The 10 Countries with the Highest Average Salaries

Are you looking for new career opportunities abroad? Here are the 10 countries in the world that pay the most.

Illustration of a paycheque, calculator and dollar signs in front of a large globe

The international job market has grown exponentially in today’s economy, leading to an upsurge of lucrative career opportunities. As a result, living and working abroad has never been easier.

If you’re thinking about relocating to another part of the globe for professional reasons, then it’s essential to be aware of which countries offer the most lucrative jobs and salaries. In other words, the numbers need to be on your side before you choose to pack up your stuff and move halfway around the world.

So, which nations have the top industries relevant to your skills and experience? Using the latest data from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 countries in the world with the highest average salary.

10. Norway

Average annual salary: $54,027 (£39,810)

Norway is one of the most expensive places in the world, and according to the World Bank and IMF, Norwegians have the fourth-highest per capita income in the world. The country has a thriving gas and petroleum industry which brings in the most money. Norway is also a well-known exporter of fish, timber, textiles and aquaculture. Besides having a very low crime rate, Norwegians are also rated as one of the happiest people in the world.

9. Australia

Average annual salary: $54,401 (£40,083)

Australia, the land of koalas, the great barrier reef, and the famous Sydney opera house, is an expensive country with salaries averaging over $54,000, even for non-skilled jobs. The nation has a bustling tourism industry, well-developed financial services, steel and industrial equipment and mining. Australia also has quite stringent immigration rules and only accepts skilled workers into the country.

8. Belgium

Average annual salary: $55,590 (£40,959)

Belgium has always had the highest standards of living and education; the majority of its population is bi- or trilingual and very well-educated. The country is most famous for its beer, chocolates, transportation, engineering, car assembly, scientific instruments, textiles, and tourism. The average salary for Belgians is a little more than $55,000. Fortunately, unlike other countries in the region, getting a job is not that difficult if you live in the European Union while outsiders need an EU work permit.

7. Germany

Average annual salary: $56,368 (£41,532)

Germany has the biggest economy in Europe and is also one of the most developed and wealthiest nations globally. The per capita income in Germany is roughly $56,000. The country has a solid infrastructure, well-developed schooling system, some of the best health care facilities globally, and equal distribution of wealth. In addition, Germany maintains a diverse list of lucrative industries that have been critical to the national economy, such as pharmaceuticals, health care, manufacturing, tourism, transportation and farming. Indeed, there are numerous jobs across several sectors, as the country is quite large.

6. The Netherlands

Average annual salary: $56,552 (£41,662)

The Netherlands has always boasted a high standard of living. Many surveys indicate that Dutch people are content with their lives because of their excellent healthcare system, outstanding schools, and a largely multilingual population with a fair pick of job opportunities within the European Union. Overall, The Netherlands has an exceptional agriculture and fishing industry, advanced electrical and mechanical engineering industries, pharmaceuticals, tourism and microelectronics.

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5. Denmark

Average annual salary: $57,150 (£42,102)

Similar to other Scandinavian countries, Denmark has a tremendously high standard of living, paired with even higher salaries. The average salary for Danes is north of $57,000, and the workforce is strongly unionised, which ensures employee rights and fair wages. Denmark’s industries focus primarily on mining, metals, food and beverages, transportation, furniture, shipbuilding and pharmaceuticals. The country is relatively small, and the number of jobs available is also limited.

4. United States

Average annual salary: $65,836 (£48,500)

The United States’ economy is highly developed and diverse. The country is self-sufficient in many areas and plays a significant role on the international scene in numerous sectors. The one advantage of the US is its immigration system which attracts the best from all other nations, resulting in excellence in many work-related areas. There is a reason why some people trek through an entire continent just for the chance of getting into the world’s largest economy. The country is immense, and for those who work hard, the American dream is still possible.

The country excels in various fields, including aerospace, engineering, mining, automobile manufacturing, farming and more. Jobs are relatively easy to find in the US, provided one is an American citizen or has the appropriate work visa.

3. Switzerland

Average annual salary: $66,567 (£49,038)

Switzerland, with a population of 8.3 million people, is a prosperous and vibrant country that offers its people some of the highest salaries in the world, with the average worker making more than $66,000. Switzerland may be a landlocked nation, but it has excelled in many areas, including finance, banking, chocolates, electronics, pharmaceuticals, watches and tourism.

Many of the world’s top multinational companies have their headquarters in Switzerland. However, immigrating there can be a challenge for EU nationals and outsiders alike.

2. Iceland

Average annual salary: $68,006 (£50,098)

Iceland is one of the smallest nations on the planet, with a population of just 350,000, but it is also one of the most expensive countries in the world. Much of the country is not developed because of the extremely frigid weather and wild landscape, but it has a blossoming tourism industry because of its natural beauty, hot springs, volcanos, and spas.

One area where Iceland leads the world is its use of geothermal and hydropower energy. The most important industries for the island economy consist of tourism, fishing, hydropower and mining. However, it should be noted that employment opportunities can be limited, especially for expatriates.

1. Luxembourg

Average annual salary: $68,681 (£50,600)

Luxembourg is a tiny nation with a population of 632,000 but is one of the world’s wealthiest and highest-paying countries. Salaries of workers average about $68,000, which is the highest in the world.

Like Switzerland, Luxembourg is landlocked, and most of its citizens speak at least two languages. The primary industries include banking, finance, steel, mining, telecommunications and tourism.

Final thoughts

Are you thinking about moving to a different country for salary considerations? Overall, countries that offer competitive salaries also have a higher standard of living as well as more professional opportunities for job seekers from every industry.

Relocating to a new country can be transformational for your life and career alike, and if your main objective is to obtain a higher salary while working in your chosen field, then these countries are the place to go.

In today’s global economy, the world is your oyster. You just need to find the pearl inside.

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Join the conversation! Which of these countries would you consider relocating to? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

This article is an update of an earlier version published on 14 July 2017.