By Daniel Hunter

According to a recent survey, 72% of respondents said they thought their employers viewed international experience as important or very important.

This has risen from 63% last year. Ever more professionals are seeking to add international experience to their CVs, and are doing so in an ever wider variety of locations.

The research was commissioned by the global specialist recruitment company Hydrogen Group and conducted by ESCP Europe. 94% of those who responded to the 2012 survey are considering relocating or have already done so, and they are taking the step to gain international experience because they recognise it as a key factor in career success.

The report highlighted the continued importance of recruitment companies in finding candidates the best overseas opportunities. 37% of respondents working abroad said that they had found their role through recruiters. Tim Smeaton, CEO of Hydrogen Group commented that “Candidates recognise that recruitment specialists provide them with access to the global organisations of their choice.”

At the same time the survey found that this international migration of professionals is spread more widely than ever before. While the three most popular places for respondents to live and work remain the US, the UK and Australia, their dominance is waning: the US fell from 18% last year to 12% this year, Australia fell from 11% to 9% and the UK from 10% to 9%.

“The most significant impact of the global financial crisis of 2008 has been that migration is spread more widely than ever before," Dan Church, Client Services Director at Hydrogen, said.

“People now need to go where the revenue is. Five years ago this might have been New York, London and Hong Kong; now it is also Shanghai, Houston, Vietnam and so on.”

Other key findings from the report include:

- overseas work is no longer just for the young with 45% of those respondents working abroad aged over 40

- women who work overseas are doing it early in their careers: 36% of women who are already abroad are between 21 and 30, while this applies for just 17% of the men. Only 19% are over 40, compared to nearly 50% of the men

- people who make the move tend to stay much longer than they expected to: on the whole respondents said they expect to stay overseas for up to five years, while in fact a sizeable 45% of respondents have already been overseas for more than five years and 50% plan to apply for permanent residency.

“We’re not seeing people going abroad to do a quick two-year assignment," Raymond Madden, Visiting Professor at ESCP Europe and the academic in charge of the survey, concludes.

"More and more people are spending their entire careers working overseas, doing stints of several years at a time in one country before moving to a new region where they gain fresh perspectives and experiences. Very often they are hesitant at the start but become hooked on the lifestyle and keep doing it much longer than they intended.”

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