Ellie Allen

Best Countries to Move to for a Payrise by Profession

5 min read


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You can boost your income without having to retrain, simply by moving to another country. Some countries offer far higher salaries than you can expect to be awarded in the UK, and in many cases your qualifications will still be relevant, assuming you meet the entry criteria.

Often, however, when you compare remuneration rates between countries it becomes apparent that the scales are weighted in favour of the top jobs. And by this, we mean top tier IT professionals, surgeons, business executives, company accountants and research scientists. But what about people in more everyday professions, such as teachers and nurses, who might be tempted to go and live abroad for a while and experience working in the same sector but in a different country? If this sounds like you, then read on.

Below, we’ve compiled a few statistics to get you thinking about the possibilities that might be available to you. Of course, everywhere’s different and you can’t expect to receive higher wages wherever you go, so we’ve compiled a list to help you out. Bear in mind, however, that the cost of living varies from one country to another, so you’ll need to take that into consideration. All figures are estimates and are compiled from reliable sources.


Average global salary £20,100

Being a nurse or care worker in the UK can be a stressful business. Rates of pay for qualified nurses are reasonably competitive by international standards, with the Royal College of Nursing saying UK nurses earn on average between £33,000 and £35,000 per year. Some countries pay more, and the working conditions may be better there. This is relatively high compared to many countries, such as Romania, where nurses get on average £5,400 pa, or the Philippines, where they are paid less than £3,000 annually. This is still far higher than Cuba, where nurses earn the equivalent of around £230 a year .

In Luxembourg, by comparison, nurses bring in around £70,000 before tax – making it the highest paid country in the world for nurses. You might be surprised to learn that the country which offers the second highest paid placement for nurses is the USA, where an average salary in the profession is around £57,000. Switzerland comes in third place, with just under this amount.

Interesting to note: In terms of purchasing power, the second-best country in the world in which to be a nurse (after Luxembourg) is Turkey. There, a qualified nurse can expect to get paid the equivalent salary of £89,000 pa. *

• According to a May 2020 study by German health platform Qunomedical


Average global salary £21,000

Teachers are in demand the world over and it’s one of the jobs with skills that are easily transferrable to another country. In the UK, the average salary for a qualified teacher can vary between £23,000 and £35,000, This is unfavourable when compared to Australia, where the average high school teacher salary is £38,000, and about the same as New Zealand where the position pays about £31,000.

Alas, the UK doesn’t make it into the Top 10 best paid countries for teachers. According to a study by Business Insider, the best paid countries in which to be a qualified teacher are as follows (the figure is for the top of the teaching pay scale):

  1. Luxembourg £96,000
  2. Switzerland £67,000
  3. South Korea £66,000
  4. Germany £58,000
  5. Austria £57,000
  6. Ireland £53,000
  7. United States £52,000
  8. Canada £50,000
  9. Portugal £50,000
  10. Japan £49,000

In comparison, a UK teacher at the very top of the pay scale can expect to receive £39,400 pa, while a newly qualified teacher earns around £24,400 (or £30,480 in London).

Obviously, unless you have the language skills it will be difficult to secure a teaching job in a non-English speaking country right away, but even if you don’t there is still Ireland, the US and Canada to consider if you’d like to earn more. Naturally, pay is not the only consideration, and there are other factors to consider, such as working conditions and holiday allowances to take into account.


Nurses and teachers are often at the forefront of minds these days, providing as they do vital services to keep things running smoothly. But spare a thought for people in other professions whose services and skills are sometimes overlooked. Below we list a few of those other vital workers and compare their salaries to what they could expect to receive overseas.


If the trucks stopped rolling, we’d soon notice the shortages in our local supermarkets. For such an important job, UK lorry drivers can expect to earn slightly less than the average UK wage. Head down under or across the North Sea, however, and it’s a different matter. So, if you’ve got your HGV license, have a look to see if your skills will be better rewarded abroad.

UK average £32,500 Best paid Australia £54,000 Also pay high in Norway, Switzerland, Canada, USA and Germany


Where would we be without the often-underappreciated army of waiters, servers and bartenders? In this country, working in the hospitality industry isn’t likely to earn you much more than minimum wage, but head over to Switzerland and you might be coining it in. The real surprise here is Turkey, where they certainly know how to reward their servers.

UK average £13,700 Best paid Switzerland £33,000 2nd best paid Turkey £25,700


UK firefighters are already almost at the top of the ladder when it comes to the global pay rankings, with only the US and Australia paying more. Nevertheless, money isn’t everything, so if you fancy battling a blaze in the bush or dealing with a raging inferno on the streets of Manhattan take a look at those two countries’ job openings.

UK average £25,060 Best paid USA £25,536 Worst paid China £1,572


Thinking of moving to a different beat? It might seem surprising, but the UK has some of the highest rates of pay for police officers in the world. In fact, only the USA, Canada and Switzerland pay higher, with the latter two having only slightly higher rates of pay.

UK average £40,728 (senior level, after 7 years) Best paid Canada £77,400 Also pay high in Switzerland, USA


If the idea of moving or taking a sabbatical abroad appeals to you, and you need to transfer money from one country to another, make sure you get the best deal when it comes to exchanging currency.

Always make sure you get the best exchange rate and avoid wasting money needlessly, on expensive bank fees, by using a trusted money provider such as Currency Solutions. If you are interested in finding out more about moving funds between countries then contact us today and we’ll tell you how we can help.

Final thoughts

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