The best countries for female grads to work in
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The best countries for female grads to work in

The best countries for female grads to work in

Searching for a country to break glass ceilings in? If you are, Internations’ annual Expat Insider survey should come in handy.

But first, why should one move abroad to build a career? These stats should answer this question – More than half the women working abroad (51 percent) are satisfied with their career opportunities and they received at least a 29 percent increase in salary working in the top 10 destinations compared to working back home.

Another plus is putting down your work experience overseas on your resume. A foreign degree may be valuable but adding experience in a foreign country will make your employability twice as appealing.

Speaking to Financial TimesOliver Watson, managing director for UK, North America and the Middle East at search firm Michael Page, says foreign work experience is worth a great deal.

“Companies are operating over so many international boundaries, so the more languages and experience with different cultures you can bring to a company, the more you can help expand its global reach,” he says.

It’s also what distinguishes current leaders from future leaders, according to Peter Lacy, managing director of strategy for the Asia-Pacific region at management consultancy Accenture.

“Our clients increasingly operate seamlessly across borders. Our people need to be able to do the same,” he says. “That mindset comes from being exposed to new business cultures and experiences that come with international placements.”

Not enough women and employers are making the most of this, Internations’ survey reveals. Though they are almost equally as motivated to look for a career abroad, the number of them doing so are still 16 percentage points less than men who move abroad for work. Male expats are more than twice as likely (15 percent) to be sent abroad by their employer than their female colleagues (seven percent).

Here are the top 10 countries to build your career in:

1. Mexico 

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It’s pretty near white beaches, palm trees, and colourful cocktails too. Source: Shutterstock

  • Higher salary level abroad: 29 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 68 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 45

Mexico tops the list, with close to seven in ten (68 percent) satisfied with their career opportunities, though it does look that they work longer hours there. Also, only 29 percent think their salary in Mexico is more than what they could get in a similar job back home. Nonetheless, a German expat points out that in Mexico, there are “job and career opportunities in an environment where expats have a good standing”.

2. Myanmar

  • Higher salary level abroad: 46 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 70 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 45.5

In Myanmar, most female expats work in education (43 percent), with non-profit, charity, and religious organizations (14 percent.) trailing far behind. Job satisfaction is high (85 percent) and surpasses the global average (61 percent).

They also report having a high enough household income to cover everything they need – 39 percent said they even have a lot more than enough at their hands, which is more than four times the global average (nine percent).

3. Cambodia

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The capital city for the Kingdom of Wonder is brimming with character. Source: Shutterstock

  • Higher salary level abroad: 33 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 63 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 42.4

A female expat from Russia said “there are so many ways to develop and to try yourself in different spheres”. The country also reports the highest number of women who are satisfied with their working hours (82 percent).

4. Bahrain 

  • Higher salary level abroad: 65 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 65 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 40.9

Compared to the other top 10 destinations, women working in Bahrain has the shortest working hours though almost all are in full-time positions. As an expat from the Philippines puts it, “You can still find time to relax after a day of work.”

5. New Zealand 

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And on the weekends, you get to visit the hobbit abodes. Source: Shutterstock

  • Higher salary level abroad: 53 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 61 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 41.8

Contrastingly, New Zealand has the highest share of expat women in part-time work. Internations posits this could be due to many moving to the country to improve their quality of life (28 percent), whereas only 4 percent reported relocating because of work. “It’s just so beautiful here,” an American living in New Zealand states.

6. Kazakhstan

  • Higher salary level abroad: 62 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 67 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 45

The majority of women expat in Kazakhstan had moved to the Central Asian country for work, mostly through applying on their own, compared to being sent by their employers or recruited by a local company.

Work-life balance is rated negatively (28 percent compared to 22 percent worldwide), an unsurprising finding considering they work on average of 45 hours in a full-time job, compared to 42.7 hours globally

7. United Kingdom

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The UK – home to great career prospects and the English Premier League. Source: Shutterstock

  • Higher salary level abroad: 51 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 67 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 41.1

A French expat said, “the UK gave me a chance to prove that I could the job”. Indeed, expat women in the UK are hired across a diverse field of occupations: 14 percent in education and in healthcare, and  another 14 percent are found in advertising, marketing, and PR.

However, though half felt they are making more than they would at home, only about one-third (35 percent) feel it isn’t enough to cover all their expenses.

8. United States 

  • Higher salary level abroad: 62 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 64 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 43

It pays well to work in America – here, close to one in six expat women (16 percent) say they have a yearly gross household income of more than US$150,000 US dollars, which is twice the global average (8 percent). It comes at a price, though – the satisfaction with working hours is the lowest (52 percent) out of the top 10 countries to pursue a career abroad.

9. Kenya

  • Higher salary level abroad: 36 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 60 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 46.4

The bulk of female expats in Kenya are there on assignments by their employer (22 percent compared to 7 percent globally). While they are paid well (16 percent have a gross household income of more than US$150,000 per year), long hours and insecure jobs are reported.

10. Ireland 

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Prepare to be surrounded by snow and majestic horses too. Source: Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne

  • Higher salary level abroad: 51 percent
  • Satisfaction with career prospects: 63 percent
  • Weekly full-time working hours: 41

In Ireland, work hours for female expats are lower than the global average of 42.7 hours, with nearly seven in ten happy with their work-life balance. Career prospects are also positive.

The downside, however, appears to be because of how expensive it is to live there – fewer than 64 percent believe their household income is enough or more than enough to get by (compared to the 73 percent global average).

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