Career Hotspots – Economic Movers and Shakers in 2014

Career Hotspots – Economic Movers and Shakers in 2014

On top of the world: Countries to make your fortune in, in 2014

Three months ago, HSBC released a study that looked at economic opportunities and quality of life for expats across 34 countries. Turns out, Asia’s developing economies are the best places to live and work. Expats there are paid up to 15% more than locals and the low cost of living makes every buck go further. What’s more, peoples enjoy an active social life, thanks to better weather and the proximity to beaches.

According to the study, China and Thailand are the two best countries to be an expat, while Bahrain and Qatar in the Middle East too are close to the top. With the sole exception of Germany, high taxes and costly services, combined with ongoing financial problems, make Western Europe rather unattractive.

But the world is more than just a handful of countries. If you are looking to move, there are many other options to explore. The Standard Chartered Global Focus 2014 report says that global growth is set to increase from 2.7% last year, to 3.5% in 2014. Purely from an economic perspective, then, there are many economies poised for significant growth. Targeting any of these countries for your job hunt could pay rich dividends.


As stated before, Asia, especially China, has some of the highest paid expats in the world. According to the 2013 Expat Explorer survey, the average expat salary here is US $74K per annum – at least 15% higher than the global average. Last year, 69% of expats moved to China for better job prospects, higher than the global average of 36%. In report after report, China emerges among the top destinations – based on earning potential, levels of disposable income and satisfaction with the economic outlook.

Analysts at KPMG predict that China will contribute 30% of the world’s economic growth by 2017. The country’s GDP is expected to grow 8.1% in 2014 as opposed to 7.8% last year, to quote IHS Global Insight. In the light of such positive sentiment, hiring is expected to go up. The Antal International survey points out that over 62% of Chinese employers intend to ramp up hiring for managerial positions in Q1 2014.

Sectors in focus:

Automotive and banking are the two industries likely to recruit the most this year. Wholesale and retail sectors also display positive hiring intention, followed by finance, insurance, real estate and manufacturing. In the Employment Outlook Survey from ManpowerGroup, experts say that expats with a combination of industry expertise and language skills will be most sought after by recruiters this year.


Despite political unrest, Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is looking at GDP growth of 3% this year. For the second time in six years, HSBC’s expat survey ranked the country first in the overall ‘experience’ category, placing it ahead of Spain, Singapore and Malaysia! In pure economic terms, too, Thailand took the fourth place, right behind Switzerland, China and Qatar, where earning potential and high disposable income for expats is concerned.

In May 2013, MasterCard released findings of its research of total international visitor arrivals and cross-border spending. The survey said that Bangkok would overtake London to be the year’s No. 1 city for travel, ahead of London, Paris, Singapore and New York.

Sectors in focus:

Thailand is an exports and electronics focused country, and is looking to grow exports to G3 economies thus year. The SCB Economic Intelligence Centre expects Thailand’s overall exports to grow this year.

Industrial and service sectors are the bedrock of the Thai economy. Sectors in focus include trade, logistics, communications, construction and mining. Being a tourist paradise, financial, education, hotels and hospitality sectors account for ~25% of the country’s GDP. Labour scarcity is the main challenge facing the economy at the moment and skilled expats with experience in any of these sectors are in demand.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong boasts great infrastructure, amenities like superior healthcare and schooling for expats, as well as a vibrant lifestyle, making it quite popular with expats looking to enjoy a slice of the Asian growth story.

According to a snapshot survey by Mercer, nearly 44% of the surveyed companies in Hong Kong expect business performance to pick up in 2014. In addition, 25% companies intend to step up hiring. Buoyed by a positive economic scenario, companies are also expected to offer a higher salary increase – an average rise of 4.6% in 2014.

Sectors in focus:

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industry is predicted to offer an above-average salary increase of 5.7%. The services sector, meanwhile, contributes to nearly 90% of the GDP in Hong Kong. Consequently, hiring is expected to pick up in industries like banking and finance, IT, international law, construction, real estate and mining, to name just a few. Expats are most likely to find jobs with multinational companies with a pan-Asian presence.


Due to the higher income potential and better quality of life it offers, Singapore has always been a popular destination for expats. According to the 2013 Expat Explorer survey, Singapore ranks sixth out of 37 countries vis-à-vis the overall expat experience.

Investment analysts predict the Singaporean economy will grow at a rate of 3.5-4.2% in 2014. The Manpower Employment group survey reports an increase in recruitment levels too. Experts predict a year-on-year growth of 6 percentage points in hiring intention.

Sectors in focus:

In 2014, finance, real estate and insurance are the biggest sectors to watch out for, in Singapore. Hiring will improve in transportation and utilities too. This is followed by better hiring prospects in wholesale and retail trade. The IT sector also is expected to grow, generating job opportunities for technology professionals. The industry is optimistic, with a rise in confidence levels from 66% last year to 92% in 2014, according to recruitment firm Robert Half. Overall, skilled professionals in areas like Big Data, banking, IT business analysis, project management, business development, mobile app development, and digital marketing are expected to be in demand.


Four out of the top ten most liveable cities of the world are in Australia, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s survey. The survey takes into account parameters such as stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Though the Australian economy posted an unimpressive 2.3% GDP growth in 2013, it was still way ahead of the United States’ 1.6% and Europe’s 0.1% growth rate. Moreover, experts are optimistic about 2014 for business, industry and employment in Australia.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reports encouraging prospects for the job market in 2014, with 20% employers intending to increase headcount in the first quarter. The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) will see the most hiring, experts say.

Sectors in focus:

The most upbeat sectors in the job market are finance, insurance and real estate, with a Net Employment Outlook of +16%. Companies in the services sector are also looking to increase hiring, followed by the transportation and utilities industry.

Mining contributes 19% to Australia’s GDP. In 2014 too, mining exports and home building are expected to add jobs, though at a more cautious pace.

Big Data experts, data scientists, IT managers, marketing analytics professionals, and app developers are some of the job roles expected to be in demand in 2014, according to recruitment firm Hays. They also emphasize the demand for cross-functional professionals who are able to handle multiple domains like technology, marketing and finance with ease.


The Middle East offers a multitude of job opportunities as well as a cosmopolitan lifestyle, tax-free earnings and, most importantly, a strong economic outlook. The economy is estimated to grow 4% in 2014. With upbeat growth prospects, hiring is also expected to increase this year, making it a preferred destination for expats. The Antal International Survey says that 63% of employers are expected to hire for managerial levels in the first quarter of 2014. In addition, UAE companies are expected to increase salaries by 5% in 2014, according to a study by Aon Hewitt.

Sectors in focus:

Analysts predict a hiring surge in sectors like accounting, consulting, pharma and energy. It is also predicted that Dubai’s successful bid to host the World Expo 2020 will boost hiring in construction, hospitality, tourism and finance. Moreover, job search portal underlines the importance of engineering and manufacturing sectors to the growth of the UAE job market. HR experts feel that UAE being one of the early adopters of social media for recruitment, it is imperative for jobseekers to be online networking-savvy if they wish to land lucrative jobs here.


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