The expatriation, skills booster

What is the impact of expatriation on skills development ?
This 5th survey of the expatriation barometer highlights the role of mobility in the development of professional and personal skills

From a personal point of view, the results are largely positive for expatriates, both spouses and employees. The two major skills required to succeed in expatriation are adaptation and open-mindedness. This consensus is evident in the results obtained, as these two key words are cited as indispensable skills by 78% of respondents.

Adaptation or adaptability is essential 

It is as much about knowing how to adapt to a new environment, a new culture, as it is about knowing how to adapt to new work or organizational methods.  

Open-mindedness is seen as a "sine qua non" condition. It seems impossible to expatriate and benefit from it without having an open mind. Leave with "children's eyes" so as not to judge but to learn and discover. 

From a professional point of view, the results are more contrasted  

Expatriation is an asset on the job market for 47% of expatriates surveyed. Is this expertise acquired in the field also recognized as such by HR ? Not according to 29% of expatriates. For them, this expatriation experience is more of a hindrance to entering or returning to the job market after this experience. 

What are the means to develop these skills ?

The supports are varied and in this survey, it appears that on-the-job training is strongly favored. However, it is based on the foundations acquired before and during the expatriation.  

Access to more formal training is facilitated by the online system, but certain obstacles remain: cost, non-recognition of diplomas and the fact that internal training is not covered for company expatriates.

The development of technical skills is not easy for everyone. Many consider that they are sent as experts, therefore as knowledge providers. They do not develop this knowledge during their expatriation, but rather share it with local teams.  

However, they feel that their specialist status is an asset for the pursuit of their professional career: they are recognized as such on the local market or when changing countries (new market or home country). They develop more strategic, managerial or intercultural skills.  

For spouses, expatriation is not a positive experience in terms of developing their professional skills. Even if they acquire new skills, these are not necessarily recognized when they are transferred or return to their country of origin.  

Nevertheless, for 95% of respondents, expatriation facilitates the development of skills. This particularly high score demonstrates that expatriates learn a great deal about their personal and professional skills.  

 This learning process is often the result of preparation prior to the move. What support do expatriates need before, during and after their expatriation ? 

  • We will address this topic in our 7th survey in September. The barometer takes a break in August


Board members

Details of the surveys are reserved for the members of the Expatriation Barometer Board. For more information, please contact us.


Sabine Garnier-Posez

After her studies and a professional career in economics and accounting, Sabine moved with her family, first to Morocco, Brazil, Germany and now in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Sabine is part of Expat Communication as Project Manager of the Expatriation Barometer.


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