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Expatriates: who are you?

Expatriates: who are you?

Berlitz Consulting has published the results of its 2011 survey about expatriates in partnership with BVA, INSEAD, EuRA and the Magellan Network. For the second edition of this survey, they have created three different questionnaires adapted to a specific situation of expatriates and their spouses:

- before their departure

- during expatriation

- after their return.

As employees are becoming more and more international, this survey seeks to better understand the expatriate population:

What is the typical profile of an expatriate and his or her spouse?

How do they imagine and experience their expatriation (motivations, expectations and needs)?

What conclusions do they draw from their experience and how do they deal with their return?

What is the role of the company in the process of expatriation?

The results were obtained between April 28, 2010 and March 20, 2011 using data from 528 expatriates (404 expatriates and 124 spouses).

The typical expatriate is young, educated and male.

Being from a family in contact with foreign countries or having previously studied abroad fosters the desire to work abroad.

The main challenges for a successful expatriation are being as effective in the new country as in the country of origin and the language.

The experience of a future expatriation is above all a personal and family experience. The professional experience is thus valued more than the professional experience.

Compared to departing expatriates, returning expatriates consider themselves to be more mediators and mercenaries than travelers and explorers.

In most cases, the employer didn’t take into account the wishes of the expatriate with regards to their position upon returning.

62 % of Westerners have changed jobs since returning from expatriation.

The main difficulties for returning expatriates are re-establishing their network, the non-appreciation of international experience and the assignment of a position below their expectations in terms of responsibility, autonomy and above all pay.

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