Top Expat Careers in 2020

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Written By Matt Shannon

It is 2020, and time to revisit the top expat careers. Many people have made resolutions to change their careers and there is no better time to think about looking internationally for your next job. Working abroad is one of the best career moves for any profession, but some professions are better suited for working internationally. Many people think that finding a job abroad is difficult, or that without knowing the local language you stand little chance of finding a job. It is 2020, and the world is more international than ever before. There are opportunities everywhere, it simply depends on how hard you are willing to look. That being said, careers in education, hospitality,  tourism, nursing, non-profit, business, finance, marketing, and software development are especially well suited to an international career move. Here is an in-depth look at the top expat careers in 2020. 


If you are a native speaker of any language, the easiest job to get abroad will be teaching. Anyone who has considered a job abroad has probably thought about teaching their native language. Of course, due to the fact that English is the international language of choice today, there are vastly more opportunities for native English speakers. Education is also not just teaching your native language. In any major world city, there are many international schools where diplomat children and wealthy local children go to school and usually study in English, French, or German among others. These schools typically pay Western teaching salaries (or even more), which are significantly higher than English teaching salaries. If you have experience teaching at a school in a native English speaking country, you could likely make more money and enjoy life abroad!

Even if you aren’t a native English speaker, there are still opportunities abroad in education. If you are a native speaker of French, Spanish, German, or Chinese, many of the same opportunities are out there, you will just need to do a bit of digging. There are many people interested in the major languages of the world and teaching them is a great opportunity to see the world. Due to the sheer number of opportunities available, education is one of the top expat careers in 2020. The best resource available for international education jobs is TES.


Do you work in the hospitality industry? Great news, this is also one of the top expat careers in 2020. No matter where you are based, you are likely serving clients of all nationalities whether it be the United States or Japan, client service skills are essential. In any world city, there are a number of international hotel chains that hire skilled international staff from the kitchen to the front desk. The hospitality industry is focused on serving tourists from all over the world and ensuring they enjoy their stay in any given country. If you have experience at one of the top hotel chains, you should find it easy to network into a job anywhere abroad. Some of the top jobs that expats hold in hospitality are hotel manager, head chef, sales manager, marketing manager, and business development manager. There are of course other options, but these are the most common jobs where foreign managers are hired. 


Another one of the top expat careers in 2020 is tourism. Just about every country on the planet has a tourism industry of some sort. All major countries even have a state-sponsored tourism agency that is tasked with developing inbound tourism. If you have a real interest in a specific country, tourism can be a fantastic career. Imagine if your job was to show all of the best parts of your favorite country to tourists who come to visit? There are so many different types of jobs in tourism for expats, and if you have considerable experience and a network in another country, you can take advantage of this by helping a local tourism company develop its connections abroad. 


We cannot mention expat careers without mentioning nursing. Working as a nurse abroad can be an incredibly rewarding career. You will have the opportunity to learn about how medical treatment differs across cultures and interact with a wide range of people. Nursing is one of the most in-demand jobs in the world with many Western countries, especially the United States facing a shortage of nurses. Some of the most popular destinations for working as a nurse internationally are Europe and the Middle East. A number of countries in the Middle East pay salaries that are higher than in the United States. If you are a registered nurse and interested in working abroad, check out this article on working as a nurse internationally. You should be aware though that licensing requirements differ by country and you will need to do research on the requirements for nurses in a given country. 


An NGO career is well suited for a life abroad. There are many US and European NGOs all over the world. Many of these organizations are dedicated to helping emerging economies develop and spreading democratic values. This career path is one of the best for more risk-averse job seekers because many NGOs hire from their home country. For example, US NGOs often hire people in the US for assignments abroad. For most expat jobs, outside of executive positions, it is very difficult to land a job abroad from your home country. This isn’t the case for many NGO opportunities. If you love helping people, an NGO career may be right for you. Global Jobs is one of the best sites to check for NGO jobs available internationally. 


One of the universal languages of the world is business. It might be practiced slightly different everywhere, but sales is an integral part of any business. Every company that sells a product or service has a sales team. Many expats find that a career in sales is one of the most lucrative and experience in one country is often applicable everywhere. Sales is not a career for everyone, but if you are an outgoing person who likes to solve problems, it could be the perfect job abroad. In many countries, you will find that the large local companies are all expanding globally and to do so, they need a global sales team. Expats provide an excellent opportunity for companies to expand their customer base abroad. If you have sales experience in Western Europe or the United States, you can easily take your expertise abroad. 

Tech companies are especially interested in expat sales expertise to sell their products to prospective clients in other countries. It is important to know that most sales jobs are highly based on commission, so you need to be ready to put in the effort to be successful. These days, many sales jobs can even be remote, meaning that you could live anywhere.


Some of the most highly paid expats work in finance. The global financial markets are more international than ever before. If you have experience working in finance it should be no problem for you to find a job in most developed countries. In less developed countries, there are still many opportunities, but where financial markets are less developed it is hard to find a job where you are paid well enough for your expertise. Many large international investment banks have offices in developed and emerging markets. If you are a Chartered Financial Analyst, you should be able to find a position just about anywhere. Interestingly enough, investment advisors are few and far between in developing countries, so if you are an investment advisor, there are many opportunities out there to start your own practice abroad. 


Just like sales, marketing is a highly international field. Every company has a marketing department and because of the global nature of business today, companies are always expanding internationally and they need to be able to target and market their products and services to people all over the world. Western marketing techniques are not always implemented abroad, so you have a unique opportunity to help international countries market successfully abroad. 

If you are looking for an in-demand career abroad that is highly transferable, marketing is a great place to start. 

Software Development

One of the easiest jobs to find abroad as an expat is in software development. Companies all over the world are looking for great software developers. The best part about a career in software development is that many of the best opportunities are remote. One of the major concerns of expats is that they usually earn less abroad than at home. With software development, it is possible to find a remote job in your home country and live abroad. Making a Western salary, but living in a low cost of living country is an extremely attractive option. If you are interested in remote job opportunities, check out Expatriant Jobs. We also have a guide on how to become a digital nomad if you are interested in learning more about remote jobs.  


Many people think that their industry is not suited well for a career abroad. At Expatriant we believe that any job is suitable for a career abroad. You just have to seek out the opportunities. Getting out there and meeting people in your new country is the best first step you can take. Networking is even more important abroad than it is in your own country. 

If you are looking to go abroad but have no idea where to start, we can help. We have dedicated international career consultants who have lived and worked abroad for many years. Check out career consulting for more information on how we can help you in your international journey. 

Ready to take your career abroad? Browse open positions in Russia today!