At this event held in Sydney on 15th June 2015, moderated by Narelle Hooper, a panel of Asia-based returnees including Doug Ferguson from KPMG, Cath Carver from ANZ, Jason Elli from Blue Scope Steel and Pamela Young from Growthcurv, drew on their own experiences in discussing the challenges of returning home.
An interesting insight was the feeling that the experiences and expertise gained from working overseas was not valued. Little thought had been given to their next role for continued progression and career growth, resulting in up to 40 per cent of expatriates leave their companies within two years of repatriation compared to just 10 per cent of local employees.
Some companies provide cultural training to employees heading overseas, but the challenges of moving back are often overlooked. In terms of recruitment, job briefs rarely include overseas experience or language capabilities, so skills expats have gained whilst living and working abroad do not seem to be sought after.
Whilst many expats enjoy the lifestyle aspects, particularly the cost effective home help and support in caring for children, they have often missed important family and life celebrations.
Personal reasons for returning home include children starting secondary schooling, or supporting aging parents. They are surprised it can take some time to settle back into the Aussie way of life, in some cases up to a couple of years.
Like the decision to become and expat, preparing for return should ideally be done well ahead of time.
Seizing the benefits
Australian firms can become more Asia-literate and better equipped to do business in the region by tapping into the regional knowledge, experiences and capabilities of retuning expatriates of back into the Australian business context.
The Advance Global Perspectives Series were held in partnership with Asialink Business, KPMG Australia and AICD. For a summary of the event go to the Advance website.