Students and young professionals in the US and UK expect to live and work abroad at some point in their career. This expectation was uncovered in a survey, conducted by international relocation specialist MOVE Guides, as part of a wider report into Gen Y and global mobility.

The report highlights a growing recognition of international relocation as a rite of passage amongst Gen Y workers, for whom cross-cultural experience and career development are a priority. Indeed, 93 per cent of professionals surveyed in the UK and abroad expect to live and work overseas at some point in their career and 85 per cent of those surveyed would consider moving to a new country for a job opportunity without having previously visited it.

According to Brynne Herbert, MOVE Guides CEO and founder, the desire for overseas experience will become more pronounced as companies continue to expand into emerging markets:

“Cross-border business opportunities are increasingly important for younger staff at multinational firms. Ambitious Gen Y employees want to experience these new markets and gaining global experience is becoming more important than financial reward. Those companies not meeting the needs of this generation will find themselves struggling to recruit the brightest and best that the global talent pool has to offer.”

The report highlights the growing expectation to live and work overseas as part of a wider trend of employees progressively viewing themselves as ‘consumers’ who seek autonomy, transparency and choice in their career paths. Members of Gen Y, who are predicted to make up 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025, are the first to have grown up with international travel, mobile technology and internet connectivity as the norm, and increasingly expect employers to offer them the experiences and technologies that they are accustomed to in their personal lives.

“Gen Y’ers are becoming increasingly savvy, both in terms of the technology they use and what they expect from their employers. The internet has altered the way they find information, make purchase decisions and communicate with others”, comments Herbert. “This is a generation used to shopping around for the best deal – and this extends to the employment world. If companies want to attract the right talent, they must adapt quickly.”

In global relocation terms, this means HR departments will see an increasing need to innovate to support international assignments and relocation. According to Herbert, as the gap closes between enterprise and consumer technology, employees will expect the same sleek technology and convenience when, for instance, they book a holiday or other service online, from their employers.

Herbert concludes: “Organisations that offer Gen Y new technologies for international relocation will position themselves as progressive and innovative, and ultimately win the fight to obtain and retain the best global talent.”


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