There are now over 200 million people across the globe living and working abroad, more than double the figure 25 years ago. People’s careers are no longer constrained by the opportunities provided in their home country and individuals are increasingly able to move around the world to take advantage of the global hubs of excellence that have emerged.

The fourth annual ‘global professionals on the move’ from Hydrogen Group and ESCP Europe report is set against this background of increasing global migration. Its aim is to look specifically at the experience, attitudes and priorities of highly qualified, high earning professionals with regard to working abroad and to review the trends year on year.

Most professionals are keen on relocating

Since the report’s inception we have seen professionals increasingly recognise the importance of international experience. This year 92% of respondents were either currently working abroad or considering it. In addition, 66% thought that their company also viewed international experience as important or very important. Both these figures show that people understand the value of having international experience.

Benefits of working abroad

So, what is the value that international experience gives to an individual? This year’s results show that the prime motivators for moving abroad remain improved career opportunities, new experiences and greater earning potential and it appears that the experience lives up to expectation, both personally and professionally. 83% of those working abroad believed it had accelerated their personal development and 77% thought it had benefitted their career.

Home is wherever the job takes you

In fact, once individuals have made the significant decision to work abroad, they are in no hurry to return home. 86% of those who had moved away said that they wished to stay abroad and 52% said that home was wherever they were currently living or anywhere in the world. It appears that home is increasingly wherever the job takes you.

Global Mobility Among Professionals  STUDYTechnology is being talked about much more by the wider business community, especially in the US and UK which are seeing major investment into big data companies. It is no coincidence that these two countries were also voted the top two destinations for tech professionals in Hydrogen’s Global Professionals on the Move report this year. The best global candidates are at the forefront of this rapidly evolving trend that is having a huge impact on business as a whole. The industry is now extremely powerful and professionals are travelling overseas to capitalise on their expertise in new markets.

– Dominic McNamara, Global Leader of Hydrogen Group Technology Practice

Family is a barrier to relocation

That said, family is still the prevailing obstacle to relocation and 45% of respondents cited family related issues as the main barrier to moving abroad. As companies look to send an increasing amount of talent to emerging markets they may need to consider how best to incentivise people to get over this hurdle and what support they can offer to make it easier once the move has been made.

Women relocate more than men

Over the last few years the report has shown a rise in the age of those moving abroad. Conversely though, women continue to relocate earlier than men. A third of female respondents working abroad had relocated by the time they were 30, compared to only 17% of men. 70% of those working abroad between the ages of 51 to 60 were men. In a world where demand is outstripping the supply of talent, what can be done to make sure that this talent pool of women is not overlooked?

Asia attracts ‘return-homers’

In the past, trends have shown a predominance of West to East professional migration. However the balance of global economic power is changing and with it new patterns are beginning to emerge. In the quest to fill their increasing skills gaps with home grown talent, a new trend in global migration shows the new Asian ‘powerhouse’ economies giving preference to ‘return-homers’ – nationals with international experience.

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About Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO at Link Humans, a social and digital marketing agency.

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