Expats living in India commonly have a love-hate relationship with the country. What inspires the hate is common knowledge—the heat and dust, the dysfunctional civic systems and the time zone unique to India known as Indian Stretchable Time. But what do the thousands of expat professionals like about India? HSBC now has precise answers to this question.
The low cost of raising children, the ability to save more and better social life are some of the factors that make India an attractive posting, an HSBC survey of expats say.
The bank spoke to over 9,000 expats, living in more than 100 countries, and they ranked India among the top ten countries to be an expatriate, ahead of developed economies such as Canada and Australia.
India ranked ninth out of 34 countries, while Switzerland, China and Singapore have emerged as the top three destinations. The survey looked at factors such as earning levels, savings, investment climate and lifestyle.
High-flying executives prefer India and other Asian countries where growth is expected to skyrocket in the coming few years. Expats in Asia are also more likely to earn over a quarter of a million dollars than their European counterparts.
Apart from better salaries, expats from Western countries cited “new challenge” as another reason for moving abroad. These new challenges include learning new languages or adapting to different cultures. Asian countries such as Japan, Taiwan or Thailand attract most of the adventurous expats. India is not high on their list, despite its diverse culture.
India is the sixth most attractive destination in this category, ahead of countries such as Spain and France. New Zealand, South Africa and Germany lead the chart. The survey takes into account factors such as quality of healthcare, education and children’s experience.
Cheaper cost of living is the main reason why India scores well in this category. Nearly 45% expats said that raising a family in India is much more cost-effective than their home country. “This is helped by cheaper childcare (which costs less for 46% of expats compared to an average of 20% globally), and cheaper education (less expensive for 37% of expats in India, compared to 17% of expats globally),” said the report.
However, a breakdown of this category shows that India did not perform well in areas such as quality of healthcare or social life for children.
China is among the top three destinations for expats, mainly because of its economic growth. It beat every other country on economic factors such as income and disposable wealth. India still beat China when it comes to overall experience. It is easier to make local friends in India (Rank: 7) than in China (11). Adjusting to culture, travelling locally, entertainment opportunities and environment are also better in India, according to the respondents.
Half of expats surveyed in India were aged between 35 and 54. Majority of them are employed in telecommunications, IT & Internet industry (21%) followed by construction/engineering (19%).