Career expats stay less time abroad than others but earn more

by Ray Clancy on September 3, 2016

Expats who move abroad for their career and to boost their earnings generally stay overseas for less time than other types of expats, according to new research.

Most of this kind of expat work is in manufacturing, the consumer goods industry or public sector. The majority say they are happy and have benefitted financially from moving abroad but around a third have to live apart from their partners in long distance relationships.

jobs-work-labourOf the expats sent abroad by their employer (some 14% work in manufacturing and consumer goods industries and 10% in the public sector) are mostly men aged around 42 years old, according to the global annual survey from InterNations.

These foreign assignees intend to live abroad for just one to three years and just 16% would consider staying forever. This may be due to the fact that 30% are not living in the same country as their families.

Meanwhile, 19% say that it is just a short term assignment or that their partner has different career priorities. Among Foreign Assignees, 21% have one or more dependent kids living abroad with them, while 14% have dependent children who are living in a different country.

For 89% the most important reason for relocating was that they were sent by their employer, however foreign assignees say that many other aspects played a part in their decision.

About one in 20 foreign assignees also considered non career related reasons like looking for a better quality of life, an improved financial situation, the wish to live in their partner’s country or to move to a particular destination as factors that influenced their decision.

When relocating for the sake of their careers, many foreign assignees received assistance from their employer. Indeed, 75% had help with getting a visa, work permit, or residence permit, while 65% say that their company paid for the relocation costs but 6% got no help at all.

Some 49% of those who answered the question about employment support are in a relationship with a partner or spouse they met before moving. Of this sub-group, 38% received assistance with getting a visa for their partner and 17% were offered language classes or intercultural training for their spouse, but only 7% were given support regarding their partner’s career.

Meanwhile, 21% of those who responded to this question have dependent children living abroad with them. Among these parents, 27% had help from their employer with sorting out childcare or schooling for their kids. In fact, for 41% of them, the employer covered the related costs.

Overall expat workers tended to work longer hours but 63% were satisfied with their work-life balance and 72% are generally happy with their job compared to 64% around the world and 63% say that they earn more than they would in a similar position in their home country and 73% are positive about their financial situation.

Furthermore, of the 78% who answered the question about household income, 38% state that their yearly gross household income is US$100,000, while 10%, twice the global average, have over US$200,000 at their disposal.


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