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Key Factors That Cause People to Take Up Expatriate Positions

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Key Factors That Cause People to Take Up Expatriate Positions

Key Factors that cause people to take up expatriate positions

What are the key factors?

There are some factors that people take into consideration when approached with a proposal of an expatriate position. These factors consist of attractive prospects, across all boards, and thus are able to motivate the person to make the decision to move to a foreign land.

Some people are motivated to take up an expatriate position because of financial factors. They look forward to the larger salary package that comes with it. This is one of the more important reasons that lead one to make the choice to work overseas (Lomax, 2001).

Personal factors are the next type of factors that can influence an individual to take up an expatriate position. These are factors that revolve around an individual’s personal reasons for wanting to take up the position (Perkins and Shortland, 2006), and is also a major consideration when one is offered such a position.

Last but not least, career prospects. To wider their horizons, and step up to new challenges to better themselves, people take up expatriate positions for the opportunity to hold different posts and attend to a variety of challenges (Lane et al, 2005). All these will result in a personal growth in their work and management skills, as well as achievements and a good track record, which will open many paths for them in the future.

In the sections to follow, these factors, as well as how they attract an individual, will be discussed further in detail.


Objectives and Outcomes

In the effort to gather more information about the factors and how they motivate individuals, primary research was carried out in the form of interviews with real life expatriates. This was done to collect more solid data that would substantiate the factors mentioned, and add credibility to how they motivate people in the world today.

The profiles of the interviewees are:

i. Miss Harvonne Yap – Malaysian Citizen working in London, UK

ii. Miss Verena Lim – Australian Citizen working in Singapore

iii. Mrs Joanna Chen – Singaporean Citizen working in California, USA

iv. Miss Tay Sue Joy – Malaysian Citizen working in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The interviews gathered much details and insights, which provided the author with sufficient information to discuss about the factors in the sections to follow. These interview transcripts, as well as the details of each individual, are attached in the appendixes section, and will constantly be referred to as examples in this report.

Financial Factors

People work because they are being motivated by, primarily, monetary compensation. Even in non-profit and charitable organizations, people are still essentially pursuing a salary, above all other things (Henderson, 2005).

This is true because for survival, the financial compensation received will provide an individual with the ability to feed, clothe and provide shelter for oneself (Arndt H.W, 2001). It is then, concluded, that financial factors are some of the most important factors that attract one to take up an expatriate position.

The financial attractions of an expatriate position can come in many forms. Listed below are the different forms of it:

i. Compensation (salary)

ii. Tax Differentials

iii. Medical / Benefit Costs


Compensation is the salary, or pay package, that is paid out to an employee. It can consist of the base pay, performance-based pay, discretionary income and options, amongst many other components. (Milkivich G and Newman J, 2007). There are a few aspects as to how compensation can attract people to consider being an expatriate.

Firstly, the pay packages itself. If the position on offer is one that has very few short listed people, which shows that the availability of such resources is scarce, the organization would put together a package on a higher pay scale because of the scarcity of such personnel (Scullion, 2006). Taking into consideration that this person has to move off to another country, the organization would easily offer a package that is above the market rate.

Secondly, the exchange rate between the home currency and the

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