Best Paid Expat Jobs – Part 1

Money might not be able to buy you love and happiness but it sure can buy you a lot of other things.

Fast cars and servants aside, the possibility of earning a good wage and enjoying a better quality of life is why many people emigrate in the first place. A decent salary can also really help relieve some of the stress involved in the expat transition. So what are the best paying expat jobs out there and where do you need to go to get them? Here are four of the main contenders.


Job’s in finance often come with a high wage wherever they are, but if you work in this sector and want to emigrate than Singapore is the place for you. According to a survey conducted by international bank HSBC a mammoth 45% of expats living in this Asian city-state earn more than £120,000 a year (globally the average amount of people commanding this sort of wage is just over 20%). The financial sector employs almost a third of Singapore’s expat populace but there are also high paying jobs up for grabs in areas like IT and advertising. Other factors which make Singapore an attractive destination are the high quality of life it promotes and its incredibly low crime rate.

Before you start packing remember that the majority of positions available in Singapore are usually held back for experienced, high level professionals and the average age range of expats working in Singapore (35 to 55) reflects this. Having said that, eastern opportunities for younger foreign workers have increased in recent years so if the idea of working in this buzzing metropolis appeals to you it may well be worth a little research.

Teaching English

You probably didn’t expect teaching English to be one of the best paying expat jobs but depending on where you go it really can be a financially rewarding career option. The very best paid teaching job for English speaking expats is teaching English as a second language in Dubai. As the number of international corporations in the oil-rich nation have increased so has the demand for English speaking workers and, consequently, English teachers. It is possible to earn up to and beyond £3,000 a month in Dubai and the good salary is usually complimented by free, fully furnished accommodation and annual return flights to your country of origin. Obviously, with so many benefits competition for teaching jobs in Dubai is fierce. As positions are often paid according to experience expat’s hoping to command a top wage will need some background in teaching, preferably in other foreign countries. Also, if you plan to live and work in Dubai (or any middle-eastern nation) it’s imperative you do some research into the very different culture you will have to acclimatise to.

If Dubai doesn’t appeal then there are other countries which offer a reasonable to high wage for teaching English as a second language. These are a few examples; Vietnam, Japan, Korea and Taiwan; (listed from lowest average wage to highest).


Most people wonder what it would be like to fly. If you’re tired of wondering then becoming a pilot is about the closest you’ll get to finding out. It’s true that this career path is pretty lucrative no matter what country you fly from but the opportunities available for foreign pilot’s in China are particularly good. At the beginning of 2011 there were at least 1,300 foreign flight captains living and working in China and with Chinese airlines expanding all the time this number is only set to grow. In fact it’s been predicted by China Business News that by 2015 the aviation industry in China will require an additional 18,000 pilots.

One of the reasons pilots from overseas are welcomed is because the system used for training pilots in China takes roughly ten years to complete, meaning they just can’t train up locals quickly enough to meet the increasing demand. Foreign pilots are so sought after by Chinese airlines that they are often paid way above their usual worth. Spring Airlines employs around 30 expat pilots and pays them up to £100,000 a year after tax.

Expat pilots are also valued for their knowledge of the English language and international flight routes.

Chinese airlines are also particularly keen to employ younger pilots, especially as the retirement age for that profession in China is 60, five years lower than the global average. Many airlines employ foreign captains in their 30’s and offer them salaries and benefits they couldn’t hope to achieve in other countries until much later in life.

Although Chinese pilots often have to sign a 15 year contract with an airline, foreign pilots aren’t required to commit themselves nearly as much can sign 1-3 year contracts if they wish.

If you’re looking to land in a place which offers an enviable wage, job stability and a high quality of life then China could be the place for you.


Germany isn’t all sauerkraut and bratwurst. Not only is the country a fantastic blend of the sedate picturesque and the hectic modern but it has the largest economy in the euro-zone, a huge expat community and some fantastic job opportunities. One of the sectors where expats are most in demand (and consequently where wages are at their highest) is IT. Germany and the UK combined make up half of the IT industry for all of Europe, but the former country is hindered by a real shortage of staff. More work permits are issued by the nation for IT staff then for almost any other kind of worker. Germany has no state-set IT licensing qualifications but you will be expected to have previous experience working at the level you apply for. Although demand in all IT subsectors is strong programmer and computer hardware positions frequently come up for skilled and experienced workers. Several large companies which specialise in IT have conglomerates in Germany; a few of the largest include Microsoft, SAP and Oracle. Of course salaries vary according to the position you occupy and the company you work for but generally speaking higher profile jobs in IT are paid anywhere from £40,000 to £85,000 pounds.

In Germany the working attitude is quite different to that of the UK. Long hours are not so common but deadlines are always expected to be met. In many companies there is an almost obsessive focus on punctuality, productivity, discipline and order (which some expatriates wrongly take to be a sign of unfriendliness) but the nation is considered to have a good work/life balance. German culture is wonderfully varied and English is taught to the populace as a second language from a young age which makes it far easier for expat workers to acclimatise (though you should still make the effort to learn the language of your host nation!)

If you work in IT and fancy a change then Germany is sehr gut!

If none of these job’s tickled your fancy then don’t despair, just keep your eyes peeled for Part 2.

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