Top Cities For Your Career Abroad
European cities dominate both the top and the bottom of the Urban Work Life Index, according to findings in the Expat Insider survey.
Global expat community InterNations conducts one of the biggest annual surveys of life abroad, Expat Insider. In 2021, over 12,000 expats representing 174 nationalities participated. Covering key areas such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, career prospects and more, the findings of the Urban Work Life Index offer unique insights into working life abroad.
Munich is ranked the best city worldwide for the career-conscious expat. Expats in the Bavarian capital are particularly happy with the state of the local economy (94% positive ratings vs. 62% globally). Close to close to half (48%) even give it the best possible rating (vs.20% globally). Respondents are similarly happy with the local career opportunities (4th) and their job security (7th) in Munich.
However, life is not “all work and no play” for expats in Munich: close to four in five rate their working hours (79%) and work-life balance (78%) positively (vs. 66% globally for each factor). With more than twice the global average (27% vs. 11%), IT is the most common field of work by far, though an above-average share of expats in Munich also work in advertising, marketing & communication (13% vs. 5% globally) or manufacturing & engineering (9% vs. 7%globally).
With Aachen (2nd), a second German city joins Munich at the top of the Urban Work LifeIndex. Expats there give similarly good ratings in the Job Security (6th) and Work-Life Balance(8th) Subcategories. Over four in five expats in Aachen (85%) are also happy with their job in general (vs. 68% globally). And while the local career opportunities are not rated as favorably as in Munich, expats in Aachen are still much more likely to be satisfied with their prospects compared to the worldwide average (65% vs. 45% globally). Overall, education is the most commonly cited field of work in Aachen (26% vs. 12% globally), followed by the public sector(13% vs. 3% globally) and manufacturing & engineering (11% vs. 7% globally).
Dublin (3rd) also makes it onto the podium in the Urban Work Life Index. Expats in the Irish capital are particularly happy with their career prospects and job security, rating the city first worldwide for these two factors. About three-quarters of respondents are also satisfied with their work-life balance (75% vs. 66% globally) and working hours (74% vs. 66% globally) — only Copenhagen (1st) and Prague (2nd) do better in the corresponding subcategory.
This is good news for the above-average share of 42% of respondents who’ve moved to Dublin primarily for work-related reasons (vs. 36% globally). Dublin only gets comparably average results for respondents’ overall job satisfaction (30th) and the state of the local economy (33rd), though.
The Worst-Ranked Destinations
Rome not only places last overall in the Expat City Ranking 2021 but is also the worst destination in the Urban Work Life Index (57th out of 57 cities). In fact, it receives the worst results worldwide for job satisfaction, job security, and the local career opportunities, with nearly double the global average rating the career prospects in Rome negatively (60% vs. 33%globally).
Second-to-last placed Istanbul, on the other hand, is the worst place to be regarding work-life balance, at least according to expats. A third of respondents in Istanbul (33%) are dissatisfied with both their work-life balance (vs. 17% globally) and their working hours (vs. 16% globally). An even higher share also rates the state of the local economy negatively (52% vs. 19%globally) — 19% even give this factor the worst possible rating (vs. 4% globally).
Milan (55th) joins Rome in the bottom 3, with nearly half the expats in Milan (47%) viewing the local career opportunities negatively (vs. 33% globally). What’s more, twice the global average give the state of the local economy a negative rating (38% vs. 19% globally). And a quarter (25%) is dissatisfied with their working hours (vs. 16% globally).
Find out more in the complete Expat Insider 2021 report.