The decision to relocate is not easy and you have to weigh the prospects that an opportunity provides, against the disruption that it could cause in your life. But if you do make the jump, moving abroad for work can be a fantastic experience, offering you the unique challenge of living and working within a new culture and environment.
Factors to Consider
Career Goals and Opportunities
Relocation is almost always viewed positively from a professional perspective, as you will be regarded as an internationally-minded candidate who is flexible and prepared to adapt and develop to a senior level. Moreover, it could lead to additional responsibilities, which would further accelerate career growth.
Large corporations usually prefer candidates who have good international experience for senior roles, particularly as companies become more global. But even if a senior role isn’t in your sights just yet, you can greatly enhance your capabilities for any career move by learning from different cultures and how things are done around the world.
Culture, Location and Environment
Consider work permits, language requirements, cultural fit and whether you are able to communicate at a social level. Whilst this may be obvious, it is very different visiting a location as a tourist to living and working there on a day-to-day basis. Will the work environment help or hinder your career? Will you enjoy your social life outside work? Both these points need to be positive for you to excel in this new working environment.
The offered salary and benefits package should be an important consideration in your decision to relocate. Most companies will consider the cost of living in the local market, as well as your existing package, before making an offer. Depending on where you move, you might even get a “hardship allowance”. The cost of living, local job market, tax regime and other factors will all determine how much of your salary you can actually save. Currency fluctuations should also be considered.
When evaluating compensation, first of all, determine your current net salary as compared to the net salary (after factoring in taxation differences) in the new location. You will then need to consider the additional compensation benefits such as bonuses, car allowances, pensions and private medical insurance to make a direct comparison. Once you have compared the packages you will now need to evaluate differences in cost of living, housing and other expenses.
Housing, consumables, travel, insurance and schooling are the key expenses to consider. These vary greatly and will have a significant impact on your living standard. Whilst these are local expenses, in relocating, you also need to evaluate such costs as housing foreclosure and moving. Some companies will offer some form of relocation assistance for international candidates. This would typically be disclosed when the company extends an offer.
Family is naturally a key consideration in any country relocation decision. Living away from family or relocating together needs careful planning, especially if you have to learn a new language or face a significant cultural change. Issues to think about include finding a suitable job for your spouse, schooling for kids, the quality of the local healthcare system and the impact that such a change might have on your lives together.
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