The Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition Country Focus indicates that foreign assignees in China and Hong Kong receive mixed relocation support, and have trouble settling in and finding happiness abroad. The report zooms in on foreign assignees, international hires, and relocating spouses in China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UAE, the UK, and the USA, looking at nine types of relocation support offered by organizations, their ease of settling into their new location, and how happy they are with life abroad.
The findings are based on results from the Expat Insider — one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive surveys on expat life.
Employers Sending Expats to China Provide Comprehensive Spouse Support
Foreign assignees in China are not as well supported as this expat type in the other featured countries. Assignees in China are particularly under supported when it comes to the personal aspects of employer assistance, with only 11% having received access to local networking opportunities, and 9% having received access to local socializing opportunities (compared to the global averages of 16% for both types of relocation support).
However, employers with assignees in China do stand out with their stronger consideration of relocating partners. Of the nine featured countries, China has the largest share of assignees that received additional support for their spouses (45% received this, compared to 31% globally).
When compared to this expat type in the other featured countries, assignees in China give the country the worst overall ratings for getting used to and feeling at home in the local culture. This, in conjunction with the observable gaps in employer support, might be the reason why, of the foreign assignees in the featured countries, those in China are also unhappiest — only 67% are happy with life in general, while 17% are unhappy.
Foreign Assignees in Hong Kong are Under Supported
Similar to foreign assignees in China, those in Hong Kong also received mixed relocation support. The type of employer assistance that foreign assignees in Hong Kong are best supported with is receiving a lump-sum payment for expatriation-related expenses (74% received this, compared to 65% globally).
The picture looks bleak in terms of other support types, and like foreign assignees in China, those in Hong Kong also fare badly in terms of personal aspects of relocation support. Only 21% received intercultural training (compared to 24% globally), 13% received access to local networking opportunities (compared to 16% globally), 11% received access to socializing opportunities (compared to 16% globally), and 3% received membership in an expat organization (compared to 8% globally).
Of the foreign assignees in the featured countries, those in Hong Kong give the third-worst ratings for getting used to and feeling at home in the local culture, and, after foreign assignees in China, are second-unhappiest (74% are happy and 11% are unhappy).
More Support Needed to Facilitate Successful Assignments
The Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition Country Focus underscores the gaps in relocation support for foreign assignees in China and Hong Kong, and highlights the repercussions of poor support on their ease of settling in and finding happiness in the host location. For employers wanting to facilitate successful foreign assignments in these locations, such findings are important to consider.
Find out more in the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition Country Focus: The report zooms in on Foreign Assignees, International Hires, and Relocating Spouses in nine featured countries. Mini reports for each country provide insights into issues relating to these expats and their employers on topics such as relocation support, settling in, and happiness.
Expat Insider 2018 | Business Edition Country Focus