If you’ve ever wondered who moves abroad, what sort of person you have to be to become an expat, Boston Consulting Group has surveyed over 203,000 people around the world to find out!  In the findings of their incredibly comprehensive survey it’s revealed that the globally mobile have many character traits, ambitions and driving forces in common.

If you’re thinking about one day joining the globally mobile, or you’re already living abroad and interested to discover whether your thoughts, feelings and beliefs about being an expat concur with the views of the 203,000 respondents, read on.

Interestingly, relocation isn’t always driven by a desire to advance one’s financial status.  Furthermore, when seeking job opportunities abroad expats don’t necessarily rank any of the compensation factors as high as the lifestyle ones.  Let’s take a closer look beyond the survey’s headlines.

Who Responded to the Survey?

‘Decoding Global Talent: 200,000 Survey Responses on Global Mobility and Employment Preferences’ was prepared by Boston Consulting Group together with The Network.  The respondents spanned 189 countries and all ages from 18 – 70.

The majority who responded were of working age, single and without children…closely followed by couples of working age with dependent children.  There was a relatively even mix of male and female respondents.

Where do the Globally Mobile Want to Live?

The key findings are that 3 English speaking nations – American, Britain and Canada, rank as the nations the majority of respondents wanted to relocate to or had relocated to, with London being the most popular city destination in the world for the wanna-be globally mobile.

When you consider that compensation related factors were less important among the majority as reasons to relocate, it’s clearly the perceived lifestyle benefits of these three nations that attract international interest.

Who Wants to Move Abroad?

Younger Americans are much more likely to want to live and work abroad than their older counterparts.  Yet the US is a low mobility nation overall, with less than 50% of respondents stating they had any real desire to go overseas.

And in Europe, the UK, Germany, Ireland and Denmark had the lowest score in terms of globally mobile citizens…the majority want to stay put apparently.  Interestingly the French and Dutch are the ones who want to spread their wings most in Europe.

What Makes People Want to Expatriate?

In terms of the factors driving people to consider relocation they are less about the money, and more about job satisfaction and career progression.  The majority wanted to live abroad to broaden their personal experience or acquire work experience.

Having an appreciation for the job was the number one factor when it came to respondent’s feelings about employment satisfaction.

This was closely followed by getting on well with colleagues and bosses and achieving a good work life balance.  Interestingly, compensation package elements ranked fairly lowly when it came to respondent’s qualification criteria for job satisfaction.

Why the Findings are Important

The information from the detailed and comprehensive report from The Boston Consulting Group will prove of maximum interest to those seeking a globally mobile workforce, or those hoping to recruit from abroad.  Understanding what your future employees want will help you recruit and retain talent.