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Going Global: Two fifths of businesses have staff overseas

Nearly two fifths (37%) of business owners in the UK now have staff permanently based overseas, compared with less than a third (29%) in 2013.  Although, a fifth (22%) of businesses who export overseas have no staff based their permanently.

Despite this rise in international activity since the first publication of the research in 2012, businesses would like more support to help expand overseas, Over two fifths (44%) of business owners questioned think that development grants for international expansion from the government would help facilitate greater overseas business expansion. Over a third (33%) also said they would benefit from local overseas advisers.

Businesses are confident that operating overseas offers them the chance to grow and prosper. Two fifths (42%) stated that as we are living in a global marketplace they want to be a part of this, while quarter (26%) of respondents admit that they have moved overseas as they believe international markets are now more buoyant. A further two fifths (42%) stated that a client of theirs already has an international presence and they wanted to support them which is why they moved overseas.

Despite the appetite from businesses to move overseas most are still realistic when it comes to the challenges this can pose. The biggest barriers to making the move are expensive set up costs (31%), a lack of knowledge about overseas markets (29%) and the fear that motivating and recruiting staff would be difficult (26%).

British businesses were also asked if they were to take the plunge which countries they would like to move to. Belgium and Austria came out top for European countries, while USA, Canada and Australia came out on top for the rest of the world.

When it comes to providing for international employees, the majority of businesses appear confused about the health care packages they should offer their staff. Worryingly, nearly two fifths (37%) of businesses questioned said that they think health insurance provision for employees is a personal choice. Furthermore, nearly a third (29%) would like to provide health cover, but simply cannot afford to.

Beverly Cook, Managing Director of Expacare, commented: “Since our research in 2012 we’ve found that the appetite for international expansion continues to grow. However there is a feeling amongst businesses that more could be done to support them as they set their sights on international expansion, from government support through to local advisers to help them on the ground once they actually move.

“As more businesses than ever before set their sights on international expansion it serves as a stark reminder that business leaders should not forget to make provisions for one of their most important assets, their staff. It’s concerning that so many respondents think that health insurance provision is a personal choice for staff and even more so that businesses say that they can’t afford to provide health insurance for their staff. Any business moving overseas should ensure that they have the knowledge and right provisions in place so that their company and staff can prosper internationally.”


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