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How popular are overseas returnees to employers?

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Polling over 2000 working professionals across Asia from January to March, recent research has revealed that 82% of employers in the region are willing to hire an overseas returnee in the next seven months, and 73% of them considered a repatriated talent a good fit for mid-level roles.

In the preceding year, half of the interviewed employers hired at least one returnee, and overall, employers were satisfied with their performance.

The top three most alluring aspects of these candidates were their cross-cultural awareness (72%), language and communication skills (68%), and their abilities to provide different perspectives on business (64%). Nevertheless, employers had a reserved attitude about their lack of local work experience (43%). Nearly half (44%) of employers offered them the same salary package as local talent.

It’s not surprising that the top recruitment challenge recruiters or employers encountered was a mismatch in expectations of the offer packages (61%). LinkedIn (60%), recruitment agencies (57%), and internal recruitment function (50%) were the most common way for organisations to reach out to these overseas candidates.

Hong Kong
Close to seven in ten former repatriates in Hong Kong held a bachelor’s degree, while a quarter had a master’s degree. Apart from their language skills and international acumen, their overseas commercial experience was highly valued by more than half of the Hong Kong employers (55%).

Only four per cent of the employers were unsatisfied by the work performance of their current local returnee workers. In fact, more than half said they are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied”.

Almost nine in ten employers said they are willing to hire a returnee in the next seven months. When asked about the level of seniority at which they would consider hiring or have hired, a large majority (76 per cent) said “mid-level”, while 54% said “junior / entry level” and 43% said “senior / management level”.

Hong Kong returnees were the most demanding across Asia in terms of salary. Three in five of potential returnees said they expected a salary increase from what they were earning overseas. However, the majority of employers were only willing to pay overseas returnees the same salary package as they did for local talent.

Employers in Hong Kong were the least willing to pay a premium salary for overseas returnees. Those who did offer a premium salary to overseas returnees with suitable experience considered an 11 to 25% raise on top of the standard salary as reasonable.

Singapore
Two thirds of respondents in Singapore held a bachelor’s degree, while a quarter held a master’s degree. The majority of employers were eager to hire an overseas returnee in the next seven months, of which 75% were willing to hire mid-level professionals.

There was an obvious mismatch in the platforms used to advertise (by employers) and search for jobs (by returnees). Only two in five (37%) of the candidates were applying through a recruiter, while many returnees (32%) used search engines such as Google or Yahoo to seek job openings.

Less than half (45%) were content earning a salary equivalent to what they were remunerated abroad. Similarly, 46% of employers said would pay the same package as they do for local talent.

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