Expat professionals demanding return to gold plated relocation packages

Published:  7 Dec at 6 PM
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New research is revealing more and more expat professionals are unhappy with cuts to their relocation packages and are demanding a rerun of the ‘good old days’.

In spite of the growing trend in many former favourite locations towards employing local talent, experienced expats are digging their heels in for extensive lifestyle and medical benefits as well as a stronger focus on mental health, well-being and flexible working hours. Over the past several years, Western expats heading for the Gulf States and Asia have found both governments and locals less welcoming, with a number of countries raising the bar against foreign professionals.

Many expatriates believe the golden age of globalised working overseas is about to fade into history, and are finding themselves unable or unwilling to adjust to the new reality. The trend is at its most disturbing in the Gulf States, most of which are following Saudi Arabia’s ‘Saudization’ lead.

One recent global study involving 150 senior human resources directors and some 1800 globally mobile professionals showed over half of the directors had noted a growing demand for benefits since 2012. Just a third reported they’d been arranging increased health and well-being benefits over the past 10 years, and another third expected their international workforce to expand between 2017 and 2022. Around 80 per cent of those expecting expat growth focused it on Europe, North America and Asia, but forecasted restricted growth in the Middle East.

A major and growing ongoing problem amongst long-term globally mobile expat professionals is mental health including stress, anxiety and depression, with high-flyers the most likely to succumb. Expectations and increasing demands by employers are the main reasons, along with a lack of appreciation as to how mental health problems can be a serious barrier to achievement. A good number of HR directors now believe comprehensive private health cover gives an edge over other employers’ relocation packages and is a strong aid in recruitment and retention of top-quality staff.
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