The life of an expat can be a mixed blessing. What you might lose in stability and contact with your family, you can gain in life experience, sun tans and ability to order a beer in several languages. New research out today claims that time spent working overseas can boost your pay packet too.
The report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) commissioned by L’Oreal UK (which is presumably on the hunt for staff willing to work abroad) found that employers are keen to recruit staff with overseas experience and are happy to get their wallets out to do so.
The survey (based on a not-especially representative sample of 200 employees and 100 employers) found that those with experience working abroad could expect to earn an average of 15% (or £2,700 per year) more than those who don’t. A majority (61%) of those who had worked abroad thought they could ‘progress more quickly’ in their workplace as a result. The main skills workers said they developed while working abroad were adaptability (64%), cultural awareness (64%), new language skills (46%) and greater awareness of global economics and politics (43%).
The survey was also keen to tout the benefits of international work to employers. A majority of bosses (55%) believe that overseas experience can make employees more engaged in their role, and a similar proportion (53%) believe it makes staff more successful at bringing in new business. The report even claims that the productivity increase ‘associated with taking up a more international career’ was worth £9.4bn to the economy, or 0.6% of the country’s total gross value added, which strikes MT as a little outlandish.
'The diversity of the UK’s labour market brings a broad range of benefits to the UK economy,’ said Shruti Uppala, an economist at the CEBR. ‘Businesses benefit from a forward thinking and diverse workforce equipped with international languages and cultural knowledge. This enhances the firm’s ability to conduct business in international markets which is critical for business growth.’ Just don’t forget to pack your passport.