The best destinations for your career

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Looking to move abroad in 2017? Six of the top ten countries for a successful expat career are in Europe.

This is according to the latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey, which asked 26,871 people living away from their home country to fill in an online questionnaire about their experiences.

"According to our survey, Europe is home to some of the best destinations for a successful expat career. Six European countries have made their way into the top 10 and are recognized for their strong work culture, great work-life balance and relatively good job security," said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat, in a press release.

"The start of the new year is a good time for expats and prospective expats alike to reflect on what they have achieved to date and start to plan the next steps in their international careers. What's clear in our survey, is that working abroad offers a wealth of opportunities to suit many different career needs and personal priorities."

Let's take a look at the top ten and why they are the best destinations for an international career.

1st – Switzerland

A file photo of Zurich, Switzerland
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For the second year in a row, Switzerland is the top ranking destination in HSBC's survey.

It's the best all-round destination for professionals, offering the best earnings prospects along with an excellent work culture.

The survey found 69 percent of expats in Switzerland saw an improvement in their work-life balance, while the average expat income in Switzerland was $188,275, compared to a global average of $97,419.

2nd – Germany

Frankfurt, Germany
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Germany has risen from third place in 2015's rankings to second place. According to HSBC's Expat Careers tool, which matches a user's career goals with scores from the survey, Germany is the best destination for expats who prioritize learning new skills, job security and career progression.

3rd – Sweden

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Sweden slipped from second place in 2015's set of rankings. One of the main appeals for expats is the country's work culture; 71 percent of expats said they experience an improvement in their working environment compared to their home country.

4th – United Arab Emirates

Elevated cityscape of Dubai illuminated at night
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The Middle East can offer expats an attractive employment package, according to the survey. For instance, 56 percent of expats working in the UAE received an accommodation allowance and 75 percent received health benefits.

5th – Norway

Nidelva river and Solsiden area in Trondheim, Norway
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Norway is a newcomer to the Expat Explorer survey's top ten and expats in the country are most likely to experience an improvement in their work-life balance, with 87 percent of expats saying their work-life balance improved.

Norway is a good destination choice for professionals who prioritize their work-life balance, work culture and work fulfillment, according to the Expat Careers tool.

6th – Singapore

A general view of the skyline of the Singapore Central Business District, the Marina Bay Sands, the ArtScience Museum and the seating platform at Marina Bay on August 1, 2015 in Singapore.
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Slipping from fifth place in 2015, Singapore scores highly for career development, with 62 percent of expats based in Singapore saying it is a good place for expats to progress their career.

In addition, 53 percent of expats in Singapore said they enjoy greater work fulfillment since making the move.

7th – Austria

Vienna city skyline with Saint Charles's Church
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Another newcomer to the top ten, Austria scored highly for its favorable working conditions. The majority of expats in Austria said their work-life balance (71 percent) and work culture (62 percent) was better than in their native country.

8th – Hong Kong

Hong Kong
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Like Singapore, Hong Kong is great for career development, with 68 percent of expats agreeing it was a good destination for career progression. However, this comes at a cost with 50 percent of expats saying their work-life balance declined after making the move.

Hong Kong is the best destination for professionals prioritizing career progression, earnings prospects and employment benefits, according to HSBC's Expat careers tool.

9th – United Kingdom

London Big Ben and traffic on Westminster Bridge
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The third newcomer to the top ten, the U.K. climbed nine places from 18th in the 2015 rankings, with 64 percent of expats in the U.K. saying they were better able to pick up new skills compared to their home country, while 62 percent enjoyed better career progression.

It's worth pointing out here that the HSBC survey was conducted between March and May 2016, before the U.K. referendum on membership of the European Union, so the views of expats may change in a post-Brexit world.

10th – Bahrain

Manama, the modern capital of the Arabian Gulf island nation of Bahrain
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Bahrain slipped three places in the rankings from seventh to tenth. Similar to the UAE, expats in the Middle East can receive attractive employment benefits; 65 percent of expats in Bahrain said they received an annual allowance to take trips home.