If I were an Expat (2/10): Making your mind up

When making the decision of accepting an Expatriation, personal and family matters are taken into account, and they are just as important as the professional arguments. So when we speak of expatriate compensation, we can not think only of monetary remuneration, we need a broader concept.

Total Compensation: This concept emerged in recent years to draw attention to the fact that  remuneration is not only about money (salary, bonus and other benefits,)
as training, career development opportunities , recognition, etc. are very important topics that the Company should care about. If we adapt this concept to the world of Expats, we can distinguish three perspectives when analysing Compensation:
  • Professional: learning and improving skills and competencies, formal and informal training, increasing employability , improving career opportunities , etc. 
  • Family or Personal derived from the experience of the family, including the ability to learn languages ​​(one of the most valued benefits in destination to English Speaking countries is that children learn the language) , the experience of living abroad, etc.
  • Economic: includes both the salary (salary, bonus, allowances related to expatriation, etc.) as economically quantifiable benefits related to the move (house rent, schools, insurance, travel, etc.)
The acceptance or rejection of an Expatriation depends on how they value all these elements, and not just the money, it depends on the Total Compensation.

What is the most common reason for rejecting a Expatriation? According to a recent study*, 96% of expats reject for family reasons.
The most frequent cause is the career of the spouse. According to this study, the three most important criteria for making the decision to are:
  1. Learning and professional experience
  2. Attractive experience
  3. Enthusiasm for the project
In a nutshell, the most relevant factors are linked to the professional side.

The traditional paradigm & evolution: Traditionally, the salary was seen as the compensation for the personal and professional sacrifice that the Expatriation meant, for example:
  • The Expatriation is a sacrifice for my family
  • I will make an effort because the company asked me to do it
  • This movement represents a risk to my career
  • I'll lose the comfort that other colleagues who remain in their country of origin will maintain.
However, this paradigm is changing. An increasingly globalized world affects how professionals approach the international assignments. Against this background, an experience abroad is one of the most desired assets for any employee. The arguments used are transformed into statements like:
  • It's an opportunity for my family
  • It is a boost to my career
  • I will satisfy my desire to travel and work abroad
  • I will improve my employability and my career opportunities within the company
As a nutshell, the professional, personal and family related arguments are gaining weight in the decision to accept a Expatriation, as the experience of working abroad is proving very positive in most cases for the workers and their families.
* Results of the study on expatriation policies in the current economic context prepared by E&Y and IESE in 2013 - http :/ / www.iese.edu/research/pdfs/ESTUDIO-293.pdf