Decoding Global Talent

Decoding Global Talent

          
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Decoding Global Talent

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    The Desire to Broaden One’s Personal Experience

    Why would people be willing to uproot themselves and head to a foreign country for work? For many (65 percent), the answer is personal: they want to broaden their life experience and that of their families.

    “I would like to bring up my kids to be global citizens,” says Mpho Hlalele-Banda, a 37-year-old single mother in Johannesburg who in the past has worked as a communications and events specialist. “I would love countries that offer them that opportunity.”

    This idea is echoed by some people who have already left home. “We really like the international atmosphere,” says Anne Granelli, 44, a Swedish biomedical researcher who travels around the world for work and now lives in India (after a previous stint in Canada) with her four children and husband, a telecommunications executive. “It is a great opportunity to get different views and learn a lot.” Granelli’s children—ranging in age from 5 to 14—now attend an international school in New Delhi; all have learned English and the youngest ones have picked up some Hindi.

    An equal proportion of people—two-thirds—also view working abroad as a way to acquire professional experience. Better career opportunities, including the chance to run a business or advance through the ranks, figure prominently among professional motivations. (See Exhibit 7.)

    exhibit

    The importance of these factors varies by country. In parts of Europe that are doing well economically, people tend to be influenced less by financial factors when deciding whether to take a foreign assignment and more by the chance to broaden their personal experience and live in a different culture. For instance, less than a quarter of Germans or Swiss who are open to working abroad say a better salary would factor into their decision to do so.

    Worldwide, the number of people who say that a better salary would tempt them to work abroad is much higher, at 56 percent, and is higher still in some countries of the Americas (Mexico, Peru, and Argentina) and Asia (Malaysia and the Philippines), where per capita income is at the lower end of the spectrum. Ukrainians and Venezuelans, buffeted by some of the highest levels of economic and political uncertainty of any nationalities in the survey, are also among those most likely to say they would move for a better salary or standard of living.

    Globally, 28 percent of all respondents say they would work abroad to gain access to a better educational system. The proportions are especially high in parts of Africa and in two Asian nations, Indonesia and Vietnam. Almost half of all Vietnamese willing to move abroad for work say the prospect of having access to a better educational system would be a factor.

    To some, getting access to a better health-care system is likewise a reason to pull up stakes. For instance, more than half of respondents in Greece and Venezuela say they might take a job abroad to get access to better health care. Health care matters even more in Bulgaria, an economically troubled European nation where almost two in every three respondents say they would factor health care into their decision to work abroad.

    exhibit