According to Hays, about 85% of employers in Singapore say that they are willing to hire overseas returnees in the coming years. Also, 90% of employers recommend to their peers that they should employ overseas returnees. Why such a high number, and what can you expect when you hire one for your company?
Table of Contents
- What is an Overseas returnee?
- Benefits of hiring overseas returnees
- Issues with overseas returnee work pool
- Why do the returnees return
- Getting the right match
WHAT IS AN OVERSEAS RETURNEE?If a Singaporean who lived and studied abroad, then decides to return to Singapore and stay for good, that person can be considered as an overseas returnee. Some overseas returnees are children whose parents in Singapore sent them overseas to study abroad. As international students, they are exposed to different levels of education and cultural awareness compared to their Singaporean counterparts. Someone is also considered as an overseas returnee if he or she has worked outside of Singapore for several years. The person may have been assigned by their company to work in an international division. However, some were lucky and bold enough to look for a job overseas and successfully gain employment. According to Hays, about 86% of Singaporeans show interest in extending their job search overseas. Due to the economic decline of superpowers such as the US, UK, and Australia, Singaporeans realize that better opportunities now await them at home. As a result, there are more overseas returnees compared to the past years. This influx is seen as an opportunity by companies to improve their capabilities and business functions.
BENEFITS OF HIRING OVERSEAS RETURNEES
Many employers find great success in hiring overseas returnees, and many of them have got a good experience in working with their returnee. There are many reasons behind the benefits of getting a skilled worker who has worked or studied aboard and will be a company’s advantage. Both returnees and employers have the same views on the benefits that local experience of the former can bring to the table.
REALISTIC SALARY EXPECTATIONS
Unlike overseas returnees in China, Singaporean returnees have realistic salary expectations. Although they do have excellent skillsets, Singaporean overseas returnees are least expectant, followed closely by mainland China.
Although about 45% of returnees are open to having the same salary as they have while they are employed overseas, only about 34% are expecting an equivalent pay. This is much higher compared to those who are returnees from Hong Kong, with about 61% are looking for a higher salary. As for Singaporean returnees, only 32% are looking for higher pay.
The remuneration package is competitive. There are employers who are willing to pay returnees with premium salaries that will match the returnee skillset. Based on the report, about 44% of employers are willing to pay overseas returnees higher salary packages, as compared to their local peers. 28%, on the other hand, are more than willing to give “up to 10% more.”
OVERSEAS COMMERCIAL EXPERIENCE
What returnees have over their local counterparts is their overseas commercial experience. About 62% of employers hire returnees because of the knowledge which they have acquired that one cannot expect to find in Singapore.
Commercial experience increases a person’s ability to view situations based on a business perspective. Increased commercial awareness arms a candidate with the tools needed to understand what drives a business to success. Such experience becomes valuable as the career progresses.
Most overseas returnees, as close as 63% hold bachelor degrees, while a good 24% hold master degrees. This high skill-set makes overseas returnees highly attractive for those who are looking to hire someone who can bring more value to the table.
Because of the difference in cultural exposure, 64% of the companies surveyed voted to hire overseas returnees because of their “different perspectives on business.” Their knowledge can potentially improve existing business processes, providing better overall business value. With the advent of globalization, many first have high regard over the solid mix of international experience and local cultural understanding that overseas returnees have.
According to Lundbeck, who hired overseas returnees, having experience working abroad, these employees usually prove to be strong in their cultural awareness, adaptability, and willingness to learn and are generally go-getters.
LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Overseas returnees have better language and communication skills. Working for a foreign-owned enterprise allows returnees to exercise their English language fluency daily. It is easier for companies to have communication with foreign business partners and such credit goes to returnees’ grasp. Their exposure in different cultures also gives them the confidence to communicate better without the cultural barrier. They will help you penetrate the global market.
ISSUES WITH OVERSEAS RETURNEE WORK POOLStill, although an overseas returnee is highly sought-after by most employers, there are some hurdles that you will find when you hire one.
LACK OF LOCAL WORK EXPERIENCETheir understanding of foreign business practices comes with a price. Because of your overseas returnee’s years of isolation from Singapore, he or she will have a hard time understanding the local work practices. About 36% of employers are facing such an issue of their talent difficulty in adapting to local cultural nuances and corporate processes. Overseas returnees should research their home countries’ corporate culture and identify any distinct or essential customs that are observed in a day-to-day business setting. This would enable their transition to their jobs back home an easier one. They should also understand the company and industry for which they will be working and relate how their past working experience or education could value-add to the business.
A MISMATCH IN EXPECTATIONS OF OFFER PACKAGESAlthough previously stated that there are overseas returnees who have the least expectations when it comes to salary packages, there are about 32% of them who will expect an increased salary compared to what they are earning abroad. Overseas returnees believe that there are a lot of things they can offer to the companies in their home country because of their global experiences. While there are some companies that are willing to offer higher salary packages, the packages still depend on the skill-set of the returnee and the employer’s budget.
WHY DO THE RETURNEES RETURNThere are many reasons why there is an increasing rate of overseas returnees in Singapore
- Being closer to their families – this is most especially true for children, who are sent abroad to study. A good majority of returnees, about 45%, feel the need to return home to take care of their family. Most returnees think that taking care of their parents is one of the duties that they must fulfill as a part of the Confucian’s filial piety teachings. Children are expected to take care of their aging parents as well. Failure to go back to one’s home country for them means that they have neglected their duty to their own family.
- Opportunity to develop their careers – This is particularly especially true in popular destinations for Singaporean migration, such as Australia, UK, and the US where work visas and immigration rules are tightened, and the economy of superpower decline. Due to the increasing strictness and shortage of career opportunities abroad, many are now realizing that better jobs are waiting for them at home. When the recession hit the economy, most of the returnees were forced to either receive lower salaries or take jobs that are not paying that well. Change in the government also helped them realize that there are better opportunities back home.
- Culture or lifestyle ties in Singapore–this is true for most who grow up in Singapore and find a longing to be part of their home once again. Most of the returnees would like to continue enjoying their lifestyle in their home country. Most returnees would like to experience once again the familiar vibes that their own country has to offer. Although it is easier to live in other parts of the world now because you can have access to whatever you would need in another country, nothing would still beat the sense of comfort their home country could offer. Singapore talents living abroad are drawn to what it can offer, such as low crime rates, relative cleanliness, proximity to loved ones and a keen sense of familiarity in lifestyle and culture.