Expatriate assignments aren’t for everyone—they require quite a bit of adaptability, flexibility, cultural awareness, and independence. Not only are expats lives in upheaval as they settle themselves and, possibly, their families in a new country, but often they have committed to achieving certain critical goals of the organization; after all, the company is investing in their relocation for a specific business reason.
Employees with a specialized skill set, whether technical or professional are difficult to find and recruit, behooving the proactive organization to invest special effort in retaining expat workers. The Kenexa Research Institute’s annual survey of a random sample of 1,000 workers in 14 different countries showed that, in 2008, 29% of expats thought often about looking for a new job. This percentage is just slightly lower than non-expats, 32% of whom often thought about leaving. In other words, just under a third of the expat workforce in these countries is ready to jump ship.