Information on Local Life: Not So Useful to Expat Employees?

Different employers offer various types of relocation support to their global employees, but there are some types of relocation support that are more traditionally provided by companies and others that are newly offered. These are: intercultural training, additional spouse support, access to networking, access to socializing opportunities, membership in an expat organization, information on local life, having the move organized by the employer or service provider, and receiving a lump-sum payment for expatriation-related expenses. From this list, information on local life is the third most commonly offered component of relocation packages for global employees and their spouses.

This is one of the findings from the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition, a report based on the Expat Insider survey with 18, 135 respondents. The report looked at the types of relocation support that foreign assignees, international hires, and relocating spouses received from their employers, what they would have liked, and how useful they found the support that they received.

Of the respondents who moved abroad for either their own or their partner’s work, 40% received information on local life, while 43% didn’t but thought it would be useful. A larger percentage of foreign assignees (46%) received this type of support, followed by international hires (38%), and relocating spouses (35%).

Of the nine types of relocation support received, information on local life was rated only seventh most useful on average. Respondents seemed to be split on their view of the usefulness of this type of support, with 55% rating it positively, 34% rating it neutrally, and 12% rating it negatively. This type of support seems to be the most valuable for international hires, with the largest share of respondents (57%) indicating the information they received was helpful, rating it fourth most useful of all the types of support received. In comparison, relocating spouses rated it the sixth most useful, and foreign assignees rated it the least useful type of support received.

These usefulness ratings could be interpreted in more than one way. Factors such as whether the information provided was relevant to their specific situation, whether they received the amount of information they wanted, and whether the quality of this information was what they expected, could have influenced answers.

Although information on local life is the third most commonly offered type of relocation support, 60% of global employees and their relocating spouses still did not receive it. In today’s increasingly global workforce, it could be even more important for employers to consider how they can provide comprehensive localized information for all of their business locations.

Read the Expat Insider 2018 Business EditionExpat Insider is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive surveys on life abroad (18,135 expats from across the globe took part in the 2018 survey — 10% of respondents were foreign assignees, 19% were international hires, and 8% were relocating spouses). 


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