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Expatriate Well-Being Survey

July 14 2022 - Most expats suffer from burnout and stress. They are reevaluating their lives and work priorities for more flexibility or get closer to family and friends. These are some of the conclusions drawn from of a recent Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey.

The recent report, Burned Out Overseas - The State of Expat Life 2022, found respondents reporting:

  • Stress - 90% of expats were stressed
  • Burnout - 98% had experienced symptoms of burnout, probably because they felt unable to switch off from work
  • Isolation - 87% felt helpless, trapped or defeated with 86% feeling detached or alone
  • Uncertainty - 38% were concerned about finances, lifestyle, opportunity and work culture factors

About three-quarters (73%) of current expats and people planning to move overseas (75%> in the following two years had hought more about life priorities since the COVID pandemic. Lifestyle concerns have replaced financial reward as the top priority for prospective expats.

Jason Sadler, President, Cigna International Markets, said:

"Employers face a real challenge in meeting this lifestyle shift and rethinking the expat value proposition. Employers may face huge challenges in filling overseas assignments in the future. The exciting, rewarding, globally mobile lifestyle that used to sum-up the 'expat dream' has changed and more people are now prioritizing lifestyle, family and friends when planning moves."

Healthcare and work-life balance have also become priorities:

  • 23% of existing expats were considering moving to locations with better healthcare
  • More than a quarter of prospective expats felt that flexible hours were critical
  • 16% of that group said they wanted to be able to work from any location in the world

Canada was the top destination (11%) of choice for existing expats, with Australia and the US tying in second place. Most expats living in Europe and Australia were confident they would remain, but only 5% of those in India and 16% of those in Mainland China said the same. Not surprisingly older employees were least likely to want be overseas (13% of over 50s) compared to younger people - 37% of those aged 18-24, and 34% of those aged 25-34.

Jason Sadler added:

"From now on, it's likely that organizations will need to reevaluate how they structure expat assignments. Personal and family needs are now at the forefront of decision-making, and this may impact the benefits expats prioritize when selecting roles,"

Looking to the future, Dr. Stella George, Chief Medical Officer, Cigna International Markets, said that the expat age demographic will probably change.

"The past couple of years during the pandemic have been especially challenging for existing and long-term expats. So, while many will be moving closer to home, many ambitious younger professionals will also start taking advantage of the opportunities that overseas postings offer, such as quick promotion, flexible working and other incentives. These benefits are especially attractive to people earlier in their careers."

International Employment Articles

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Expatriate Well-Being Survey
Important Things To Consider When Internationalising Your Business
Tips on Managing Ex-pat Employees Working Abroad

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