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Male expats eye career development, while females seek personal enrichment

PUBLISHED: 12 March 2018 | LAST UPDATED: 16 June 2023

New research from AXA – Global Healthcare, has revealed that over half (51 per cent) of male expats feel that their time abroad has accelerated their career development, as opposed to 39 per cent of women. 

The AXA World of Work Report also showed that 43 per cent of men felt their international assignments have enabled them to become regional experts and increased their professional value to future and current employers, in contrast to just 36 per cent of women.

However, the research also revealed that women are more likely to continue living abroad after completing their assignment.

Jerome Itty, a French expat who has lived in Hong Kong with his family for a year, commented: “I joined a global company that would allow me to work overseas and Hong Kong was the perfect option. It offered strong career opportunities but was also a welcoming environment for my family. We may consider living in another country; I would like to experience London, the United States or perhaps another part of Asia. However, it all depends on whether the right job opportunity arises.”

While men are focused on their career prospects, the data suggests that women taking international assignments are motivated by the possibility of pursuing adventure, as well as new working opportunities, in their lives abroad.

After completing their assignments, over a third (37 per cent) of the women surveyed decided to permanently move to another country and make it their home, as opposed to fewer than a quarter (23 per cent) of men. Additionally, more than half (56 per cent) of women said that they would continue working in the country they are currently in, as opposed to 47 per cent of men.

Marjolein Fruithof, a Dutch expat who has lived in Dubai for five years, commented: “Since spending a year abroad between high school and university, I’ve always enjoyed travelling. I lived in Belgium before moving to Dubai and I’m confident that I will live in at least one more country before I think about moving somewhere a little closer to home. I know that my experience of being abroad has helped my career, but it’s definitely a sense of adventure and a desire to experience different cultures that is motivating me.”  

Tom Wilkinson, CEO of AXA - Global Healthcare, commented: “People choose international assignments for so many different reasons; some relocate to develop their careers while others want to experience life in different parts of the world. Whatever the reasons, I strongly encourage anyone living abroad to embrace all of the available opportunities; work and lifestyle alike. I was lucky enough to live and work abroad, and it enriched both my personal and professional development.”