Page 1

Global professionals on the move 2010 Research Survey by ESCP Europe on behalf of Hydrogen Group


Contents

01

Executive summary

02

The findings

07

Law

08

Engineering

09

Human Resources

10

Finance

11

Technology

12

Case studies

18

Appendix

20

Hydrogen Group and ESCP Europe


Executive summary The 2010 Hydrogen Global Professionals on the Move Report is a groundbreaking study, offering insight into the attitudes and priorities of highly qualified professionals at a time of uncertainty and flux in the global recruitment market. It uncovers a clear willingness of professionals to work abroad and explores both the reasons they look to do so and their favoured countries for relocation – which don't always match up with recruitment demands on the ground.

The 2010 Hydrogen Global Professionals on the Move Report, was conducted by a consultancy project team from ESCP Europe business school. It examines the opportunities and motivations for working abroad of mid- and senior-level professionals. It is based on a major survey of 3,155 professionals from over 70 countries. Whereas existing research in this area relates largely to tracking more junior or lower skilled workers, this report breaks ground by focusing on the migratory patterns of professional employees, with sector-specific analysis for the professional disciplines of finance, technology, engineering, legal and HR. On average, respondents in our research earned $125,000 and virtually all held a professional qualification or above, with over half attaining a postgraduate degree, such as an MBA or PhD. These mid- to senior-level professionals are highly mobile high flyers, with some 94 percent of respondents either already working abroad or interested in doing so. They see international experience as a key means of both fast-tracking their careers and boosting their personal development. Indeed, the research reveals that greater earning potential is not in itself a top priority for this demographic when looking to work abroad, suggesting a post overseas must have the right fit with their overall career/life plan to be worth the move. A breakdown of the data on gender grounds reveals that while more men say they would definitely move abroad, more women are actually in jobs overseas. The US, UK and Australia were consistently the ‘top three’ countries preferred by this demographic. However, as our report explains, in most cases the popularity of certain countries does not correlate with where recruitment is most buoyant, with demand for professionals in certain sectors greater in countries in the Middle East and Asia, for example. The impact of the global financial downturn on the world of work continues to attract much debate. From cuts in pay to a reported rise in part-time working, the effects of the downturn have been far-reaching. When it comes to working abroad,

our research reveals that the economic downturn is not a major factor in middle- and senior-level professionals' mobility, with 60 percent of respondents stating it had no impact at all on their willingness to move overseas. The report throws into sharp focus how, for the mid- to senior-level professional demographic, international experience is a key ingredient for personal and career development. For them, working abroad is not a means of escaping recession; rather it is a proactive career and life choice motivated by the desire to fast-track their career, have a better quality of life and further their personal development. Their preference is for temporary periods abroad, not permanent relocation. Some 64 percent of respondents said they were willing to work in another country for up to five years, gaining some valuable international experience and then returning to their home base. The survey asked those already working abroad about how they secured their position overseas, with the use of a recruitment consultancy the most popular and successful at 28 percent, followed by being headhunted at 16 percent. In contrast, of the 64 percent of respondents not yet working abroad but who were interested in doing so, only 15 percent had actually spoken to a recruitment consultancy. These aspiring international professionals were more likely to have done general internet research, but the message coming through in the research is clear: if they're serious about taking up the opportunities that await them overseas, they need to get serious about what they're doing to make it happen. This ground-breaking research offers insight into the mindset of this career-driven demographic of professionals. It is a mindset that is decidedly international, characterised not by a wish to go where the jobs are, but to go where the right jobs are – that is, jobs that will enable them to progress their careers while providing personal fulfilment at the same time. Hydrogen Group April 2010

Page 1


The findings Mid- to senior-level professionals are highly mobile

1 | Would you ever consider relocating and working abroad? 11.79% 16.83%

4.67% 1.77%

I am already abroad Definitely yes

28.21%

Quite possibly Potentially Probably not Definitely not

36.73%

Clearly the motivation of professionals to live and work abroad is stronger than ever. The overwhelming majority of our survey's 3,155 respondents – 9 out of 10, or 94 percent – said they were already developing their careers outside their own countries or were willing to do so in the future.

The economic downturn is not a major factor in why professionals move abroad to work

2 | How has the global financial crisis influenced your willingness to work abroad? 16.89%

