International hires in China and Hong Kong are not well supported by their employers, and have difficulties settling in and finding happiness abroad.
These are some of the findings from the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition Country Focus, a report that zooms in on international hires, foreign assignees, and relocating spouses in these and seven other countries — France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States of America (USA). The report looks at nine types of relocation support that international hires receive from organizations (language classes, intercultural training, additional spouse support, access to networking, access to socializing opportunities, membership in an expat organization, information on local life, move organized by employer or service provider, and lump-sum payment for expatriation-related expenses), their ease of settling into their life abroad, and how happy they are.
The findings in the report are based on results from the Expat Insider — one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive surveys on expat life.
Mixed Support for International Hires in China
While international hires in China are not well supported with practical aspects of relocation support, employers do seem to acknowledge the importance of providing personal support, with offerings above the global averages. Of this expat type in the featured countries, China has the largest share receiving access to local socializing opportunities (33% compared to 20% globally).
Furthermore, in terms of receiving opportunities for networking (19% compared to 17% globally), and membership in an expat organization (10% compared to 8% globally), China has the second-largest shares.
The provision of personal support could contribute to the fairly positive ratings for different aspects of settling in, with international hires in China among the most satisfied when it comes to making friends. In terms of making new friends, international hires in China are second-most satisfied — 55% find it easy and only 24% find it difficult.
Making local friends is slightly more challenging, however international hires in China are still third-most satisfied when compared to those in the other featured countries — 35% find it easy and 38% find it difficult.
International Hires in Hong Kong are Poorly Supported and Unhappy
Support for international hires in Hong Kong, on the other hand, is abysmal. In fact, for all nine types of support mentioned in the survey, the percentages of international hires in Hong Kong that received them are below the global averages.
In stark contrast to international hires in China, who are most likely to receive access to socializing opportunities (33%), those in Hong Kong are least likely — 6% received this aspect of relocation support, compared to 20% globally.
Furthermore, of the international hires in the featured countries, when it comes to receiving membership in an expat organization (2% compared to 8% globally) and having their move organized by their employer or service provider (15% compared to 43% globally), Hong Kong has the smallest shares.
Feeling at home in the local culture is not rated too positively by international hires in Hong Kong — 42% are satisfied (compared to 52% globally) and 30% are dissatisfied (also 30% globally).
With such poor relocation support and difficulties with feeling at home in the local culture, it might come as no surprise that international hires in Hong Kong are unhappiest, when compared to this expat type in the other featured countries — 62% are happy (compared to 71% globally), and 17% are unhappy (compared to 14% globally).
Employers Need to Bolster Relocation Packages
These and other findings from the report are important for employers of international hires in China and Hong Kong to consider, highlighting gaps in relocation support for this expat type, and the implications this might have on their happiness — and productivity — abroad.
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