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New Research Reveals 2024’s Best Countries to Live and Work in




  • Norway Tops Global Rankings as the No.1 Place to Work, Setting the Standard for Employee Satisfaction and Work-Life Balance  
  • Switzerland Crowned Happiest Country to Work Worldwide, Setting a New Standard for Employee Well-being
  • The Netherlands Emerges as the Pinnacle of Inclusive Workplaces, Leading the World in Diversity and Acceptance 

With more people than ever willing to relocate to chase career aspirations, higher pay, and a better work-life balance, global workspace provider Instant Offices has analysed and scored high GDP nations based on working hours, annual leave, equality, happiness, parental leave and more to rank the best countries in the world to work and live in.   

The Top 3 Countries to Live and Work In  

The graphic above shows the top 3 countries to live and work in globally, ranked by happiness score, minimum wage, parental leave, holiday allowance, LGBTQ employment, equality index, and work-life balance. 

The top three overall, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands offer high living standards, strong economies, an excellent work-life balance, robust social security systems and inclusive, diverse work environments.   

All are in the top three happiest countries globally, but each also scored high in other areas.  

Norway offers some of the highest paid maternity leave in the world, at 49 weeks. Australian minimum wage is one of the highest, at $15 per hour, while the Netherlands outranks the rest to offer the best work-life balance of all, with an average working week of 32 hours.   


Australia has one of the highest minimum wages globally, and with an average work week of just 29 hours, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine. As well as 20 days holiday, Australia has also embraced a flexible working lifestyle and flexible and co-working spaces are on the rise. You can take a look at some of the best co-working spaces in Sydney here

Norway Tops Global Rankings as the Premier Workplace Haven 

Norway’s triumph as the best country in the world to work in 2024 is no surprise as it has topped the UNDP Human Development Index for several years, with an HDI of 0.961 in 2021. HDI summarises a country’s human development achievements, including: 

  • Long and healthy lifespan
  • Standard of living
  • Knowledge

Norway scored high in almost every area we analysed, topping the charts for equality, lgbtq employment, parental leave, and ranking within the top three countries for happiness, work-life balance, and minimum wage. 

Swiss Bliss: Switzerland Ranks #1 Globally for Happiness 

According to research by McKinsey, a quarter of employees across 15 countries felt burnt out last year. If you’re feeling burned out and overworked, moving to Switzerland could offer you a better balance between office life and personal time. 

Factors that make Swiss workers, so content overall include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, and the freedom to make life choices.  Switzerland ranks number 1 for minimum wage and within the top 5 countries globally for having the best work/life balance.  

Inclusivity Triumphs in the Netherlands 

The Netherlands stands as one of the most progressive countries to work globally, with the second-highest score on the equality index for all countries analysed. Unsurprisingly, the Netherlands also ranks within the top three best countries for LGBTQA+ employees to work.  

With one of the top happiness scores and work-life balance scores in the world, the Netherlands offers an inclusive and attractive haven for 2024’s global workforce.  

Co-working in Amsterdam

The Netherlands in general has an active co-working community with Amsterdam offices being high in demand, particularly in the tech and creative spaces.

You can find a list of co-working spaces in Amsterdam here.

Sources & methodology: Instant Offices have analysed and scored high GDP nations based on happiness score, minimum wage, parental leave, holiday allowance, LGBTQ employment, equality index, and work-life balance to determine the best countries to live and work in globally.   

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