10.28%

Decreased a lot

3.02% 8.97%

Decreased a little Not at all Increased a little Increased a lot

60.84%

A key aim of this research was to explore the factors that influence professionals to consider working abroad. At a time when the economic downturn is impacting on so many aspects of the world of work, the influence of the financial crisis on professionals' career plans was an obvious factor for our research to explore. Six in ten respondents (60 percent) said the global financial crisis had “not at all” influenced their willingness to go abroad; only for a minority of respondents (27 percent) was this a factor. At a time when public perceptions of job cuts and unemployment are strong because of the economic downturn, our demographic of highly qualified, highly mobile high flyers are decidedly more positive. Demand for this demographic is driving the increased mobility, according to Tim Smeaton, Chief Executive Officer of Hydrogen Group. “The world is fast becoming one global market, which means businesses increasingly need to compete on a global scale to remain competitive,” he says. “Over the past decade, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in our clients looking for candidates with international experience, in line with the increasingly global nature of their operations and customer bases.” The research also has clear implications for the global recruitment market post-recession, according to Dr Claudia Jonczyk, Associate Professor of Organisation Studies at ESCP Europe. She says: “When things do pick up, the global war for talent will intensify even more, and the companies and countries offering the best conditions – not only financially but overall with regard to quality of life – will attract the best talent who, as the research indicates, are highly mobile and flexible.” Page 2


Career advancement, quality of life and personal development are the top reasons professionals move abroad to work

3 | For what reasons would you consider relocating? To fast-track my career

15.48%

Better quality of life

15.21%

Personal development

14.27%

Cultural differences

11.93%

Greater earning potential

10.40%

Other

7.33%

New experiences

6.86%

Better living conditions

6.49%

Better climate

4.32%

Better job opportunities

4.09%

Quality of school system

3.62% 0

5

10

15

20

Greater earning potential was outstripped by factors typically associated with lifestyle and development issues, perhaps in part reflecting that for professionals already on incomes well above average, earning even more money is unlikely to be a make or break issue when considering a move abroad. Dr Claudia Jonczyk, Associate Professor of Organisation Studies at ESCP Europe, connects this finding to existing research into employee incentives. “Research on incentive and reward systems has shown time and time again that the importance of money tends to be overestimated,” she says. “The busier people are, the higher the value they place on issues like quality of life.”

Professionals are selective about where they are willing to relocate to

4 | What reasons would prevent you from relocating? 29.17%

Safety/security 23.00%

Political climate Lack of cultural fit

18.72%

Language barriers

6.59%

Lack of professional perspectives

6.57%

Climate

4.05%

Geographical distance

3.96% 3.46%

Lack of leisure opportunities Other

3.10% 1.38%

Visa issues/work permit 0

5

10

15

20

25

30

While the vast majority of mid- to senior-level professionals are happy to move abroad to work, location is critical, reflecting the clear strategic reasons they have for going abroad, which are to fast-track their careers and further their personal development. Not surprisingly then, safety and security top the list of factors influencing why they would not move to another country to work, followed by political climate and lack of cultural fit. The most favoured countries cited by respondents in all sectors are the United States, the UK and Australia. However, this does not, in many cases, correlate with where the demand for jobs actually is. Nor does it reflect the reality of visa restrictions in certain countries, with the United States being notoriously difficult to get into, even for the most qualified and experienced of professionals, according to Tim Smeaton, Chief Executive Officer of Hydrogen Group. “The opportunities for professionals to work abroad in countries offering a good cultural fit are clearly there, they just may not be in countries at the top of candidates' initial wish list.”

Page 3

Australia, for example, has more demand and opportunities for specialists in human resources and engineering compared to some other sectors, while opportunities in the United States are considerably fewer. “Some of the countries where we are seeing highest demand are in the Middle East and Asia, such as Singapore and the United Arab Emirates,” says Smeaton. “These countries meet the criteria of highly skilled professionals in terms of safety, stability and cultural fit, they just may not be countries they would first think of in terms of a move abroad. However, these are countries where English is the common language – indeed, the language of business – and they offer vibrant expat communities with an excellent attitude and a high standard of living.” He adds: “Put simply, the opportunities professionals say they want are there to be had.”


Working with a recruitment consultancy is the most likely means of securing a job overseas

5 | How did you find your current job?

11% 11%

Used a recruitment consultancy

7%

2%

Responded to an online advertisement Responded to a press advertisement

11%

28%

Heard about it through a friend/colleague I was headhunted Approached by my employer directly

14%

Moved overseas with current employer

16%

Other

Of the 28 percent of respondents who were already working abroad, 44 percent had found their role through a recruitment consultancy or headhunter, revealing these two methods as by far the most likely to lead to an actual post abroad. However, respondents who were interested in going abroad, but who were not there yet, were more likely to have simply done some general internet research than to have actually talked to a consultant about developing their career with a move abroad. The findings of the research in this area suggest many professionals may struggle to turn their idea about working abroad into a reality unless they take concrete steps to achieve their goal.

A successful move overseas requires a proactive approach

6 | What steps have you taken to move abroad? Global recruitment consultancies can provide specialist advice and knowledge regarding demand for particular skill-sets and expertise in different countries, according to Andrea Sevenoaks, Marketing and HR Director for Hydrogen Group. “What's clear from the research is that professionals who are serious about moving abroad need to be more serious in how they go about it,” she says. “Only then will they be able to take advantage of the job opportunities that are out there for them.”

