Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Work worldwide: International experience is seen as critical for senior roles

Moving to a foreign country is a great way to propel your career forward and, according to a recent survey by PwC, the number of international professional assignments is set to double by 2020.

Overseas experience is seen as a key career developmental step, as professionals can gain a broader understanding of different cultures and practices, as well as exposure to the ways in which foreign companies and markets operate.

International experience is also increasingly seen as critical for senior leadership roles, where you are at some stage likely to be managing an international team that can benefit from your globalised capabilities.

In addition, employers in Hong Kong consider overseas returnees a highly prized asset as they bring back globalised experience and can fill critical shortages in the local market. Returnees are valued for their combination of international experience and local cultural understanding.

An international relocation can be daunting, however. You may be worried about your partner finding work in a new location, or your parents needing you to be closer to home. Apart from meeting immigration criteria, you’ll need to consider the costs of a move which, if not covered by your organisation, will include flights, shipping and accommodation.

If permanent relocation is not for you, there are a number of other ways you can gain international experience, such as short-term assignments, secondments or weekly international commutes. I suggest researching locations and exploring options with your employer, as it is usually much easier and less costly if the organisations can offer assistance.  You can also network, apply to online advertisements or use a recruitment consultancy.

In an increasingly globalised world, there’s never been a better time to gain international experience and globalise your career.

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Work worldwide.