Where to move to for quality of life and career growth

  • Quality of life, career
Published 7 months ago

Every year the IMD World Talent Ranking gathers data from countries around the world to understand economic performances based on investment and development, appeal (attracting and retaining talent), and readiness (quality of available skills). In 2017, data from 63 countries was analysed to provide further insight into competitive talent around the world, and below are the top three.

Not surprisingly, Western Europe came out first in terms of overall ranking scores, meaning that it invests heavily in education and consequently in developing local talent, and has a high appeal to foreign-skilled workers. While the Nordic countries invest considerably in education, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg performed better regarding the appeal factor. However, when looking specifically at the quality of life, remuneration, and opportunities for career growth, Switzerland, USA, and the UAE ranked in the top three out of all 63 countries.


Switzerland, high quality of life

Switzerland is world-renowned for being a popular destination for travellers and expats, and for good reason. Many are attracted to Switzerland for its gorgeous landscapes, delicious chocolates, stable economy and politics, high wages, safety, and the multicultural aspect.  

This Western European country has a multilingual population with four official languages (German, Italian, French, and Romansh), although English is widely spoken. Being surrounded by various European countries has made the country incredibly culturally diverse, which is one of its major attractions. Interestingly, the climate is also quite diverse, varying considerably between the mountain tops and the lower regions of the country. From skiing opportunities on the higher grounds to a mild, mediterranean climate with vineyards in the western region, to the lakes and hiking trails in the southern tip, expats and locals alike enjoy the range of activities readily available to them.

Another major aspect that contributes to the quality of life is the sense of safety and security and low crime rates. Moreover, low tax rates attract a lot of foreigners and visitors, prompting many to want to move there. There are plenty of opportunities for employment in banking, technology, scientific research, human rights organisations, and many more. Keep in mind, however, that Switzerland can be expensive, with a high cost of living and high rental prices.


NYC, quality of life

The United States is a large country comprised of 50 states, with diverse climates and geography, different cultures and lifestyles, prestigious universities, large international companies, cosmopolitan cities, and small towns. Overall, the US is a popular destination for expats, attracting many with its career growth opportunities, relatively competitive salaries compared to many other parts of the world, excellent doctors and private healthcare, and social freedom.

The most popular cities for expats include New York City, Boston, and San Francisco. Boston is known for its distinguished universities and student towns, while New York City attracts many in the art and music scene, not to mention the financial industry and large international corporations including the Big 4. NYC is vibrant, constantly changing and evolving, with plenty of opportunities for quick career development and growth. Many flock to San Francisco in search of a career in tech, or to create the next big startup.

On top of the career opportunities that attract many, salaries in those cities tend to be higher than the rest of the US, leading many to relocate there. With a diverse population especially in the bigger cities, expats feel comfortable with the large variety of languages, restaurants, and festivities. Additionally, the best doctors in the world are found in the US, despite high healthcare costs and a complicated healthcare system.     


Dubai, quality of life
Umar Shariff /

The most popular destinations in the UAE for expats are Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The first is the most populated region in the UAE, and is known for its large expat community, advanced technology, and career opportunities. The latter is the capital and political hub of the country, and also attracts foreigners looking for high-skilled jobs, career advancements, and high wages. On top of that, the low tax rates, low petrol prices, affordable electronics and cars, and generally low cost of living are attractive factors for many expats.

Dubai moves at a faster pace than Abu Dhabi. Thanks to the large expat population, there are many events and festivities to keep people busy and entertained while being social and making friends. With its cosmopolitan vibe, excellent healthcare, employment opportunities, modern technology and architecture, it is no wonder Dubai remains attractive. In fact, many expats enjoy living in Dubai as they are able to enjoy a disposable income and put some savings aside.

Abu Dhabi is similar in the sense that it also attracts many expatriates, offers great job opportunities and accessible public transport system, but with a more laidback lifestyle compared to Dubai. It is important to keep in mind that despite being extremely popular among expats for all the reasons listed above, rent and schooling can be quite expensive, and the summer heat can be unbearable at times.

7 months ago

I saw Belgium mentioned and almost spilled my tea. Belgium is the most backwards (bureaucratic nightmare stuck in 1950s), xenophobic (even if you are white Scandinavian), poorly educated (70% does not speak any foreign language), aggressive (yelling to your back "Speak Dutch", for no reason), 58% effective tax rate; for the trains that never come on time if at all, no hospitalization insurance, no dental and the worst roads in W. Europe. Did I mentioned that Dutch are extremely rude? No? Well, they are and I have lived in Hungary, Russia and USA- none can compare to Belgians in smallness of their souls , vindictiveness and arrogance.

Derek Severin
Derek Severin
7 months ago

Apparently you had a bad experience in Belgium, but spitting like this on a country without visibly knowing much about it is extremely childish ... Antwerp is definitely not the best place to go if you're not Flemish, as yes, they can be arrogant and nationalist (it is an extremist city). But you have obviously never been to Brussels (or anywhere else apparently), and don't know much about Belgian people. - The "Dutch" you are talking about are actually Flemish (Dutch is Holland... Not the same country). - Xenophobic? Belgium is very cosmopolitan (and coming from a Scandinavian, it's kind of hilarious). - Most Belgians speak 2 languages minimum, and in Brussels in general more. - We do have hospitalisation and dental insurance (I know it's crazy right!). Belgian people are known for being welcoming, self-deprecating, "bon-vivants". The opposite of what you're saying. You are however right about the taxes, trains, roads and administration, that are pretty bad here.