Is expat work-life balance now more important than salary?

Is expat work-life balance now more important than salary?

Is expat work-life balance now more important than salary?

For many expats, one of the most important aspects of deciding to take a job overseas is its work-life balance.

Not all prospective candidates for overseas positions place a high salary and its accompanying relocation allowances as the most important aspect of the decision to emigrate. For an increasing number, especially those with accompanying families, work-life balance is becoming ever more important, and doesn’t just include shorter working hours. The definition of this crucial aspect of working overseas now covers the provision of leisure facilities, actual disposable incomes and easier travel between home and office.

A recent survey conducted by Axa Global Healthcare, a leading private healthcare insurance company, revealed only 22 per cent of respondents claimed shorter working hours, with a third working on average between 40 and 45 hours weekly and a quarter claiming they worked more than 46 hours a week. In spite of this, one fifth of respondents said they’d left the home country specifically in order to achieve a better work-life balance. It could be said that it’s not the hours worked which are important, it’s the ambience of the place they’re now living in which makes all the difference.

Expats taking part in the survey quoted improvements in work-life balance as being down to better leisure opportunities, a more attractive environment, better weather and spending more time with new friends and family. Those replying from the UAE seemed happiest with their choice, with 61 per cent saying their work-life balance was an improvement on that in the home country. Expats in France accounted for 52 per cent, those in the UK amounted to 46 per cent and 44 per cent of those in Canada said their work-life balance was an improvement.

Experts believe a clearly defined work-life balance can be essential to the success of an overseas relocation. International reassignment for many expats is little short of an intense experience, with employers urged to provide access to sympathetic support services, especially in the early days of relocation.

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