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International Hires: Relocation Support for Employees from Abroad

12 Nov 2018

Recruiting global top talent has turned into a strategic concern for employers — from Silicon Valley to Berlin and Shanghai. Yet, in addition to focusing their energy on attracting candidates, companies may want to invest more into the support of their existing international hires and avoid costly talent loss, a recent report suggests. Only 36% of the International Hires received a lump-sum payment for expatriation-related expenses from their employer, compared to 65% of the foreign assignees that were surveyed for the report. Only 14% of international hires received intercultural training, which is a staple in many expat packages for foreign assignees. The Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition is based on a survey from the global expat network InterNations. More than 18,000 expats living in 187 countries or territories participated in the survey.  Respondents were presented with the outline of a basic expat package containing three types of expat support: more traditional “hard” items such as moving services; support that helps to break down cultural barriers, such as intercultural training; and support that helps with the social integration of expats, such as access to local networking opportunities. Respondents were asked whether they had received these types of support from their employer, and if not, whether they would have liked this or not. 

International Hires_Relocation Support Received

How much Relocation Support Do International Hires Receive?

International hires received considerably less support than foreign assignees:  In five out of nine support categories, less than 25% received support from their employer. For the foreign assignees support levels were this low only in four of the categories. “The support that international hires have been receiving is surprisingly low compared to the support levels typical for foreign assignees. After all, the relocation puts an equally high strain on them as on foreign assignees,” says Theresa Häfner, Head of InterNations Business Solutions and leader of the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition. 

Moving Support and Lump-Sum Payments Most Commonly Offered

The most common item in the support packages of international hires was moving support (43% of international hires received it), followed by information on local life (38%), and a lump-sum payment (36%). Other staple types of relocation support included in packages for foreign assignments, such as intercultural training and language classes, were also less offered to international hires. Only 14% of international hires received intercultural training (foreign assignees: 24%), while only 27% received language classes (foreign assignees: 37%). As for support geared at the social integration of expats, support levels for international hires were even lower.

These findings are a wake-up call considering how challenging it is for international hires to overcome cultural barriers and achieve successful social integration. After all, the majority move to their new home country for good and are completely dependent on their new destination to find new friends and build a stable, productive life”, says Theresa Häfner.

Half of the International Hires Struggle with Social Integration

Social integration is not easy to accomplish without external support, as the report indicates in the Ease of Settling In chapter: Among international hires who had been staying in their new home country between six months and two years, only 48% agreed that it was easy to feel at home in the local culture, and only 47% said it was easy to make new friends. These numbers barely changed after the period of five years, indicating that support strategies for international hires should include a long-term perspective. 

What Types of Support Do International Hires Favor?

Not surprisingly, international hires showed a greater demand for help than foreign assignees with their higher levels of support. In seven out of nine support categories, the percentage of international hires asking for assistance from their employers was higher than 40%, compared to four categories among foreign assignees. The highest demand was expressed for membership in an expat organization (63%), access to local networking opportunities (62%), and access to local socializing opportunities (59%), followed by intercultural training (52%) and a lump-sum payment (49%). Thus, support with the social integration ranked highest among the demands of international hires, a result which is very similar to the demands of foreign assignees. “The survey confirms that there is a great need among international hires to rebuild their social network abroad and that they are looking to the employers to help with this process”, Theresa Häfner suggests. "This insight presents a great opportunity for employers to make their offerings to international hires more attractive and, on the long run, to strenghten the retention of their expats."


About the Expat Insider Business Edition


The Expat Insider survey is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive surveys on life abroad. It takes a look at the world through expat eyes in the form of an overall ranking of common expat destinations and information. In total, 18,135 expats from across the globe took part in the survey. They represent 178 nationalities and are living in 187 countries or territories. The new Expat Insider Business Edition looks at global talent mobility through expat eyes on a global level. Download the report at business.internations.org/expat-insider.

About InterNations Business Solutions

InterNations Business Solutions was launched in 2018 by InterNations, the world’s largest network for professionals living and working abroad. The goal of the new division is to develop B2B solutions for global employers. The solutions support employers in two strategic areas of global talent mobility: sending employees on global assignments and recruiting and retaining professionals from abroad. With the InterNations solutions, global mobility teams are able to minimize the risk of assignment failure, reduce the workload and improve the performance of employees abroad. International recruiters can improve the attractiveness of their offer, reduce turn-over and save recruiting costs. Find more information about InterNations Business Solutions on XINGLinkedIn and on our division website.

Are you looking for a German-language version of our press content? Please send an email with your requirements to press@internations.org.  

Press Contact

Birte Pampel
Media Spokesperson

InterNations GmbH
Schwanthalerstrasse 39
80336 Munich, Germany

Tel: +49 (0)89 461 3324 86

Email: birte.pampel@internations.org

Homepage: business.internations.org

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Birte Kristina Pampel
Media Spokesperson

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