The 6 Best Countries to Live in: User-Friendly Places to Move to in 2019
On today’s talent-controlled job market, skilled professionals can live pretty much anywhere they want. And they know it. So countries, just like businesses, have to go the extra mile to keep top talent happy.
To find the best countries to live in today, Jobbatical looked at some global rankings that reveal the most forward-thinking, user-friendly places. We explored innovation (at government level and on the whole), e-government development, and the general tech-savviness of governments. We also glanced at other factors that add to a country’s user experience, such as safety, work-life balance, tolerance, environmental cleanliness, and the state of the job market.
In no particular order, here are the 6 countries that kept cropping up wherever we looked.
Singapore: A tech-savvy tropical paradise on the cutting edge of AI and cybersecurity
Notable strengths: Innovation, safety, tech-savvy government, e-government development, innovation in government
Singapore, Asia’s top innovation hub, is being hit hard by the global talent shortage. This is putting a damper on what could otherwise be an even more astonishing speed of growth in this forward-thinking island nation. One of the first places to introduce a national A.I. strategy, a pioneer in autonomous vehicles, and the country best-prepared for cyber attacks, Singapore is casting its nets far and wide to bolster its tech workforce.
By investing big in its digital agenda, Singapore is keeping the fires burning on the scorching hot tech and startup scene. For talent on the move, this means excellent conditions and career growth opportunities in world-changing tech. In one of the safest countries on the planet, no less.
The country has made so much progress that for the fourth year running, HSBC’s 2018 Expat Explorer Survey ranked Singapore the best destination for expats. According to the report, 78% of expats living in Singapore would recommend it to anyone thinking of a move abroad. 65% said they have more disposable income in Singapore than they did back home. It’s also one of the best countries for ease of doing business and one of PwC’s top Cities of Opportunity. Not to mention it’s perfectly situated within Asia to act as a convenient access point to the rest of the region.
And do we even need to mention the country’s tropical climate? Or the crazy melting pot of cultures and the best food you’ll ever eat? Sign us up.
Sweden: Live the Scandinavian dream in the land of equality, inclusivity, and fika
Notable strengths: Innovation, tolerance, work-life balance, e-government development, clean environment
There’s something about Sweden. I guess you could say it has… a reputation. The best reputation in the world, that is, according to Country RepTrak® 2018. Seen almost universally as the most ethical, progressive, and gender-equal country, Sweden delivers the goods. Workers’ rights are comprehensive, anti-discrimination legislation is strong, and social benefits are generous.
When it comes to your personal and professional growth, you surely won’t find your career stalling in the world’s third most innovative country that also happens to have a serious IT talent shortage. A leader in e-government development, too, Sweden has the clear aim of snagging a global leadership role in harnessing the opportunities of digital transformation.
Quite fittingly, the birthplace of fika—the life-affirming Swedish tradition of sitting down for coffee and treats with a friend—is also known for its healthy work-life balance. Only about 1% of Swedes work very long hours. That’s one of the lowest rates in the OECD, where the average is 13%.
Still need convincing that this is a dream destination? The air in Sweden is some of the world’s cleanest and the Nordic landscapes simply stunning.
Canada: The next big thing for tech entrepreneurs
Notable strengths: Safety, clean environment, innovation in government
Rarely missing from any “Most Livable Countries” list, Canada is a no-brainer for this one, too. Keen to build its reputation as a key destination for entrepreneurs, the country offers founders a startup visa. And this one comes with permanent residence and no conditions attached to the success of your business.
Today, the country’s immigration policy is significantly more progressive than in the US. American entrepreneur and venture capitalist Brad Feld predicted in 2018 that Canada would become “the next, great, entrepreneurial tech country”. Bloomberg reports that during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the number of tech professionals who got permanent residency in Canada exceeded 11,000—a 40 percent increase from the previous year.
The Canadian government has also introduced the Global Skills Strategy, a program that allows employers to get work permit applications for foreign talent processed in just two weeks.
Tech professionals and entrepreneurs aren’t flocking here just because they can, though. There’s plenty of excitement to go around. Canada is in the global top 10 for its commitment to cybersecurity. It’s also currently home to the world’s largest AI conference, which has contributed greatly to the country becoming a global AI hotspot.
Famously diverse, welcoming, safe, and naturally beautiful, this country may well already be on your bucket list. But now you can go ahead and add another point for Canada as the emerging tech paradise of North America.
