Moving abroad with your career can be an exciting prospect.
I arrived back in the UK in 2014 following a fantastic 3 years as MD of a search firm in Australia and you will be hard pushed to find a bigger advocate of overseas working than me.
The breadth of both personal and professional development opportunities that come from living and working abroad are phenomenal – but there are potential hiccups to be aware of too.
The transient nature of talent and global talent shortage in leaders will mean that if you are a strong leader, your skills will be in demand and international opportunities (both internal and external) will be heading your way.
Using both my personal experiences and experience of placing and relocating numerous leaders I have collated the following tips to help you during your evaluation process:
Rigorously explore the executive sponsorship
The most common reason for leaders feeling like they have made a bad move is that post starting a new role it becomes clear that they don’t have sponsorship from the company executives. This often leaves you hamstrung with no funding, headcount or ability to drive change.
Don’t just get seduced by the thought of sandy beaches!
Rigorously ask yourself the following:
• Have main board executives been heavily involved in your recruitment process?
• Have you got intent of funding/budget documented as part of a confirmed job offer?
• Have you got a clear and accurate job description?
• Do you have all of the facts in terms of the history of the organisation?
• Does the board have an appetite for transformation?
Know your Visa restrictions
Some visas only cover the sponsored individual to work - not your partner or spouse. This can be a source of frustration for other halves who can find themselves far away from home without the ability to continue their career or build a professional network.
Get the package correct
Obvious right? Not always as fluctuating exchange rates, local cost of living and market rates are often not fully accessible to overseas applicants who sell themselves short – I saw this time and again with the strong dollar in Australia. Research, research and research again and talk to people outside of the recruitment process.
Another good tip is to try and negotiate the services of a relocation agent into the package as part of the move – these guys are worth their weight in gold and set you and your family up for a flying start.
Understand the supplier market dynamics
We are spoilt with the depth of suppliers in the majority of category markets in Europe – this is not the case in every region in the world. Understanding the number of monopolistic and oligopolistic scenarios you are walking into will be key in managing expectations in terms of what success could look like in the role.
Make sure you are well connected to home
Set yourself up for success before you go. Join social networks as a quick way to share updates and photo’s with groups of people and invest in the best broadband possible. Teach parents and grandparents how to Skype/Facetime and buy them iPads for Christmas.
Don’t expect the company culture overseas to be the same as in the UK
As I quickly found out company cultures can differ immensely between different regions – particularly when you work for a company historically grown through acquisition. Converse with someone you know through common connections (or Linked In) from your home country who is working in the new country for the proposing organisation and research the culture as much as possible to make sure it is a fit.
Ready to start your job search and relocate? Head over to the courses section now and get started.