- Cigna International survey shows over a third of expats (37%) more likely to relocate to home country but nearly quarter (23%) of locals have expressed desire to relocate overseas
- Expat workforce have expressed worries around family finances (30%), lack of job opportunities (24%) and education (16%)
- Greater Whole Health support will be crucial to support the changing needs of expat workforce in the future
London, 1 December 2021 – Over a third of the expat workforce (37%) are more likely to relocate to their home country, according to a new report from the Cigna 360 Well-Being survey which spoke to more than 18,000 people from around the world. However, despite the homeward drift from those who live overseas, and the post-Brexit implications for millions, COVID-19 has done little to dampen the aspirational nature of the expat lifestyle.
The appetite to experience life overseas has increased, with nearly a quarter (23%) of people currently based in their home country expressing a desire to relocate. 35% of local employees have cited better job opportunities and career paths as their top reason, with other key motivators including the desire to broaden cultural experiences (35%) as well as learn new skills (27%).
The survey also found that while expats reported higher well-being scores than local employees, HR and business leaders need to prioritise adequate Whole Health support systems for the expat workforce amid pandemic fatigue and uncertainty about the future. 89% say they are suffering from stress compared to 81% of locals – with family finances (30%), lack of job opportunities (24%) and education (16%) topping the list of concerns.
Of the working expats surveyed who have been living abroad for 1-2 years, only 47% are confident that they can maintain their current standard of living and less than half (44%) say they have enough financial security to support their families in case of emergencies.
Almost a third (30%) of all expats thinking about relocating back home cite future finances as one of their top concerns. Despite this, close to half (45%) of expats have reported high resilience compared to 37% of local employees living in their home countries.
Arjan Toor, CEO at Cigna Europe, said: “The global expat workforce has been integral in helping businesses around the world unlock new opportunities. As these individuals continue to face challenges such as travel restrictions and financial worries, it is critical that organisations provide the necessary support for expat employees as they adjust to their new work and home life. Whether it is helping inexperienced expat professionals settle into a new country or providing longer tenure expats with ongoing support to manage stress, supporting their whole health should be a key priority as we usher in different ways of living and working.”
The report also reveals more than half (57%) of expats are keen for holistic support from their employer to help manage stress and work-life balance, with 56% seeking more mental health support – yet only 30% receive it.
Robin Lewis, HR Director, Cigna Europe added: “COVID-19 has profound implications for how HR and business leaders should look at talent management strategies to attract and retain a globally representative workforce. As expat professionals increasingly look to employers to help adjust to their new work and home life, businesses that will remain competitive in the long-term are the ones that go above and beyond to provide expat talent with support systems that help manage their overall stress and concerns.”
Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey: A Guide for HR Managers: Combating Stress Amongst Your Expat Workforce is developed specially for business and HR leaders to offers insights into the drivers and changing preferences for the expat workforce, looking at how they have fared and providing insights for talent managers and business leaders on how to better support expat employees.
Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey: Expat Guide to Managing Health and Well-being is designed as a guide for expats, looking at the impact of COVID-19 on well-being scores for different groups of expats based on their tenure and duration of stay as the global pandemic progressed. The report also uncovers the different pain points experienced by expats and offer suggestions to address these challenges.