It appears signs may be pointing to the lure of the expat dream being over, in its current form that is. The effects of the pandemic, economic shifts, hefty relocation fees and increased protectionist policies have resulted in a precipitous increase in expats repatriating.¹ In Australia alone, more than 400,000 Australians and permanent residents have returned home since the start of the pandemic.² That is a lot of talent.
There was always the safety net for expats knowing they were at most 24 hours away from home by plane, but this is no longer the case. With mobility becoming a priceless jewel, the adage of ‘live local, act global’ has never been truer and the value of being fully activated professionally online has become the diamond amongst the rough.
With mobility becoming a priceless jewel, the adage of ‘live local, act global’ has never been truer and the value of being fully activated professionally online has become the diamond amongst the rough.
On returning home after living and working abroad, expats are facing new challenges in restarting or continuing their professional careers. Building a local network whilst maintaining a global network to remain current is one thing, demonstrating the value of international expertise and insights gained overseas is a whole other level. Sounds exhausting. Leveraged the right way, it does not have to be!
Expats have an advantage most of us only hope to achieve, a global mindset. No matter the country of expatriation, business professionals moving home offer cultural and economic climate knowledge that cannot be learned otherwise. Empathy, emotional intelligence, risk-taking and confidence, to name a few, come hand-in-hand with those who travel the world. From my experience and research, these are some of the most ideal and desired skillsets for businesses to have as part of their Advisory Board, especially for those entering the international market.
Let’s look at one example: professional network for expatriates, Advance, has a mission to inspire and support international career paths – ‘born global’ is their tagline. By providing a bridge to enable skills and knowledge acquired overseas to be leveraged back home, Advance is just one of many organisations worldwide that provides the perfect stepping-stone for expats to translate their experience abroad as they re-enter the local workforce. Born global, indeed.
In an article by the Australian Financial Review, author Sally Patten interviewed Yasmin Allen, chairman of Advance, on expats returning to the local workforce. “A lot of people who go overseas are entrepreneurial. That’s exactly what we want in [a local market]. They are risk-takers and companies have to take some risks so they can grow. And if they are local, they understand the culture. So you get the best of their overseas experience and ideas and ways of doing business, and they can bring that back in the [local business] context,” Allen says.³
With multicultural values, practices, and norms in viewing the world, businesses can develop a more complex and sophisticated view of the issues they are facing. Leveraging this mindset in the structure of an Advisory Board, fresh ideas and perspectives from around the world can be utilised to formulate initiatives and solutions for success at home and overseas. Businesses must take advantage of this unique point in time and harness the opportunity to have a global mindset as part of their local think tank.
Citizens of the world sitting on your Advisory Board? That’s the jewel in the crown of expert advice.
¹ Advisory Board Centre 2021, State of the Market Global Report 2021, viewed 21 June 2021.
² Payne, M (Minister for Foreign Affairs) 2020, ‘More flights helping Australians return‘, media release, 16 October 2020, viewed 21 June 2021.
³ Patten, S 2020, ‘COVID-19 trigger for expats to come home,’ The Australian Financial Review, 6 November 2020.