The changing face of the typical expat
For many expats, moving abroad represents an opportunity to gain skills and experience they wouldn’t otherwise gain at home. Experiencing different business cultures, learning new languages and opportunities for personal development make expats highly employable but for a long time it has been mostly men over 35 moving abroad to enjoy these benefits and fast-track their careers. However, new research shows that the profile of the typical expat professional is changing, with an increasing number of women and young people joining the expat community to improve their employability.
The Natwest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Report surveys over 2400 British Expats to get their attitudes and opinions toward life abroad. Now in its eighth year, the study has identified a number of expat trends and, like the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, has named Singapore as its number one expat destination for the year. Another trend seen in this year’s report is a growing number of female expats looking to move abroad to improve their career prospects. In 2011, the report found that only a third of British expats were women. Fast forward to today and that number has increased to just under half of all respondents, at 46%.
Traditionally, the typical expat has been a man moving abroad with his wife and children to work abroad. This new research shows that the common expat profile is moving away from this stereotype as more women look to join the expat community and take advantage of the benefits of life abroad.
Also identified in the report is a trend for expats to be getting younger. The number of young expats, defined as those aged 25 to 35, has risen by 162% since 2011 and by 38% in the last year alone. Technological advances have been identified as one of the most important factors in causing this demographic shift as these advances allow young expats to keep in close contact with family, friends and also employers despite living in another country.
For a growing number of expats, though, living abroad is not a permanent situation. The same research has found that the number of UK adults livin g abroad temporarily has increased by 265% since 2011 and the number of permanent expats has halved during this time, falling to 33% from 72% in 2011.
In an increasingly connected world, expat life is becoming more and more accessible to people from all walks of life. The results of the Natwest International Personal Banking Quality of Life Report show that an increasingly diverse spectrum of people are taking full advantage of opportunities to work overseas and benefit from the experience of working abroad. In a global economy with more and more multinational corporations, this kind of experience is an increasingly valuable asset.
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Information correct at time of publication