22.28%

I've done some general internet research on working abroad 14.96%

I've spoken about it to a recruitment consultancy I have already responded to an online advertisement

14.35% 13.53%

I haven't done anything yet 8.81%

I have heard about the potential opportunities through a friend/colleague

7.04%

I have already been headhunted

5.81%

I have been approached by my employer about the possibility of working abroad

4.77%

I have an option to be moved overseas with current employer Other

4.50%

I have already responded to a press advertisements

3.95% 0

5

10

15

20

25

Page 4


Most professionals do not want to relocate permanently, preferring only a short spell abroad

7 | How long would you be willing to spend abroad? 19%

6% Less than a year

11%

1-2 years

27%

3-5 years 5-10 years More than 10 years

37%

Rather than working abroad for negative reasons (e.g. to escape economic conditions at home), the highly qualified professionals featured in this research are moving abroad for career and personal reasons, rather than as economic migrants. For them, a short spell abroad is the ideal, with 64 percent of respondents stating they would be willing to work abroad between one and five years. Dr Claudia Jonczyk, Associate Professor of Organisation Studies at ESCP Europe, says working for just a few years ensures that people have a ‘real’ experience abroad. “That most prefer the idea of just a few years may reflect an aim to upgrade their skill-set with a spell abroad and then to use that experience as leverage to propel their career back in their home country.”

A larger percentage of professional women are working abroad, though more men want to

8 | How likely are you to move abroad? 50

40

Male Female

30

%

20

10

0 I am already abroad

Definitely yes

Quite possibly

Potentially

Probably not

Definitely not

A gender-based analysis of our data on these highly qualified professionals reveals that working abroad may be one aspect of the gender war that women are winning – at least for this demographic. When the 3,155 respondents were asked if they would move abroad, 34 percent of women stated they were already abroad, compared to 26 percent of men. However, the survey found a greater percentage of men wanted to move abroad – 40.5 percent, compared to 30.5 percent of women.

Page 5


While it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly is behind this difference, the findings of existing research into when adult children leave home offers an interesting parallel, believes Dr Claudia Jonczyk, Associate Professor of Organisation Studies at ESCP Europe. She says: “On average, girls move out earlier, meaning a lower percentage of them, as adults, are still living with their parents, perhaps because they are conditioned to be more organised with regard to household issues and their life in general.” Jonczyk continues: “Going abroad means not only great new experiences, new friends and cultural competencies; there are also lots of ambiguities to master, learning and adapting to be done – and sometimes failing and retrying. The phenomenon of women seeming more willing to move abroad has been well documented in the case of Germany. After reunification, many young people from East Germany seeking better paid jobs went West. More women than men actually left – leading to something of a demographic problem in some rural parts of Eastern Germany.” Commenting on these findings, Abigail Waudby, Director of Hydrogen's Singapore office, says: “We're seeing companies increasingly focus on gender diversity, particularly at the more senior end of the professional market. This creates a lot of opportunity for successful females to mobilise their careers, especially in Asia and the Middle East, where the shortage of senior level female professionals is greater.”

Professionals holding an MBA are more likely to be abroad compared to those with other qualifications

9 | Would you move abroad (by highest level of education)?

50

40

30

Apprenticeship Bachelor

% Master PhD

20 MBA

10

0

I am already abroad

Definitely yes

Quite possibly

Potentially

Probably not

Definitely not

While the willingness of professionals to go abroad does not vary much at all according to their level of education, those with postgraduate degrees were more likely to have successfully obtained a post overseas. Those professionals holding an MBA formed the largest group at 35 percent, followed closely by other Masters degrees and PhDs. Apprenticeship ranked the lowest at 19 percent, reflecting how for professionals with a more academic background, a tendency to take a career abroad is more striking.

Page 6


Law For lawyers, the USA is the most popular country to move to, with several countries in the Middle East and Asia also in the top ten

1 | If willing to go abroad, what countries would you prefer to live in? 15.36%

United States 9.83%

United Kingdom Australia

8.60%

France

6.14% 5.68%

Hong Kong Canada

4.92%

United Arab Emirates

4.76%

Singapore

4.45%

Switzerland

4.15%

China

4.15% 0

5

10

15

20

The legal sector has one of the most international job markets and every trainee in an international law firm can apply to work in an overseas office as part of their training. However, the role that international experience has to play within a lawyer’s career progression has been heightened by the economic downturn. Nicola Byam-Cook, Associate Director of Law Professionals, which is part of Hydrogen Group, explains. “For many qualified lawyers, a stint abroad in a busier market is now an unofficial step on the ladder to making partner in London. In addition, the recession has driven many in the sector to look overseas to secure a position,” she says. “To progress their careers, some lawyers need to go abroad due to limited opportunity in London.” “America remains a very popular destination, but there are very few opportunities there for overseas lawyers because the legal system is completely different.” She continues: “The big markets for overseas lawyers are in Singapore, other countries in Asia, and the Middle East. There is also the perception among lawyers that there is more of a work-life balance to be had overseas - some lawyers who move abroad are reluctant to return to their firm in London.”

