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Thinking of moving abroad?

Wednesday June 18th, 2014 in Miscellaneous, Ampersand Latest

Thinking of moving abroad? Let’s road test the allure of all things international… 

With the world becoming smaller and the likes of LinkedIn making it easier to search for opportunities and identify talent across the globe, employees are open to considering an international move more than ever.  In a survey conducted by Job Street earlier in the year, 88% of Singaporeans hope to build a career abroad – this combined with the influx of foreigners from western markets who are looking to expatriate to Asia make this a topical point of discussion for most candidates at some stage of their career.

Having re-located to Singapore with Ampersand almost 12 months ago, the number of enquiries received from candidates considering a move to Asia has been staggering.  Whilst I have no regrets about departing the home-comforts of Australian life for the humidity and chili-crab of Singapore, it is important to be aware of a few important factors before seriously considering an international move:

First of all, make sure you are ready to move abroad.  Factors to consider include your motivations for moving overseas and how this will impact your career path given the stage of your career you may be in.  Personal factors including the age of your children (if you have them) and the age of your parents should also be taken into consideration.

Understand the cost of living and how this will affect you financially.  You should be aware of the tax system, general cost of goods, rent, schooling and transport before accepting an offer.  This is a critical factor in the decision making process.

Understand the expectations of your new role and organisation.  This is important so you can hit the ground running in the new position, particular if you are moving into a new business with different cultural expectations and values.  Reach out to anybody that you know who may have worked within the organisation or a similar role previously.  Websites such as www.glassdoor.com can also be useful.

Understand the quality of living for expats.  Do you intend to live a similar life to the one back home or immerse yourself into a new way of life? Whilst Singapore and Hong Kong are relatively easy transitions for Westerners, opportunities in emerging markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand can add different layers of complexity to a move.

Understand your repatriation strategy for when you do intend to return to your home country (if at all). You ideally want the move to be a stepping stone to progress your career in the future.

Understand the impact the move will have on your personal life.  The added stress that a move can create on relationships with your partner, family and friends shouldn’t be underestimated either.  Be prepared for change and be ready to overcome unforeseen obstacles.

Should the above information fall into line the attraction to move abroad for many is an experience too good to turn down.  The opportunity to learn and immerse yourself in a new culture and way of life, meet new friends, travel to places that you have never heard of and challenge yourself is an amazing experience.

However, whilst you are busy setting up your life in a new country it is important not to forget about your friends and family back home.  Luckily with the likes of Skype, Facebook and Viber accessible to almost anybody these days, if you put in the effort you never actually feel too far removed from what is going on back home.  You just need to teach your parents how to use this technology before you leave!

Having lived internationally in London and Singapore, I would highly recommend taking the plunge should the right opportunity present itself at the right time.  The experience of the move will stay with you long after you have returned home.

Should you wish to discuss an international move further, please contact me at lwatt@ampersand.sg

 

Lucas Watt, Principal Consultant : Asia 

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