By Marcus Leach

Increasing numbers of British workers are being posted globally on temporary assignments, while maintaining a UK base.

According to the fourth annual NatWest International Personal Banking (IPB) Quality of Life Index, 84% of ‘global workers’ fast-track up the career ladder, as well as benefiting from an improved lifestyle.

Around three quarters of a million British workers currently travel overseas to work abroad each year. The ratio of temporary to permanent workers is currently five to one however, it looks set to rise to ten to one by 2020.

The increased use of temporary global workers means that the traditional definition of expatriation is blurring as Britain engages in a global market of “brain exchange”. Countries are progressively sharing their talent rather than keeping hold of it, a phenomenon fuelled by global expat commuters.

“The growth of the global worker has brought with it an opportunity to share knowledge and experience around the world. The great brain exchange is a fantastic concept of other economies temporarily sharing the strengths of British workers,” Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking, commented.

“Due to advances in travel and telecommunications, it is now much easier for international operations to run via daily phone calls, e-mail, and video conferencing. It has opened the door to sending young, talented, professionals abroad, while being supervised and coached by their managers in the UK."

The GenXYpats

“GenXYpats” are defined as members of Generations X (born between 1964 — 1981) and Y (born between 1982 and 1992) who choose to live and pursue careers on foreign shores. They are a new niche demographic and psychographic spanning the life-stages, generations of knowledge nomads, seeking temporary work overseas.

Expats view working overseas as a positive experience with 52% rating their overall quality of working life as either excellent or very good. English speaking countries are most popular amongst professional expats with Australia, Canada and the USA emerging top of the list. The GenXYpats are drawn to global working, with 48% choosing to take up temporary posts overseas compared to 28% aged over 50.

Expatriate workforces are also becoming more cosmopolitan with more than 50 per cent of companies now employing more than one nationality. Women make up 22% of the expatriate workforce, up from six per cent, 15 years ago. In terms of the time spent overseas, the average time spent working out of the country on various assignments is 5.4 years.

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