A new study has been released on the topic of expatriate
recruitment, and paints a rosy picture of the future. The research,
commissioned by Price Waterhouse Cooper, surveyed 193 companies in the UK, USA
and Europe, and asked them about their hiring expectations in coming years.
For workers willing (or looking) to move abroad for work,
the future seems tremendously bright. The study suggests that Western companies
expect to increase their expat workforce by an average of 50% between now and
2020, provided unprecedented opportunities for suitably experienced
Right now the largest expat community of Westerners is
Dubai, and both China and India have become growing powers in the expat
recruitment market as of late. If the research is to be believed however,
Europe could succeed in gaining dominance in the battle for the brightest minds
and most skilled individuals on the market.
Large companies, it seems, are highly aware that an expat
workforce has significant benefits. For one, it means that a company can recruit
from a larger catchment area, meaning greater talent opportunities.
For another they can hire in a work face that has already
developed relevant skills at a competitor, even if the company where they
gained their experience is half way round the world. Lastly an international
culture can lead to more constructive collaboration and greater growth
Managing to recruit expat executives, for example, can help
their new employers to gain access to new contacts and an international
outlook, not to mention opening up additional funding opportunities.
This is the good news. Sadly, there is some rather less so.
It seems that while many companies are bullish about hiring the best people –
irrespective of where they live – many organizations lack the knowledge and
infrastructure to manage this process.
For example the same study found that only 9% of companies
had systems in place that allowed them to measure the ROI of shipping staff
around the world at great expense. In addition, few of the firms surveyed had a
full understanding of the legal and financial implications of shipping staff
around the world and what rules they would have to meet in order to do so.
The message is clear; while some of Europe and North
America’s largest companies are positive about the benefits of expat workers,
their management teams may have to work hard to put in place the necessary
systems to make the most of a mobile, global work force.
Whatever the case may be, it seems that expat workers that
are looking for opportunities would do well to gain experience in Western
companies. Building up experience – not to mention your reputation and contacts
– can lead to opportunities in an area where considerable growth is