Asian Countries Continue Fight to Retain 'Return Homers'

The number of people willing to work abroad has doubled over five years (16% in 2010 to 35% in 2014), and 40% believe that there are no barriers to moving abroad, according to the fifth Global Professionals on the Move Report from Hydrogen Group, a  global recruitment company.

In key Asian markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, governments have tightened controls in job markets to favor home-grown talent rather than overseas executives - this favors the "return homers" - those returning home after an international opportunity. Companies and countries are recognizing the value of this hybrid solution to talent shortages, looking to retain these nationals with international experience to help develop local economies and stem the over-reliance on expatriates.

The study reveals that Singapore remains the top destination in Asia to relocate to, followed by Hong Kong and Mainland China. The percentage of people who want to work abroad has more than doubled from 16% (2010) to 35% (2014 27% surveyed were 'return homers', 34% of Asian return homers were female, and 82% were aged between 31 and 50. 

Forty-percent working abroad said there were no barriers to moving abroad, compared to 0% in 2010. The study also found that only 17% of people working abroad in 2014 have a professional qualification over and above a degree compared to 30% in 2010. Nearly (98%) all of Asian respondents would work abroad again. Close to half (48%) of respondents were likely to move on to a new country rather than return home - this figure compared to 38% five years ago.

"The return homers are of particular interest in Asia, where countries are legislating to ensure their local talent is developed, retained and attracted back," says Simon Walker, Hydrogen Group COO, APAC.

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