Denmark: A well-balanced country that puts digital first
Notable strengths: Innovation, tolerance, safety, work-life balance, e-government development
In the least surprising plot twist of all time, here’s another Scandinavian country for the list. Denmark has topped the human happiness charts for many consecutive years. No wonder—much like Swedes, Danes sure love their work-life balance. According to OECD, only around 2% of employees in Denmark work very long hours, well below the OECD average.
And yet, somehow things are still getting done—and big time! The country ranks 8th on the Global Innovation Index and has the most developed e-government in the world. This world-leading “digital first” approach has made electronic interaction with the government the norm. The country strategically prioritizes a user-friendly digital public sector to create a flexible society ready for an increasingly digitized world. Sounds pretty damn promising already. But sprinkle some diversity and safety on top, and you have the ultimate recipe for a life well lived.
How can you make it your reality?
Unsurprisingly, like the rest of Scandinavia, Denmark is also in need of foreign tech talent. So once again—you’re at an advantage if you’re in the ICT sector. According to the Talent Shortage in Denmark report, a combination of technical knowledge and managerial capabilities is in particularly high demand. The same report predicts that by 2020, Denmark will lack 6000 IT specialists.
If there ever was a time to convert to the Scandinavian way of life, this is it. Find a job and elevate your career in this uniquely innovative corner of the world.
Finland: The happiest people and the angriest birds
Notable strengths: Innovation, tolerance, e-government development, clean environment
According to the 2018 World Happiness Report, Finland has now dethroned Denmark to take its place as the happiest country on Earth. And that, mind you, goes for migrants as well as Finnish-born residents.
How does a cold and dark country like Finland become the happiest place in the world? In a nutshell, the society just works. Finland has made a name for itself as a safe and stable country that cares about its people. Expats included—by law, migrants are entitled to integration services to help them settle in.
Finland is firmly planted among the world’s most innovative countries and a global leader in mobile app development. So there’s no shortage of high-potential career opportunities. The game and software industry is particularly lively. Over a billion people—one in every seven humans on the planet—have played a Finnish-made game (Angry Birds and Clash of Clans being the two most obvious suspects).
Unable to support its thriving tech industry with home-grown talent only, Finland now knows it needs to bank on attracting bright minds from abroad.
So while it might be cold, your career is pretty much guaranteed to heat up in Finland. Rules for hiring foreigners are gradually loosening, and in 2017, the government launched the Talent Boost program to make Finland more attractive to global talent. To top it off, job satisfaction is high in the IT sector, and the latest European Working Conditions Survey identified Finland as the best country to develop your skills through employer-provided training.
Estonia: The pint-sized tech mecca of new beginnings
Notable strengths: Tech-savvy government, clean environment, government innovation
For years now, the small Baltic country of Estonia has been cultivating its reputation as a tech trend-setter. Having built itself up from scratch after five decades of Soviet occupation, Estonia is a champion of reinvention. From the world’s first e-Residency to a recently proposed digital nomad visa, the Northern European nation is committed to creating a thriving digital society.
Most government services are electronic and paperless. Jobbatical founder and CEO Karoli Hindriks is among the many vocal supporters of Estonia’s ease of doing business. “It took me about ten minutes online to start Jobbatical while sitting in a café,” she says, adding that there are no excuses not to become an entrepreneur in Estonia.
Having pioneered some potentially world-changing initiatives already, the country isn’t resting on laurels. The concept of data embassies—servers outside the country that are legally under Estonian jurisdiction—was first developed here to protect mountains of valuable data from the ever-present danger of cyber attacks.
As far as career growth is concerned, you’re in for a treat in Estonia. Jobs in tech abound, and organizational structures tend to be flat, making it relatively easy to climb the corporate ladder. Basically, think of the entire country as your personal career accelerator.
Eager to bring in international talent, Estonian companies go out of their way to entice them. Collaborating with Jobbatical, government agency Work in Estonia went so far as to give 23 tech specialists from 5 continents an all-expenses-paid trip to Estonia to interview with potential employers and get to know the tech scene. The experiment was such a success that rumor has it another round of applications is coming soon.
The savviest employers don’t skimp on relocation support either. Many bring in expert teams like Jobbatical to hold the talent’s hand throughout the process—from airport pickups and residency applications to language classes and expat events.
Find out for yourself—apply for Estonian tech jobs on Jobbatical and experience the finest country onboarding experience ever crafted.
This, of course, is not meant to be a complete list in any way. Jobbatical does not endorse limiting your choice of future destination to just six places.
Planning a move abroad in 2019? What are your top picks? @ us on Twitter with your dream destination, sign up for our next webinar, and check out Jobbatical for the best international jobs with visa and relocation support!
If you’re hiring in one of these countries, Jobbatical can bring you the talent you need. Start hiring today!