Survey highlights leading concerns for potential expats

ECA, a major international human resources consultancy, found in a recent survey that 74% of respondents (multinational organisations) “often or sometimes” have difficulty attracting candidates with “the right skills and experience for international roles”.

Commonest concerns

ECA’s Managing Mobility survey identified some of the key concerns for those considering an expatriate assignment. Interestingly, family-related challenges fill the top three places: 1) impact on family or relationships; 2) partner’s career or income; 3) children’s issues. Over 50% of respondents also say compensation is not sufficient and 34% say they are unsure how a long-term international assignment would affect their career.

Meaningful, cost-effective solutions

With the partner’s career / income being the second leading concern, an expert from ECA subsequently concluded that effectively addressing issues relating to the partner’s career, in ways that are both “meaningful and cost-effective”, has the potential to increase the candidate pool for assignments.

For partners who want to work

To encourage partners who would ideally wish to work while on assignment, the article highlights many of the technical challenges that must be overcome. For example, finding out if the partner can get a work permit, establishing if they speak the language, or can learn enough to be employable; checking if their qualifications are recognised, or if they would need accreditation, and so on.

Other practical challenges

The article also accepts that even if these hurdles can be overcome, other practical challenges remain, such as, actually finding a job in a new country and adapting to a new work culture. While technology has “opened up the possibilities on when and where work is performed” there are also many questions regarding remote work, for example, where does the partner pay tax.

Talent slips through the net

It is telling that there is still such a heavy focus on finding work for the potential expat partner when considering how to best attract talent. In her latest editorial, Global Connection Director Jacqueline van Haaften discusses why this shouldn’t be a ‘dealbreaker’. In fact, much talent can slip through the net, if we fail to help potential expat partners see the big picture in a world of possibilities.

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