Relocating for your job is a big decision to make. There are a lot of factors to consider. If you’re thinking about making the move, Isobel Hannan of Hays Recruitment advises asking yourself these eight questions first.
In today’s global workplace, working abroad is becoming more and more appealing. According to a survey by PwC, 71pc of respondents said they wanted to work internationally at some point in their career, with the main attraction being the chance to travel and further their skills and experience. So, if your dream is to one day live and work abroad, you will be pleased to hear that this is now more attainable than ever before.
Whether you have taken it upon yourself to explore relocation, or been offered something by your current company, remember that this is not a decision to be taken lightly. Every opportunity will come with its own benefits and challenges.
So, before you make a decision, ask yourself these questions and be honest with yourself about your answers.
Where are your skills most in demand?
If you haven’t yet been offered a role by your current or potential employer, but are curious to find an overseas opportunity yourself, find out where your skills are most in demand first.
Your skills could be needed in a number of dream destinations. Do your research, make a shortlist and go from there. The 2016 Hays Global Skills Index could help you to identify skills shortages around the world.
By making the right decision in terms of location, you are far more likely to command a more generous package.
Why do you want to relocate?
What are you hoping to gain from this opportunity? Is it career enhancement, a lifestyle change or the appeal of gaining global experience?
Once you know your objectives, you can weigh up whether this relocation and role will meet them.
How long do you plan to be going for?
It is just as important to think about how long you want to go for.
If you have been offered a role, find out how long this assignment will take. Is the time frame too short for achieving your goals? Is it too long? What other commitments do you have during this period?
If you haven’t been offered something specific, then asking some of these questions can help shape your search.
Who are you bringing with you?
It is also worth considering who you are leaving behind. Relocation as part of a career move is often not just a personal decision, but a decision that affects partners, children, parents and friends.
If you have children, what is the local education system like? What are the work opportunities for your partner? How frequently do you need to return home? Can you work overseas for the week and go back at the weekend?
Have you done your homework?
It is essential that you do your research ahead of your move. What is happening in the local economy and market? Which places would suit your lifestyle? How long is your commute? Can you access the local amenities?
Get access to expat guides on the destination, join forums, and speak to local contacts on the ground to get practical tips and advice on living and working in the new location.
What are the cultural differences that you need to be aware of?
Will you need to learn a new language for your new role? Are there local customs that you need to learn about? These factors are certainly not something to be overlooked; many organisations will even provide cultural training sessions. This can make a huge difference to how quickly you adjust and how successful the move is.
What practical help and relocation support will your new employer offer you?
Is there a relocation package? What is and isn’t included? What is the cost of living in the new location? Break down everything you need to factor in with regards to the move, from shipping through to accommodation. Then find out what support you will receive from your new employer to help you settle in.
What’s your gut telling you?
This is key. Can you spend a couple of weeks in the new location to help get a feel for the place? If so, take a trip there and use this time to ask yourself the above questions, whilst also developing a gut instinct.
You will have other questions that are personal to you, but these are a great start to shaping your decision. Remember: don’t make your choice in isolation of friends, family, information and solid facts to back up your plans.
International mobility often provides fantastic opportunity to broaden your experience both professionally and personally. Often, the benefits will far outweigh the disadvantages to making such a change, and when they do, be bold and open to adventure – you may never look back.
A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.
Isobel Hannan is group head of talent acquisition and global mobility for Hays Recruitment. She manages the deployment of Hays talent across international borders and talent attraction projects for the group.
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