend to work remotely more often than the average expat: 21% work remotely for more than 15 days per month (vs. 18% globally), and 44% even work fully remotely (vs. 39% globally).

The COVID-19 pandemic has not had much of an impact regarding remote work for Canadian expats. More than three in ten (31%) say that their employer’s remote work policy has not changed in the long run (vs. 26% globally). And just 19% each are now able to work remotely more often than before (vs. 28% globally) or say that remote work was newly introduced and is now here to stay for them (vs. 20% globally).

A good compensation and/or benefits (59%) is also the aspect that Canadian expats mention most often when asked to imagine an ideal work environment. Additionally, about half (49%) want a good work-life balance in their dream job, and 30% each wish for creative/interesting tasks and flexible working hours.

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