Having lived and worked in 10 countries and having grown up in an expat family, I thought it would be helpful to give some hints and tips on how you need to approach a move beyond borders.
Not because I am trying to motivate you but because agencies hire in January and February for the year ahead, or they are planning for hires from mid-year.
Your ancestors did it, so why can’t you? Immigration hurdles aside, packing your swag and pitching up in a country is a pretty good sink or swim strategy. It generally works and it shows mettle.
My Dad worked for a global oil major for 20 years. Yes, it was in the days of expat packages but the reality was as an Aussie he was paid less than a Brit or European, and more than his Indian and Nigerian colleagues. The lesson in this is that no matter the injustice and discrimination, price parity doesn’t exist when it comes to nationalities and salaries. I know this isn’t ideal, but don’t worry, you can use this to your advantage. Here is how:
- The “amongst your peeps” strategy: Look at your national statistics agencies and see the countries that your fellow peeps are working or living in. Diasporas are important and by their very existence show that the host country is more open to your nationality.
- The “I’m moving up” strategy: Look for locations where your current salary package would place you at a higher position. This works equally well if you are moving from New York or Manila.
- The “foot in the door” strategy: Look for locations where your current salary package would make you very attractive to an employer because they could hire you below market rates.
What about the “I’ve got special skills” strategy that makes me valuable everywhere? Yes, this does exist. The best markets to apply this strategy is in emerging or developing markets, because you can combine this with a promotion to run a practice or develop a new offering. But, if you do have a special skill, move quickly before it becomes a mainstream one. Facebook community managers need not apply.
Yes, your new colleagues want to hear about all of the cool things you have done before. But, if you are smart you will know it is more important to hear from them.
Think of them like a combination of a trip planner, the police and mum and dad.
If you read this far, feel free to send me your CV and indicate which strategy you are applying against. Post your details in the comments section and I will come back to you.
Iain Twine is the CEO of Edelman South East Asia and Australasia.