In its latest global survey about expat living, InterNations – social network and information site for people who live and work abroad – compares the satisfaction levels of men and women in the expatriate community.
For both genders, Ecuador is the number one destination. However for the most part, gender preferences vary quite a lot. The Expat Insider 2015 survey suggests that the general satisfaction with work and life in the Arab countries is considerably higher among female expats, despite the region being host to more men than expat women. Out of 60 expat destinations, the UAE ranks 13th for women, but only 28th for men: twice as many men find the cost of living very bad (10 percent versus 5 percent of women). Four in ten women think their disposable income is generally more than enough for daily life in the UAE, compared to 35 percent of men. At work, women are more satisfied with their career prospects: the UAE ranks 9th for women, but 18th among men worldwide. It is not just the work environment that women living in the UAE are more satisfied with. Settling in tends to be somewhat easier here for women, too, with almost three in four (73 percent) reporting that they generally find it easy to make new friends, whereas only 67 percent of men agree with this statement.
Another Arab Gulf state with significantly different gender ratings is Oman, which has made it into the top 10 destinations for women on 7th position but only ranks 34th for men. The country ranks especially well when it comes to the personal finance and work-life balance of expat women, with 8th and 11th position respectively: about eight out of ten women are generally satisfied with their financial situation and working hours in Oman, compared to only about 65 percent of men. With three times as many women as men with an average household income of 100,000 USD or more per year, this may explain why almost twice the number of women considers their income a lot more than enough.
Additionally, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are ranked 2nd and 10th in the personal finance category for women, while for men, these countries rank below the 30th place in this category.
Thailand lives up to its nickname, at least for female expats, ranking as the third-best destination for women. With nine out of 10 women agreeing that it is easy to settle down in Thailand and three out of four finding the Thai culture easy to get used to, this tropical destination is generally appreciated more by female than male expats. The slightly lower rankings for the aforementioned factors among male respondents might explain why Thailand only ranks 13th for men. About three out of four men think that the locals are friendly towards foreigners, compared to 85 percent of women.
Though miles apart, Hong Kong and the UK are also both appealing destinations for expat women looking for good career prospects. In the Job and Career category, Hong Kong places first for women and 35th for men. This significant difference is due to a higher number of women who are very satisfied with their career prospects compared to men (17 percent versus 6 percent). Although a larger percentage of men are actually in middle and top management positions, the lower average age of expat women may explain why they feel better about their future prospects of climbing the corporate ladder.
While the UK does not rank particularly well in the Work-Life Balance category (23rd position for women and 42nd for men), the difference between genders is rather impressive. Only 6 percent of men are completely happy with their work-life balance, compared to 19 percent of women. However, this may be due to men working a weekly average of 42.3 hours, while female respondents work an average of 37.7, as well as there being a higher number of part-time employees among expat women than men in the UK (19 percent versus 5 percent).
One of the countries that rates significantly higher for men than it does for women is New Zealand. It is ranked third by male expats and only 14th by their female counterparts. Expat men seem to be generally happier with the available leisure activities (85 percent versus 72 percent) and the local weather (43 percent versus 24 percent). These ratings, among other factors, lead to strongly varying rankings for the general quality of life, where New Zealand ranks 6th for men and a surprising 32nd for women.
Find more InterNations Expat Insider 2015 rankings visit www.internations.org/expat-insider.