2 | For what reasons would you consider relocating? 18.54%

New experiences

19.27%

Better job opportunities

16.34%

Better living conditions

15.61%

Opportunity to work overseas with current employer

13.66%

Other

9.02%

Better quality of life

7.56%

Greater earning potential 0

5

10

15

20

Better job opportunities, new experiences and better living conditions rank highly on the list of priorities for law professionals looking to take their careers abroad – though opportunities to go abroad with their current employer ranks highly compared to professionals in other fields. Page 7


Engineering Australia is the most favoured destination among engineers, with the United Arab Emirates in the top five – a reflection of the huge investment being made in these regions

1 | If willing to go abroad, what countries would you prefer 16.98%

Australia

15.09%

United Kingdom United States

14.15%

Switzerland

12.26% 9.43%

United Arab Emirates Spain

8.49%

Canada

7.55% 5.66%

Netherlands Singapore

5.66% 4.72%

France 0

5

10

15

20

Demand for engineers continues to be high, despite the recession, meaning that for highly qualified professionals in this sector, opportunities remain around the world. In Australia, demand for highly-skilled engineers and technical professionals is being fuelled by huge investment - £295 billion to 2018 in roads, bridges, ports, water and sewerage infrastructure, railways and electricity networks. The Middle East, with over 56 percent of the world's oil reserves, is a hot bed of demand for engineers as the Arab nations are set to spend over US$120 billion on new power projects before 2012. “With this mass demand for energy and infrastructure and the opportunities it creates, it is no surprise the region is such an attractive location for engineers,” says Andy Clapham, a manager at Darwin Park, which is part of Hydrogen Group.

2 | For what reasons would you consider relocating? 20.00%

New experiences

14.92%

Better job opportunities

20.34%

Better living conditions

13.22%

Opportunity to work overseas with current employer

5.08%

Other

17.29%

Better quality of life

9.15%

Greater earning potential 0

5

10

15

20

25

“The nature of the engineering market is driving high mobility of these professionals,” explains Simon Walker, Managing Director of Darwin Park. “The biggest employers of engineers are large, global giants that look at and manage their workforce on a global scale,” he says. “Mobility within firms is very much the norm in these organisations, and a lot of the external recruitment we’re seeing is a case of a professional moving overseas with their firm, and then deciding to move firms while they’re out there - they get a taste for the expat life in Dubai, for instance, and are often keen to prolong their stay.”

Page 8

Another feature of the engineering sector is that work is often focused around specific projects, which by their nature, are finite. This drives mobility because professionals are required at a particular project location for the duration of the project but will then obviously move elsewhere when the project has been completed.


Human Resources Australia is the country to which human resources professionals most want to move, at a time when job opportunities there for highly qualified sector specialists are picking up

1 | If willing to go abroad, what countries would you prefer

20.79%

Australia

17.82%

United States 9.90%

Canada France

8.91%

United Kingdom

8.91%

Singapore

7.92%

United Arab Emirates

7.92%

Spain

5.94%

Switzerland

5.94% 0

5

10

15

20

25

Few companies in Australia last year were open to sponsorship opportunities, a reflection of the ease with which they could meet their recruitment needs from the local market. However, 2010 has seen a swift change, according to Emma Halls, Hydrogen Group's Director for Australia. She says: “We're seeing skill shortages in sectors such as HR, with companies open to sponsoring mid- to senior-level international candidates with specialist skill sets.” While the focus for HR in Australia in 2009 was, as in many countries, on retrenchment and cost cutting, now it is more on retention and looking after talent, according to Halls. “With the Australian economy showing strong signs of recovery, HR teams are now recruiting for senior HR professionals with a background in strategy and change, who can help ensure businesses meet their growth plans,” she says. “Strong senior candidates from the UK with experience in organisational change through the downturn and the shift to upturn are in demand.” In line with the overall trend for most sectors, there is also greater demand for HR professionals in countries in the Middle East and Asia, such as Singapore.

2 | For what reasons would you consider relocating? 22.95%

New experiences

12.30%

Better job opportunities

29.51%

Better living conditions

13.11%

Opportunity to work overseas with current employer

Other 4.10%

13.93%

Better quality of life

Greater earning potential 4.10% 0

5

10

15

20

25

30

Better living conditions is the most commonly cited reason why HR professionals are looking to move abroad. It also ranks more highly among professionals in HR than for those in any other sector featured in the research – perhaps a reflection of the high awareness within HR of issues such as wellbeing and work-life balance.

