How satisfied are South Africans abroad?

2016-06-06 11:00 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - What are some of the factors that pull and keep South Africans abroad? 

According to data released by expat surveyor InterNations for 2015, personal safety and crime in the origin country surface as the top considerations for Saffas moving abroad, with 62% listing this as their main reason.  

Comparatively, only 32% of expats globally list this as their main reason to move. 

South Africans are also more compelled to move abroad for reasons regarding cost of living - 31% of Saffas list this as their main reason for moving, compared to 38% of other respondents. 

30% of Saffas move abroad for economic reasons, the survey shows. 

And, if better quality of life, safer circumstances and more economic freedom are what SA expats are looking for, it seems as if their dreams are coming true. 

The following graph shows how satisfied South African expats are with their life abroad generally: Expat statistics on South Africans abroad - infographic           

The graph details that 70% of South Africans are generally satisfied abroad. 

More than that, they can also take pride in their professional achievements across SA's borders. Just under one-quarter at 24% of the respondents who identify as the 50% of employees or managers, are in fact in top management positions. This compared to only 11% of respondents worldwide. 

Saffas are also over-represented in the academic field with 16% working as teachers, academic staff, and researchers. The global average is but 9%. 

The fact that 63% enjoy a higher income than at home is icing on the cake.

South African respondents hold on average fewer degrees than expats worldwide, starting at the level of a Bachelor's degree. The global average for having at least a Bachelor's degree is 83% while SA expats is 66%. Clearly, this does not hold back the hard-working South African expat, who spends two more hours a week at work than the average expat.  

Since Saffas hail from a country with eleven official languages, it should come as no surprise that many of them speak two languages. 

Regardless, learning the local language of their destination seems to pose somewhat of a challenge... South Africans are twice as likely as the worldwide average not to speak the local language at all, and only 23% - compared to 48% on average - speak the local language fairly well or fluently. 

This tendency continues in the relationship spectrum of South Africans abroad: four out of seven respondents have a partner of the same nationality, compared to three out of seven globally. 

This desire for the familiar arguably resonates with the 36% of South African respondents who miss their personal support network very much and the 46% of South African singles who find expat life makes having a relationship difficult. 

Globally, data from more than 2.1 million members of InterNations network shows that in May 2016 the USA was the most frequent country of residence for people who live and work abroad. 

Apart from the United States, the most common destinations were Germany, the UAE, and the UK.