Expats give “thumbs up” to life in Birmingham

Birmingham has been voted the fifth best city in the world for expat job opportunities, according to HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey.


As host of the 2022 Commonwealth games, and increasingly a growing business hub, Birmingham is currently undergoing significant investment. The city is regenerating major areas, including the recent redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station, and is attracting major companies, including HSBC - main sponsor of the Press Club - which is opening its UK headquarters later this year. 


Three-quarters of expats in Birmingham say that their overall quality of life is as good as or better than it was at home. Integration is also high with 85% of expats in the city learning or using English - more than in London (77%) and Edinburgh (75%) - and 64% of expats saying that they are integrating well with the British culture and people.


Birmingham comes fifth in the world for expat job opportunities, behind international hubs such as San Francisco, London, New York and Dublin. Almost two-thirds of expats (64%) say the work culture is better than in their home country, compared to global average of 49%, and 62% enjoy a better work/life balance since their move. Additionally, 59% are more fulfilled at work.


Although expats in Birmingham earn on average considerably less than expats in London, they are more likely to enjoy more disposable income (57%) and to own a property (51%) than expats in London (51% and 50% respectively). This can be explained by the lower cost of living with 51% saying it is ‘affordable’ compared with only 1% of expats in London.


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Commenting on the findings, Dean Blackburn (pictured), Head of HSBC Expat, said: “The UK’s relationship with the rest of the world is changing and it is more important than ever that its cities make a name for themselves. The UK’s reputation on the world stage stems in great part from the views of expats who come and go.

“It is fantastic news then, that expats rate Birmingham among the highest in the world for the job opportunities and quality of life it offers, while feeling at home in the city. Expats in Birmingham are getting stuck into life, contributing their skills and cultures to the country.”