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Friday 30 May 2014

Joint report by Hydrogen Group & MEB (Master in European Business) students at ESCP Europe reveals number of executives willing to move abroad doubles during global recession

The fifth Global Professionals on the Move Report produced by leading global recruitment company Hydrogen Group and MEB (Master in European Business) students at ESCP Europe Business School in London, found that the number of people willing to work abroad has more than doubled over the last five years as the global recession has led to a fundamental change in attitude among executives from a broad range of levels.

More than a third (35%), of those in the survey, would be willing to work abroad compared to 16% five years ago, and 40% of global professionals now believe that there are no barriers to moving abroad.

As in previous years, English-speaking countries and cities remained the top choice for candidates; but while the US led the list of preferred countries, London was selected over New York as the top choice for relocation. The research also showed that the qualifications of those choosing to work abroad have shifted considerably over the last five years, with fewer executives having MBAs or other postgraduate qualifications.

The change has impacted the relative levels of those moving abroad with many more being in the professional or employee position rather than director or senior manager position.

Key findings:

  • Over the last five years, the percentage of people who would be willing to work abroad has risen dramatically, more than doubling from 16% to 35%.

  • The desire to work abroad reflects a radical shift in perceptions by global professionals. 40% of those working abroad said there were no barriers to moving abroad, compared to 2010 when all those surveyed felt there were some barriers to moving abroad to work.

  • London tops the tables in terms of cities to work in with twice as many respondents or 14% choosing the UK’s capital as their city to relocate to over New York, favoured by 7%.

  • The US remained the most favoured country with the UK fast closing the gap.

  • Only 18% said they found their job abroad through an advert, compared to 30% in 2010, a reflection of the increasing role played by global recruitment firms.

  • The mix of people working abroad has also changed as only 17% of people working abroad in 2014 have a professional qualification over and above a degree compared to 30% in 2010, highlighting that global mobility is no longer confined to an elite group of globe-trotting professionals.

  • There has been an increasing recognition that working abroad adds to executive career prospects with a quarter of those questioned in 2014 saying that international work experience had improved their career prospects compared to 17% in 2010.

  • The experience of working abroad also appears to have improved significantly over the five year period with close to half (48%) of those surveyed saying they were likely to move on to a new country rather than return home – this figure compares to 38% five years ago.

  • 24% of those abroad said that insufficient job opportunities were a barrier to relocating, compared to 44% in 2010.

  • Families are no longer an obstacle to relocation, with only 24% per cent this time citing family reasons as an impediment to relocation compared to 40% per cent five years ago, a drop of 16 per cent.

  • Nearly three quarters of respondents (71%) in 2014 said their employer valued international experience, compared to 63% in 2010.

  • 98% of people, now and in 2010, would recommend working abroad to others

Tim Smeaton, Hydrogen Group CEO, said: "The findings of this report, which track five years of global workforce patterns, show that we now have a worldwide talent pool to draw candidates from. Geographic and cultural boundaries as an impediment to hiring have dropped away during the recession as candidates and companies alike have come to understand that they need to consider a global market.

"As we emerge from the recession, the war for global talent will only intensify and clients will need to think clearly about how they will attract the best talent."

Edouard Husson, Dean of ESCP Europe said: "International mobility is in the DNA of our students, alumni and even our professors. With campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Torino, as well as over a hundred partnerships beyond Europe, our relationship with Hydrogen Group on this report is a natural fit. Offering our students the chance to work on company consultancy projects like this brings them practical experience and the soft skills they can only gain outside the classroom."

The report was compiled with help from MEB (Master in European Business) students at ESCP Europe, a leading European business school, whose global network of students and alumni participated in the survey.  Results are based on interviews with 2,444 individuals, spanning a wide range of industries from across nearly 100 countries. 

Please use the following link to access the report: and follow news on Twitter under #GPM2014

With thanks to the ESCP Europe project team who conducted the survey & analysed the results:
Project Tutor: Alev Kilic
Master in European Business (MEB) students: Riccardo Di Grigoli, Florian Neu, Eva Surowiecki, Robin Villar & Jeremy Wauters

For more information
Shireen Fraser, Head of Public Relations, UK
Tel: +44 20 7443 8833

About ESCP Europe
Established in 1819, ESCP Europe is the world's first business school, educating generations of leaders, thinkers, and entrepreneurs.  With 5 campuses in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Torino, ESCP Europe offers a unique style of cross-border, multi-cultural business education, combined with a global perspective on international management issues.

ESCP Europe is ranked consistently highly in the Financial Times and was shortlisted in the Times Higher Education Awards 2013. It is one of the few institutions with triple accreditation (EQUIS, AMBA, AACSB), welcoming 4,000 students and 5,000 executives from 90 countries a year on a wide range of general management and specialised programmes.

The data for this report was compiled by Master in European Business (MEB) students.

About Hydrogen Group
Hydrogen Group is a global recruiter solving the talent shortages of some of the world's leading organisations. We make it our business to understand our clients and their markets, advising them on their resourcing needs, whether for a highly specialised role or to meet large scale requirements arising from a project within their business.

Hydrogen's success is built on the ability of our consultants to find experienced, high quality professionals no matter where they are in the world. We form lasting relationships with our candidates, having a positive impact throughout their career.

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