Page 9


Finance The USA ranks most highly amongst the destinations finance professionals would like to work, though in reality most overseas opportunities for the sector are in the Middle East and Asia

1 | If willing to go abroad, what countries would you prefer

15.73%

United States 9.29%

Australia United Kingdom

8.21%

Canada

6.24% 5.85%

Switzerland

4.93%

France United Arab Emirates

4.60%

Hong Kong

4.37%

Singapore

4.04% 3.84%

Spain 0

5

10

15

20

The USA may be the most preferred destination of finance professionals, but the harsh reality is US immigration restrictions mean actual job opportunities are extremely rare, says Ivan Jackson, Hydrogen Group's Director for Finance, Legal and HR. “The US's H1B Visa, which allows US companies to temporarily employ foreign workers across speciality occupations, is currently limited to 65,000, which is significantly lower than in previous years.” As is the case for most sectors, there is a correlation between people's preferences and countries where English is the predominant language, according to Jackson. He says: “There is a disconnect between where they would like to go and where the actual opportunities are.”

2 | For what reasons would you consider relocating?

21.91%

New experiences

15.54%

Better job opportunities

17.13%

Better living conditions

10.36%

Opportunity to work overseas with current employer

13.55%

Other

12.75%

Better quality of life

8.76%

Greater earning potential 0

5

10

15

20

25

However, there is a correlation between finance professionals' reasons for moving abroad – which include better living conditions and job opportunities as well as new experiences – and the conditions and lifestyle in countries where demand is highest. “The Middle East and Singapore are key areas where a superior standard of living goes hand in hand with a career in finance,” he says.

Page 10


Technology The USA still ranks as the most popular country to work in for technology professionals, with a growth of opportunities in Singapore

22.84%

United States 16.16%

Australia United Kingdom

11.70%

France

9.19% 8.36%

Canada Switzerland

6.96%

United Arab Emirates

6.96%

Singapore

6.69%

New Zealand

5.85%

Germany

5.29% 0

5

10

15

20

25

1 | If willing to go abroad, what countries would you prefer The appearance of Singapore within the top ten countries favoured by technology professionals reflects recent investment by companies developing their presence in the region, according to Rory Ferguson, Hydrogen Group's Director for Technology in the UK. “In terms of language and infrastructure, Singapore is quite a comfortable move,” he says. “It's an exciting place to be. The expat community is strong, and as a result business is very relationship-driven.” Ferguson also comments that professionals in the technology sector are increasingly moving from a career focus to a project focus, and therefore more open to working abroad. “For technology, there is no reason why it should not be a truly global environment, and that's what we're seeing in terms of recruitment,” he says. “I think we'll see greater mobility for this sector continue.” Abigail Waudby, Director of Hydrogen’s Singapore office, adds: “With the Asian markets returning to growth, we are seeing a high volume of projectled roles within technology and finance, and scarcity within the local candidate population is forcing employers to cast their net wider. Technology is playing an increasingly integral role in the process of change and growth for our clients – a key example being in the successful merger of businesses and projects to align two operating businesses into one. This key change process requires highly skilled, experienced professionals, particularly in Asia where regional offices are often involved.”

2 | For what reasons would you consider relocating? 22.39%

New experiences

20.26%

Better job opportunities

16.42%

Better living conditions

14.29%

Opportunity to work overseas with current employer

11.09%

Other

9.17%

Better quality of life

6.40%

Greater earning potential 0

5

10

15

20

25

Page 11


Case studies Melbourne to London Originally from Melbourne, Australia, 25-year-old Jasmeen Garewal travelled to London in October 2008 at the height of the recession. Like many of her Australian compatriots, Jasmeen had always wanted to spend time living in the UK which, for many Australians, is seen as the gateway to Europe. Before the move, Jasmeen used a company in Melbourne to set up a UK bank account and National Insurance number as the perception in Australia at that time was that these involve lengthy processes (although she now advises her fellow country-mates that this isn’t the case at all). An experienced Business Analyst with four years’ experience, Jasmeen wasted no time signing up with recruitment agencies. Hydrogen Group, experienced in sourcing and placing the influx of Antipodean talent into the UK, found her a contract role within four weeks, working in the Treasury department of Tesco’s headquarters in Cheshunt. After a year of working in the UK, Jasmeen was required under UK law to return to Melbourne to obtain her UK Highly Skilled Immigration visa, which is calculated and awarded using a points-based system. Although the process can take up to four months, for Jasmeen it took just three days. On her return to the UK Jasmeen initially completed a short freelance assignment at Marks & Spencer’s headquarters in London, before returning to Tesco in her current role as a Business Analyst in the International Finance Team. She travels at least once a month with friends and has visited most European cities, enjoying Barcelona and Rome in particular. Living in North London Jasmeen loves the diversity that she experiences living in the UK. “There’s always so much to do and new places to see.” Like many Australians living here, she has travelled the British Isles extensively, probably more so than the average Brit. She returned home for a holiday in October 2009 but found herself missing London lifestyle, despite the scorching temperatures there and the freezing cold in the UK. Coming from a close family, Jasmeen was initially worried about homesickness but actually gets to speak to her mum and brother many times a week. “I quickly realised that, no matter where you are in the world, it’s so easy now to keep in touch.” She had expected the cost of living to be a challenge but, surprisingly, she and her friends find London much cheaper than Melbourne. She puts this down to the competition: “In Melbourne you only have two major supermarket chains. Here you have so many, all competing with each other.” Although her current contract ends soon, she has already received an offer for another contract within Tesco, returning to the Treasury department in her former boss’s role until the end of July. She then plans to spend around six months gaining further experience until returning home to Melbourne in early 2011. Once in Melbourne she will stay there: “I was always going to return home. When I do, my travelling days will be over and it will be time to settle down.”

