The pandemic made an immediate impact on the globalized world, reorienting how we perceive, travel, engage, connect, work and live. For the last 14 years, HSBC has commissioned its Expat Explorer survey, the most recent examining the lives and viewpoints of expats from over 46 countries and regions after 18 months of experiencing a global pandemic. The latest results reveal growing global confidence, with nearly two thirds of expats optimistic about the next 12 months. If you want to better understand the expat mentality at this point in time, you can find the full report here.
Here are a few of the key findings:
- Most expats are staying put and embracing the community. Four out of five say they will continue to live abroad for at least the next year.
- 65% of expats feel optimistic about the year ahead. Optimism levels are at their highest in Taiwan, with 85% of respondents feeling hopeful, followed closely by Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam. At 71%, Asia ranked as the highest region for optimism about the year ahead.
- In the next 12 months, the top three things expats are hoping to achieve are: getting to know the local area (50%), travelling more (47%) and becoming more familiar with the local culture (47%).
It seems that despite the pandemic, expats maintain a great desire to get out in the world to experience local culture, achieve a high(er) quality of life, and gain critical career and life experiences for themselves and their families. In this survey, two thirds of expats reported a better quality of life since relocating and have experienced little change to their work situation due to COVID-19.
With the optimism around international travel making a comeback in 2022, are global mobility experts as optimistic as the expats themselves about what the upcoming year holds? We currently have our own trends survey that is active (Mapping the Future: Trends in Global Mobility Heading into 2022) and the results will allow us to compare mobility manager sentiment to what HSBC has revealed from the expat vantage point. If you are out there managing mobility programs, please go share your insights and we'll follow up to provide a survey report once it closes and the results are summarized.
Expats' desire to live and work abroad has not been diminished by the pandemic - the majority plan to stay in their host location for the foreseeable future, with 80% intending to continue living in their host country for the next year at least, and only 7% planning to move. The findings suggest expats are prioritising personal lifestyle choices rather than traditional relocation drivers - such as career progression (34%) or expanding professional network (31%). The top five goals that expats look forward to achieving in the next 12 months were: 1. Getting to know the local area (50%) 2. Travelling (47%) 3. Understanding and exploring local culture (47%) 4. Making new friends (45%) 5. Going out more (41%)