What most companies don’t consider when hiring expat staff

With the globalized world we now live in, it’s hardly a surprise that more and more people move countries or regions to find better opportunities for work, study or try a different lifestyle for a while.


Some relatively recent research shows that there were roughly 50.5 million expats globally in 2013, an increase by about 2.4% per year since 2009. That’s a lot of people! The majority of these expats were individual workers (73.6%) with corporate transferees being only 1.0%. Other expats (defined as non-employed spouses and children) made up 12.8% of all expats. If we were to use these stats conservatively it means that at least 505,000 corporates get relocated internationally every year for a specific role.


To drill down further, only 28% of companies have tools in place to measure if the relocation is successful or not. That means that 72% of companies don’t even measure it! Most senior relocations costs a company at least $150,000, but often way more than that. And the return on this huge investment of time and money is only measured by 28% of companies?


These stats don’t even capture all expats. As more and more people move overseas for a part of their life, I can’t help but notice that many companies who end up hiring expat staff, don’t fully understand how a big move impacts a person and their family.


The three biggest issues I see time and time again when talking to expats who have moved internationally:


  • Moving to a new country is much more than just finding a home. If you’re lucky the company will cover shipping of your most important items and furniture, some help to find a new home and maybe your flights as well. This is part of a big move, but certainly not the whole picture.
  • The majority of people who relocate don’t get any support with cultural integration or coaching before, during or after their move. There seems to be an expectation for the individual expat to ‘just deal with it‘. According to Ernst and Young’s study, 50% of the companies participating said they had cultural coaching and support in place. Based on what I hear from my network and clients this is actually very rare.
  • It’s not just about your staff member! Most people relocate with a partner or family. They too have to some extent been uprooted and they won’t be able to get active at work or in social circles straight away. The partner going to work everyday often has to deal with the guilt of ‘dragging the family with them‘ whereas the partner at home often struggles socially and culturally to feel like they belong. If companies provide support for the whole family to some extent, the family will be happier and the employee can focus more on work and worry a lot less about how things are at home. Failed relocations are very costly for everyone involved!

You might feel that “If someone decides to move far away, they must surely be prepared to pay for it, bit financially and emotionally.” Yes, they have to be willing to invest time, money and effort to create change. But this should be matched, if not exceeded, by a smart employer. Imagine how much more the staff member can contribute to their new role if the pain points above are covered!


Relocation support and coaching is a very small cost to pay to help your investment in the person, their family and your own company grow.


Relocation strategist, blogger and speaker, Emmy Petersson is passionate about helping expats to a balanced and happy relocation, regardless where in the world they are moving to and who is coming with them.


Emmy offers individual and corporate relocation mentoring services and you can connect with Emmy here.

Winners of the Swedish Business in Australia Awards 2015

2015 has seen many good achievements and success stories for our member companies and a number of new businesses starting up or entering the Australian market. With these annual awards SACC has over a number of years been highlighting and awarding successful Swedish business achievements in Australia. The Awards are run on a non-profit basis and provide recognition generally for Swedish related business activities in Australia and also for organisations that have helped to grow a positive profile for Swedish business in Australia.

The awards this year were expanded to three categories:

1. To an incumbent company (more than 5 years in Australia) that has had GREAT LONG TERM SUCCESS in terms of gained market share, sales/profit success and raised the Swedish business profile in Australia over a sustained period.

2. To a SUCCESSFUL NEWCOMER to the Australian market (1-5 years of operation in Australia) in terms of gained market share, innovative product, creation of brand awareness and/or positive media attention.

3. EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS ENTERPRISE – open to all Swedish or Swedish-Australian business activities, large or small, newcomer or established. Here we are looking to highlight a big event, significant project, innovative campaign, or new enterprise launch.

The Winners of this year’s Awards were presented at the Chamber’s Annual Christmas Dinner Thursday 3rd of December 2015.



VOLVO TRUCKS AUSTRALIA was established in Australia in 1970, in Wacol, Queensland. We operate in the fields of manufacturing, distribution and maintenance of total transport solutions. Our trucks are designed and engineered in Sweden, manufactured in Wacol, Queensland but adapted and tested by our local design and engineering teams here in Australia for our market conditions. www.volvotrucks.com.au


FLICK ANTICIMEX entered the Australian market in June 2013 and over the last 2 years, we have grown from 300 employees to 870+ employees. In January 2014, we merged with Enviropest and have increased our presence and service reach in various regional areas of NSW, VIC and QLD. Through participation in social and commercial events, local and global conferences and overall community support via sponsorships of charities, we have built a great brand and presence. www.flick-anticimex.com.au


MAGIPICS a unique content provider in the digital industry specialising in animations targeting niche areas. Magipics operate on the border of Science and Art and is a fine representative of the new creative industries that Australia and Sweden will benefit from in the digital age now an in the future. The highest impact of a Magipics animation is one of the recent projects for CAASTRO, the Australian Research Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics. The animation illustrates “plasma tubes”, associated with Earth’s magnetic field lines, recently discovered using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). www.magipics.com.au

Advertise in SWEDELINK

The SWEDELINK newsletter is an invaluable tool for members of SACC to promote their companies, products and services.

The newsletter is distributed to a unique target group of professionals and key stakeholders within the Australian- Swedish trade and business community. The publication is free of charge and the readership includes business executives, directors, managers and other staff. The distribution also covers other Chambers of Commerce in Australia, The Embassy of Sweden, Swedish Consuls, Business Sweden, SACC Young Professionals, journalists and other member organisations.

SWEDELINK is published 4 times a year. It is a digital publication and is available via SACC newsletter email distribution list and as an online publication on SACC website and social media.