Guide to Working Abroad

Introduction to Working Abroad

Prospects for working abroad are improving after the global downturn forced companies to cut hiring amid fears of falling sales and revenues.

Recruitment firms and expats are reporting that more jobs are available for expats and contractors.

However, the market is still fragile in many countries - especially in Europe where the Eurozone debt crisis has knocked business confidence.

Although the jobs for expats are rebounding, trends reveal the market has changed significantly and instead of Europe and the USA, many openings are now in Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Expats can also expect a less full benefits package for housing, education, health and flights home unless the post is in a more far flung destination.

Salaries are still competitive, and as always, depend on skills, location and experience.

Careers for expats fall in to three main categories:

Oil, gas and mining

Developed nations, led by China, are on a quest to find ever more and cheaper natural resources to fuel their industries and to make their products more competitively priced in the global marketplace.

Disruption to oil and gas supplies triggered by the Arab Spring unrest in Libya, Egypt and Syria, coupled with political disagreements with Iran are pushing countries towards the back of the natural resources queue in to more prominence.

The main call is for design, safety and project engineers.

Building and construction

Construction ground to a halt in the downturn, but is beginning to pick up in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries and others with emerging economies, like China and the Asia Pacific rim.

Banking and finance

The bad boys may have to shoulder the blame for triggering the world’s financial problems, but banking and finance are still sought after to service high net worth clients in the Asia Pacific.

Employers are more particular about who they hire, and huge clear-outs of highly experienced staff in the downturn mean competition for places is intense.

Other sectors with increasing demand for professional and experience staff include telecommunications, pharmaceutical, medicine and logistics.

Another sector set to take off is civil aviation - while defence will suffer from Allied forces withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan, China is embarking on a massive project to build and upgrade airports and expand commercial airliner fleets.

Although the economies in Europe are facing a grim time, the rest of the world is pulling out of the downturn and is ready to put up the ‘Business as usual’ signs.

These countries need the skills and qualifications of expats to develop their fledgling industries and train their own people.

For expats who want to work abroad, the opportunities are out there - but the number of posts available still has a long way to go before hitting the peak of the years leading up to the downturn.