One-half of employees globally open to working abroad: Survey

Higher pay, better living conditions biggest incentives for accepting assignment
||Last Updated: 02/07/2012

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Nearly one-half of workers around the world would consider moving to another country for the right job, a pay rise and other incentives such as trips home and language training, according to a recent survey.

With the global economy still struggling, employees in Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and India were most eager to grasp new opportunities, while workers in Sweden, the United States and Belgium preferred to stay closer to home, the Ipsos international poll showed.

Nearly 20 per cent of people questioned said they would be very likely to work abroad for two to three years if they were given a 10 per cent pay rise, and 30 per cent said it was a possibility they would ponder.

"You are looking at half the population of employees in 24 countries who are actually willing to take an assignment abroad, which is huge," said Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos Global Public Affairs.

"When you consider the increasing globalization of our world and how portfolios now include multiple countries and employers are looking at international experience as an asset, it is not surprising that you get so many people that are interested."

At nearly 40 per cent, higher pay was cited as the main incentive for workers to venture abroad, followed by better living conditions, a good career move, adventure and time for a change.

A guarantee to resume their current job after two years away was another big incentive when considering a move.

"It is sort of saying that yes folks would move abroad but the details have to be right," said Gottfried. "I think what this tells us is that if employers get the details right and they are looking to become a more global company then there is an appetite for it."

Workers most likely to take up the opportunity are young, single men on low incomes and education levels and, at the other end of the spectrum, senior executives and decision makers.

"You definitely see men, three in 10 of them who say they are they are likely to take a job abroad, and similar proportions for young people," said Gottfried. "I think that is partly (due to) commitment because when you are young you are less likely to have a family."

Not enough of a pay rise was the main deal breaker for taking a job abroad but workers were also reluctant to make a move because of a partner's job and 30 per cent said they didn't want to leave friends and family behind.

When asked about the possibility of relocating for work in another city, three in 10 workers globally said they were open to making a move and 37 per cent said they were somewhat likely.

Ipsos, which conducted the poll on behalf of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council, questioned people in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

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