The expat returns from the Lion city

Since I returned to Australia from Singapore recently, many people have asked me about the Asian job market and how I feel it compares to those in Australia and New Zealand. My story ignited a curious streak in them and they asked me about things like the types of jobs available and the trends that are happening there. They especially wanted to know what attracts people to move overseas for work and why some people decide to come home after a few years.

The lure of the global job market

It’s easy to form a picture of the growing number of Australians and New Zealanders moving into the global job market just by skimming through LinkedIn pages. We look proudly on the profiles of our fellow countrymen and countrywomen and see the happiness, success, wealth and opportunities they have gained through amazing companies in many industries.

Many have found new loves and are starting families in a friendly expatriate community of interesting and exciting people. As an ‘expat’ you are well supported by other expatriates and work colleagues.

Expat families tend to form strong bonds with each other based on education, health, food and other cultural experiences. Of course, everyone is always travelling so it’s easy to get conversations going with comments like, “How was France?”, “Wasn’t Denver cold?” or “Russia was amazing!”

Many Aussies and Kiwis then go to Asia as part of their global journey. (The Middle East, North, South East or Greater Asia.

And sometimes, after a quick visit home, the warmth and friendliness of their place of birth drives a burning desire to return home for good. Many that I’ve met start to consider this as a possibility.

So, with all the wonders of the world to see, more balanced lives, more challenging careers and happy families, why come home at all? What’s the issue?

Why move back home?

Surely, like so many others around the world, the expats will prefer to stay with their new community? The Serbian’s in Chicago, Irish in New York, South Africans in Dubai and so on.

What about the Aussies and Kiwis? Many choose to come home…to the place they believe is the greatest on earth, drawn back to the friends and family, education opportunities and hospitality they know so well and love so much. For them, coming home is like the best holiday they’ve ever had and they want more of it.

Like the rest of the world, Australia’s economy is changing and becoming more exciting - especially in areas like retail, media, hospitality and consumer goods. There are more opportunities available now but they can be harder to find as larger companies open, close and restructure and smaller ones venture into new channels. Then there is the challenge of finding private equity positions or hard to come by board positions. These can really get your career moving!

So, why do some people stay and others go?

These are the insights I’ve shared.

I see careers (and perhaps life in general -  but that’s a little deep) as being like a dartboard. (Well, that is my way to describe it!)

·      When you hit the outer ring, you’re a bit off target. This ring represents the vague possibilities out there for you. For example, a friend might suggest opening a pizza place in Indonesia (and a big hi to Robert…an amazing entrepreneur!) The idea gets you briefly interested but not enough to inspire you to focus on it. You stay where you are!

·      The inner ring is where the idea of change becomes more exciting. You’ve got a nice life with your family, home and work now, though. So, you see a recruiter, look at job boards, rediscover your network and get really into a ‘finding my best role ever’ mindset. Perhaps you do move…perhaps you don’t. But, whatever happens, you learn more about yourself and where to find help in the process.

·      Hitting the bulls-eye is the spark that inspires you to make the big move! You know exactly where you want to go and what you want to do there. If you reach this stage, seek out the companies that may want to hire you, not just those you want to work for. Also, find a trusted partner or search consultant for another viewpoint and to help you network in your chosen country. It’s much more professional for a third party to represent you when you can’t be there yourself and it’s a genuine payoff for all involved.

This analogy works both ways. It describes the Aussies and Kiwis who dream of working overseas. Those who are motivated and focused do get there. It also describes those who have made the move but then consider coming home for good. If they have a strong enough reason to return, then that becomes the bulls-eye they focus on.

I hope this helps you unlock some of the mystery of going and coming back. There are very big bounties to be gained from moving overseas on so many levels; travel, career growth, personal growth and an overall sense of excitement and variety, but the lure of home is very strong and – if you want it badly enough - it will guide you home in time.

If you have enjoyed the themes and shared experience in this article you can let the team know at Carmichael Fisher:

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