Page 12


London to Singapore Originally from Australia, Gerry McGuire a 53-year-old Global Change Manager relocated alone to Singapore from London in March 2010. A truly global candidate, Gerry has worked and lived in New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Gerry has spent most of his career in the financial industry and has found that this has enabled him to travel whilst enhancing his CV. Having completed a six month contract with one of London’s leading financial houses earlier this year, Gerry began to consider his options for his next career move. Within a short space of time he received a firm offer from a bank in Aberdeen. A Team Leader from Hydrogen Group based in Singapore, had, however, identified Gerry as the ideal candidate for a position he had at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore. As Hydrogen specialise in niche, hard to find talent, he was excited about Gerry’s work history in Asia and the market relevant experience he could bring to the role. They spoke on the phone initially and the position appealed to Gerry immediately. In contrast to the position in Aberdeen, Hydrogen were able to offer a permanent contract with Standard Chartered Bank, attractive benefits and the opportunity to relocate. After a successful interview, they began the process of visa applications and laying the foundations of Gerry’s new life in Singapore. “Hydrogen were very helpful; they made the visa application process seamless, ironed out any problems, were able to advise me on locations to live, and brokered the rate for the role and accommodation package with SCB. They did everything I expected them to do - well." Hydrogen also provided advice on opening foreign bank accounts and answered questions regarding the relocation itself. Although Gerry has only been in Singapore a short time he loves the city. His previous time spent in Hong Kong and Tokyo helped to manage his expectations and prepared him for the move. The climate and lifestyle of Singapore appeals to Gerry, although he has found the culture to be very different to that of the western countries he has lived in. “Everything is 100 miles an hour and the people are straight to the point,” he says. He has found the rent to be very expensive, as well as the prospect of running a car but the lower taxes certainly help. With low crime levels and an impeccably clean regime in place, Singapore is an amazing expat destination. “The friendly people and the safety are a real plus for me. The transport system is excellent and the shopping is great. There is a generally clean nature about the place... Oh and of course you must drop into Raffles!" Now a Global Change Manager for Standard Chartered Bank, Gerry feels that he has achieved his career objective and plans to remain in this position for the foreseeable future. He does have aspirations of travelling further in the future with his sights set on Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, London and New York.

Page 13


London to Hong Kong British born Avijit Choudhury is a 34-year-old Regional Business Manager who relocated to Hong Kong in the Autumn of 2008. Working in the financial markets, Avijit decided to consider relocation when the downturn began to gain an insight into the Asian culture and ‘ride the Asian wave’. Avijit knew that he wanted to change his career and experience. He was due to complete an Executive MBA at Cass Business School (London) in July 2008, and felt that would be the right time to begin looking for new opportunities, making a change in both his career and his lifestyle. He and his partner Claire decided to embark on a life abroad and planned the move to Hong Kong at the end of September 2008, a week after Lehman Brothers folded! Avijit had previously worked with Hydrogen Group in 2003 and had remained in close contact with the consultants, informing them of his plan to move. Once settled in Hong Kong, a consultant from Hydrogen contacted Avijit to see how he was finding life in Asia and begin to help him make his next career move. Although Hydrogen Group did not have an office in Singapore at that time - it opened in January 2010 - consultants soon provided Avijit with several amazing opportunities, ultimately resulting in him accepting a role with Bloomberg. The main issues that Avijit has experienced have been working inside a different culture and time zone. Working alongside different native languages can be a long and frustrating process. But this has encouraged Avijit to think and work in a different way. “Emotional intelligence is key in making things a success,” he says. With regard to the time zones, they have found that being eight hours ahead of London and up to 13 hours ahead of New York makes contact with friends, family and colleagues incredibly difficult. “There is only a small window for productivity with the western world.” It has very much made him appreciate the location of London which ‘straddles the Asian and US day.’ Living in Hong Kong has opened up a whole new world to Avijit and Claire. As well as amazing career opportunities, they are also really enjoying the quality of their life outside of work. New people, new places, low taxes and being able to easily access holiday destinations that would previously have been long haul including Bali, Thailand and China, are just some of the advantages of their new home. When asked how long he will spend in Hong Kong, Avijit answers without hesitation: “It's definite, I’m a HK employee now!” Long term, Avijit and Claire plan to move back to the UK as family is very important to them. They would not rule out another international move eventually but for the foreseeable future they will remain in Hong Kong.

