While some economists have warned that the Federal Reserve exit will cause a credit crunch in emerging markets, others have dismissed the fear as fad, rejecting the idea that EMs are more vulnerable to global financial tapering.
Although the answer remains to be seen, it’s incredibly important to establish the difference between emerging markets and emerging economies. After all, it’s been widely evidenced that economic growth does not correlate with stock market returns, meaning the emerging economic situation is a different story altogether.
In recent years, BRIC nations Brazil, Russia, India and China have outperformed those of developed markets, driving global economic growth. Then there’s frontier economies Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico (VITM) chasing BRIC tails, providing some compelling business or career opportunities for those willing to take the risk.
Don’t buy it? Research shows that expats living in emerging economies have a distinctly superior quality of life compared to their developed compadres. This not only shines a light on the real-world impact of the stock exchange, but the limitations of identifying certain countries as “developed” or “emerging.”
Here are 5 things worth bearing in mind…
1. Higher earning potential
According to HSBC’s 2013 Expat Explorer survey, Asia is home to the highest paid expats in the world.
When we view this through a BRIC/VITM lens, we’re talking India, China, Vietnam and Indonesia. In these countries, average expat remuneration packages are at least 15% higher than the global average, with the highest proportion of expats earning more than $250,000 in Indonesia and China.
Remarkably, the lowest-paid expats in the world live in the developed economies of Europe, where average salaries are $53,000,
2. Improved career traction
The VITMs (Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico) are presenting expats with more potential for career progression and personal development.
The important thing to remember about emerging economies is their capacity for growth. As Moe Zulfiqar reports, “In some emerging countries, a massive portion of the population still lives without electricity, there are not enough homes, roads aren’t there to sustain the population, industries aren’t developed.”
These developments to infrastructure, which will improve with the economy, create skills gaps (see point 4) and ample career/business prospects for skilled and professional workers.
3. Improved quality of life
Thanks to their increased earning potential and disposable income, BRIC/VITM expats are investing in the best expat medical coverage and taking their overall health and wellbeing more seriously.
This is aided by an improved access to healthcare advice and the low cost of living in emerging economies – where accommodation, transportation and utilities tend to be cheaper. Furthermore, quality of life is distinctly improved by job security, and nearly twice the number of expats in BRIC countries (93%) report feeling stable in their expatriate job roles.
European expats, on the other hand, expressed a real concern over job security, signaling the uncertainties of the Euro crisis in 2013.
4. Technological gap
From startups to industry leaders, emerging and frontier nations are becoming increasingly important in the tech sector. Due to the exponential growth and digitalization of these economies, there’s a skills shortage that’s increasingly being filled by expats keen to reap the benefits listed above.
For example, in late 2013, Google set up data centers in Singapore and Taiwan, investing more than $700 million into the region. This means that South East Asia has benefitted from an influx of talented, foreign-born professionals looking for career opportunities, the majority of whom are young millennials progressing into senior roles (aged 18 to 35).
5. Best in Bangkok
When compared to 37 other countries with a high population of expats, Thailand (more accurately Bangkok), offers the best quality of life. According to survey results, business expats in Bangkok have “a positive outlook on most aspects of expatriate life.”
Almost all of those surveyed said that they had immersed themselves in the local culture (98%) and claimed to enjoy eating the country’s food and shopping for local produce. What’s more, since moving to Bangkok expats noted the health benefits, with six in ten (61%) remarking on their healthier diet and overall wellness.
So there you have it. Would you move to an emerging economy for business or career reasons?