International contractors’ happiest countries

21st April 2022

Happy days! The dream destinations for international contractors    

The results of the 2022 World Happiness Report are not just a great source of national pride for the highest-ranking countries, they are a great barometer of the workplace and employee happiness, which is directly correlated to improved economic performance. And for global contractors looking to enhance their work-life balance and find a work environment that suits their family or other commitments, considering a move to one of the happiest countries must surely be a winning ticket. Let’s take a look at the main contenders, the global destinations sure to raise those endorphin levels.

So, what did the report uncover? First of all, huge congratulations must go to Finland for coming out on top for the fifth consecutive year, and by a considerable margin. There are many reasons why the country with a population of 5.5 million does so well but a lot has to do with its relaxed way of life, low crime and poverty, plus excellent education and welfare systems. Despite the cold climate and darkness, Finns are very active, not surprising given its natural beauty. But most important of all is a strong community spirit, so if you’re looking for collaborative colleagues, head north to Finland.

No fewer than four other Scandinavian countries occupy the top 10 places – Denmark (2), Iceland (3), Sweden (7) and Norway (8) – and for similar reasons to the winner. They have clearly found the formula for happiness even during the most challenging of times. Switzerland (4), Netherlands (5) and Luxembourg (6) cement Europe’s domination of the top 10. Special mention must go to Israel (9) and New Zealand (10), two countries whose leaders stood out in how they rallied their people and dealt with the pandemic, the effective roll-out of vaccines and the safeguarding of their inhabitants.

Lara Aknin, one of the report’s co-authors explained more about the relevance of the findings, providing precious intelligence to help global contractors make more informed decisions as to where they might be happiest. She said, “Data considered in the World Happiness Report offers a snapshot of how people around the world evaluate their happiness and some of the latest insights from the science of wellbeing. This information is incredibly powerful for understanding the human condition and how to help people, communities, and countries work toward happier lives.”

There were mixed results in North America. The US (16) gained three spots from the previous year and although Canada (15) pipped its bordering neighbour, it has lost 10 places since the publication of the first report, recording its lowest ranking to date. While Mexico (46) just made it into the top 50, there was a strong showing from other Central American countries, including Costa Rica (23) and Panama (37). These countries have also fared well on top destination tables, given their stunning local landscapes and warm year-round climate. And they’re offering digital nomad visas to remote workers!

Happiest countries in the world for international contractors   

Elsewhere, France achieved its highest ranking (20) with Bahrain one place further down and three above the United Arab Emirates (24). Dubai, which hosted the World Expo (which ended on 31 March 2022) and Abu Dhabi has long been favoured destinations for international contractors. Tax-free salaries have always been a big draw coupled with fantastic weather, lifestyle and quality of life. Furthermore, local government investment in economic development continues to generate jobs for both local and foreign workers. If money is your motivator, then cash in by going to the UAE.

The lower half of the table is also revealing. It is perhaps surprising to find Portugal in 53rd place (Iberian neighbour Spain was much higher at 29) given that it has always been a popular destination for contractors. But that does not mean that locals are necessarily happy with their lot! Despite being down to the 72nd spot, China’s position has risen by 12 places, although no way near the score of Taiwan (26), a global leader in the production of semiconductor chips and therefore a top destination for IT contractors, especially those desiring to work on cutting-edge technology and associated devices.

What all the leading countries have in abundance are forward-thinking organisations and leaders that prioritise worker wellbeing and flexible working hours. This leads to strong performing economies that can create more opportunities for highly skilled workers. “The lesson of the world happiness report over the years is that social support, generosity to one another and honesty in government are crucial for wellbeing. World leaders should take heed,” stressed Jeffrey Sachs, one of the co-authors.

Happiness also means staying compliant! So, if you need local taxation, social security, employment, immigration or any advice about contracting around the world, call our 6CATS International experts.

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