Page 14


UK to Qatar Originally from the UK, Adam Burgess a Senior Quantity Surveyor, relocated with his wife to Qatar 16 months ago. Previously based in Harrogate, Adam was working as a Commercial Manager for Bovis Lend Lease in Leeds when he began exploring opportunities to work overseas in August 2008, originally with the Caribbean in mind. At this time many high profile infrastructure projects were underway in the Middle East and Hydrogen Group, having identified Adam as an ideal candidate, presented him with several opportunities in Qatar, one of which was for KEO, a world-leading project and construction management firm. The interview process was successful for both parties and six weeks after their wedding, Adam and his wife left for their new life. The move itself was surprisingly simple. Their home in Harrogate was rented furnished. As part of their employee relocation service, KEO arranged their flights and for their belongings to be shipped to Qatar. A company representative was present at passport control to resolve any issues. The couple arrived at their new apartment at midnight and Adam started work the next morning! KEO provided accommodation in Qatar for the first month. Since then they have moved twice, first into an apartment and then to a villa within the expat community which is where they are currently living. The first week in Qatar involved providing medicals, X-rays (to screen for serious infections), finger printing and obtaining a driving license. Luckily for Adam, KEO were available to help with these processes every step of the way. This help was invaluable due to the level of red tape involved. “If you were left to your own devices you’d be lost but having the support of a great company made everything OK,” he says. Adapting to their new way of life has been easy, something that Adam puts down to the research they conducted before the move. “Some people move out here and find the six day working week difficult, but we knew about it before we came so had mentally prepared for it.” A dry Arab state, drinking and socialising is done in Qatar’s hotel bars, but Adam is used to this now, although admits that it can be very expensive. He has made some good expat friends who, all in similar situations, have a common bond. “It’s a totally different lifestyle but that is part and parcel of an overseas move, and one of the key reasons we wanted to do it.” The couple have taken Qatar’s challenges in their stride. Driving has taken some getting used to but Westerners are very well catered for and there are very few things that aren’t available. The pace of life in Qatar is much slower, and they have been surprised at how safe they feel – far more so than in the UK. Life has been adapted to cope with the soaring temperatures which can reach 45 degrees in July and August; shops close at midday and reopen in the late afternoon until midnight and the majority of places are air conditioned. Although the cost of living in Qatar is substantially higher than the UK, this is factored into your salary and the standard of accommodation, although you pay ‘through the nose’ for it, is very high. Adam’s villa enjoys a roof terrace and communal pool. Adam’s wife has also been extremely happy with the move and, like many of the Western ‘wives’ has managed to find a professional-level job. “Qatar is very accepting and respectful of women and has recognised this group of wives as a valuable talent pool,” she says. Largely site-based, Adam’s work is challenging but he experiences none of the ‘work in the evening and over the weekends’ ethic that is often found in London. Elements of his job are harder; things are less organised and can take longer which is frustrating but again, Adam views this as an acceptable cultural difference. “We have absolutely no regrets about this move, not only from a personal point of view but also for my career development,” says Adam, who is gaining experience on projects that simply aren’t available in the UK. When asked what the future holds, Adam is open-minded: “I imagine my next career move will take place in a couple of years and this could involve a move back to the UK or another country. My job will be the driving force.”

Page 15


Scotland to Norway Indonesian born Zein Wijaya is a 38-year-old Reservoir Engineer who has always wanted to travel the globe in pursuit of new personal and professional experiences. A married father of three, Zein and his family have moved from Indonesia to Norway and then on to Aberdeen in August 2006. Keen to broaden his industry experience and gain exposure to other sectors within his field, Zein was also keen for his family to get involved and embrace Western culture. After three years working for Chevron in Aberdeen, Zein’s position was due to be relocated to Houston Texas, but Zein and his family decided they wanted to stay in Europe so he began to explore alternative career options. A consultant at Hydrogen Group, identified Zein as an ideal candidate with niche, indemand specialist knowledge. “Hydrogen consultants were very helpful and able to answer all of my questions. They also understood what I was looking for straight away and were able to find me several relevant and exciting opportunities in a very short space of time,” says Zein. He considered several different countries including Russia and Japan, but finally identified Hess as the company of choice. It offered everything Zein was looking for including a relocation to Norway, somewhere that he was already familiar with and would consider returning to. First interviews took place in London and behind the scenes Zein and Hydrogen Group worked relentlessly to ensure that visa requirements were met. “Hydrogen was on top of everything and helped both me and my family with our visas.” Now living in Norway and working at Hess, Zein has experienced several challenges, not least the cost of living which has risen since he lived there in 2004. The schooling system posed another challenge; in Aberdeen his five-year-old daughter had begun school and was finding making friends easy as she speaks fluent English. In Norway, children do not begin school until aged six and so she has been put back into a 'nursery' with no formal syllabus which she finds “frustrating and boring”. The language barrier was also an issue. He and his wife had taken a language course when they lived in Norway previously and their older child, once fluent in Norwegian, found herself having to re-learn the language. “My children find the language very fast which is affecting their ability to fit in as quickly as we had hoped, but we’re confident they will get there.” Zein is thoroughly enjoying the position at Hess and can see himself staying for the foreseeable future. He is enhancing his career through the diversity and evolution of his role and is also satisfied to see his family experience new and exciting cultures and lifestyles.

