If you want to achieve a leading role in the IT industry then working abroad can benefit your career prospects, according to a survey carried out in Australia and New Zealand.

It found that 58% of IT leaders have worked outside Australia or New Zealand at some point in their career. Of these 46% has worked in the UK, 42% in Asia and 40% in North America.

The poll by recruiting experts Hays Information Technology, which looked specifically at chief information officers, also found that overall 27% spent time working in Europe, 15% in the Middle East and Africa and 6% in South America.

Over two thirds, some 69%, of those who have worked overseas spent more than two years abroad. The remaining 31% worked outside Australia or New Zealand for less than two years.

Some 69% of these CIOs said their international experience has been of considerable benefit to their career while 26% said it has been of some benefit and just 5% said their international experience has had no benefit to their career.

Perhaps this is why 40% of surveyed CIOs are currently considering working outside Australia or New Zealand. Of these, the most popular destination is the UK sought by 29% while 27% would look to Asia, 18% to North America, 17% to Europe, 7% to the Middle East and Africa and 2% to South America.

Almost half, 47%, of those considering working outside Australia or New Zealand say it is the greater number of opportunities that are available in international markets that motivates their decision.

Other reasons include the belief that international experience is a must for their career which was cited by 27%, while 21% said it was the more varied nature of CIO roles in international markets and the same amount said for better work-life balance or family reasons.

‘IT skills can be easily transferred across borders. IT is certainly a discipline that makes an international career a lot easier to achieve,’ said Peter Noblet, senior regional director of Hays Information Technology.

‘For IT professionals willing to travel, and who possess cultural awareness and the ability to deal with the new or unknown, the possibilities have never been so exciting in today’s international IT jobs market,’ he pointed out.

‘As feedback from CIOs shows, overseas work experience also benefits your career by broadening your base of experience, adding to your business insights and helping to grow your soft skills, particularly in terms of communication, innovation and adaptability, which are all important elements of a CIO’s DNA,’ he added.