China is the least appealing destination for expat postings

Published:  7 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: China
Around 33 per cent of foreign workers posted to China by their companies are failing to complete their agreed terms in the country.

A recent survey placed China very near the bottom of pile as regards enthusiasm for postings to the world’s key country for new business. Since 2008, Western companies have struggled to gain a hold in the country’s booming markets, even although employees’ hearts sink when they receive their postings.

Of the 31 countries surveyed, China came 27th due to huge cultural differences, pollution, a lack of family facilities, language difficulties and unreliable health care. Isolation was also noted as a major problem causing missing family and friends to become acute.

As a result, a third of those posted to the country return home before their term is up, even although postings to China are for shorter periods than assignations elsewhere. According to medical insurer Aviva, integration and quality of life are serious issues for married expat workers as, for foreign spouses and children, there is little in the way of comfort zones.

Workers who returned home before their term ended gave cultural issues as their main reason for giving up. Medical services are a contentious issue as regards the cost burden on employers, but private treatment is essential both for expat workers and their families.

The inevitable feeling of isolation which comes with a lack of the local language can be helped by modern communication techniques such as social media and Skype, but the fact remains that Mandarin Chinese is one of the world’s toughest languages. Spouses and families often feel that, for a temporary assignment, it’s just not worth the trouble.
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