Page 16


Sydney to London Originally from Sydney, Australia, Albert is a 29-year-old Technical Accountant. In February 2008 Albert left his job with KPMG and moved to the UK, stopping en route to spend some time in Canada. Originally hoping to find freelance work within six weeks, after signing up with recruitment agency Hydrogen Group, Albert was actually offered a position at Tesco’s headquarters in Cheshunt within four days of his arrival. Having made the decision to come to the UK just six months earlier, Albert’s main motivation for his move was travel. By freelancing at a variety of different organisations, he has been able to save money to travel between contracts, sometimes for up to six weeks, and so far has travelled extensively throughout Europe, Egypt, Morocco and on the Trans Siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing. “The UK provides a great base to visit Europe, Africa and Asia,” he says. Having arrived in the UK during a cold, wet February, Albert was surprised how much the weather affected him, recalling: “It was such a contrast from Sydney – so depressing and gloomy.” He stayed with a friend for a week before finding his own place in Highbury, North London. Missing his friends, Albert was cheered up when some of them followed him over to the UK a few weeks after, and then after two months, the weather warmed up which also helped to raise his spirits. “I’ve experienced a full UK winter now but, back then, having only just arrived, it was a real shock to the system.” Currently working for the National Grid in Trafalgar Square, Albert is loving working in central London where he can really experience the London ‘vibe’. Although he had originally planned to stay in the UK for no longer than two years, Albert has no intention of leaving just yet. His Highly Skilled Visa will allow him to stay in the country for another year at least and he is keen to carry on completing different freelancing assignments and travelling as much as possible. “I love the flexibility of this life. When I eventually return to Australia, it will be time to settle down so for now, I’m using this experience to see as much of the world as possible and find out what it is I eventually want to be,” he says.

Page 17


Appendix Research Methodology and Demographics

The 2010 Hydrogen Global Professionals on the Move Report is based on the results of a major online survey that ran during December 2009/January 2010 and attracted 3,155 responses from professionals of 76 nationalities working in the sectors of finance, legal, HR, engineering, and technology. The online survey was distributed using business social networking sites, databases from Hydrogen Group, and alumni of ESCP Europe, Warwick and the European engineering institute EEIGM. The survey was conducted by a consultancy project team from ESCP Europe business school and examined the opportunities and motivations of mid- and senior-level professionals to working abroad. The home country of the majority of respondents (46 percent) was the United Kingdom, with the remaining coming from a fairly even spread of countries in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia. The vast majority of respondents (over 65 percent) were mid- and seniorlevel professionals earning in excess of US$76,000 and virtually all held qualifications of a bachelor degree or above. Of the 3,155 respondents, 82 percent were aged over 31. The gender breakdown of the sample was 23.5 percent female and 76.5 percent male.

Income (US$) 2.52%

Less $25,000

6.89%

$25,000 - $50,000

13.11%

$51,000 - $75,000 $76,000 - $100,000

17.99% 12.59%

$101,000 - $125,000

10.31%

$126,000 - $150,000

8.54%

$151,000 - $175,000 6.10%

$176,000 - $200,000

7.01%

$201,000 - $300,000

2.13%

$301,000 - $500,000

0.55%

More than $500,000

12.28%

No comment 0

5

10

15

20

Page 18


Age Younger than 20

11.96%

8.38%

20-25

9.37% 0.08% 2.09%

26-30 31-35

15.82%

14.56%

36-40 41-45 46-50

17.16% 51-55

20.58%

Older than 55

Education 11.14%

30.26%

Bachelor Master

22.87% 1.06%

PhD Apprenticeship

4.21%

Professional qualification MBA

30.46%

Working Experience 9.05% 2-5 years

47.64% 22.34%

5-10 years 10-15 years More than 15 years

20.98%

Reflecting the average work experience expected of professionals in middle and senior management positions, over 90 percent of respondents had five or more years' work experience.

Page 19


Hydrogen Group and ESCP Europe Hydrogen is a global specialist recruitment group which focuses on finding and building relationships with the high-quality specialist candidates that our clients have difficulty sourcing themselves. Hydrogen recruits across the professional disciplines of Finance & Accounting, Business Transformation and Technology, HR, Legal, Oil & Gas and Power. www.hydrogengroup.com

ESCP Europe is the oldest business school in the world, founded in 1819. With five campuses across Europe – London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Turin – the school offers specialised masters programmes, The European Executive MBA, Master in European Business (MEB), and bespoke and open executive education programmes. www.escpeurope.eu

Page 20


Global professionals on the move  

In conjunction with ESCP Europe Business School, Hydrogen Group has recently carried out groundbreaking research into global mobility. Pleas...

Advertisement