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One in five IT professionals is a serial ex-pat, having held at least five jobs abroad during their career, according to new research from global IT and telecoms recruiter Networkers International. 
Although the most common reason for moving abroad initially is posting by an employer, most IT workers get a taste for their new lifestyle and dont want to come home.  Six out of 10 of those who have worked overseas have done so in at least two countries and the majority of ex-pats go from one foreign role to another without returning to the UK. 
According to the survey carried out among 500 IT professionals, over half of the UKs technology workers (52%) have spent some time working abroad.  A third of them (33%) have worked in Germany and almost three out of 10 (28%) have spent time in the US.  Another popular destination is The Netherlands, with just over a quarter (26%) having spent time there.  Perhaps surprisingly, given the language barrier, the fourth most popular place to have worked is France (21%).
First job overseas
Twenty seven is the most common age for people to work abroad for the first time, with the average posting being just under three and a half years.   Almost two-thirds of first roles are permanent positions (63%) and just under three out of 10 (29%) are contract. 
The most sought-after countries to work in are the main English-speaking nations the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand followed by our closest European neighbours, France, Germany, Holland and Spain. 
Upwardly mobile
A spell abroad clearly gives people a lift up the career ladder too.  According to the survey, seven out of 10 board directors with responsibility for IT, IT Directors and CIOs had worked abroad at one time (71%), compared with two thirds of  project managers (67%) and IT consultants (66%).  Other particularly mobile job roles include programme management directors, where six out of 10 had worked overseas.
Says Spencer Manuel, CEO of Networkers International: Although many IT professionals want to travel and experience new cultures, most are reluctant to make the first move.  However, our research shows that time spent working abroad is time well spent, with six out of 10 saying it had improved their career prospects, so there is every reason for IT pros to take the initiative and bag themselves an exciting international opportunity. 


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