Majority of employers in Singapore keen on hiring overseas returnees, citing ‘cross-cultural awareness’ a key advantage

A clear majority of employers in Singapore are eager to employ an overseas returnee in the coming year, and they cite ‘cross-cultural awareness’ to be the top benefit that returnee talent can bring to the table.

These are few of the key findings in the 2019 Hays Overseas Returnee Report, which highlights overseas returnee recruiting trends based on responses from both candidates and employers residing in the five Hays Asia operating markets in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore.

In the survey, Hays asked candidates who have studied or worked overseas, “Would you be willing to hire a local returnee in the next 12 months?” to which 82 per cent of employers in Singapore said ‘yes’.

Employers were also asked about the benefits overseas returnees could bring to their organisation. While 79 per cent voted ‘cross-cultural awareness’, this was followed closely by 71 per cent who said ‘different perspectives on business’ and 62 percent who said ‘overseas commercial experience’ were key advantages of having overseas returnees in their workforce.

Positive perception of overseas returnees

The global recruitment firm revealed that the high confidence in overseas returnee talent is not unfounded. Many employers report to have had good experiences with their overseas returnee staff and would, in fact, play advocate for the hiring of skilled candidates who have worked or studied abroad.

When asked about their satisfaction rates of overseas returnee staff, 39 per cent of employers in Singapore were ‘satisfied’ and nine per cent were ‘very satisfied’, while only two per cent were ‘unsatisfied’ or ‘very unsatisfied’. This has translated into nine in ten employers willing to recommend employing an overseas returnee to their peers.

Commenting on the findings, Grant Torrens, Regional Director at Hays Singapore said, “With dwindling confidence in recruiting locally for the essential talent needed to drive growth, employers look with favour on overseas returnees who bring ample value to the table.”

“Overseas returnees are therefore in a good position to highlight their experiences working or studying abroad. They could stand to benefit from displaying their cross-cultural awareness in particular, and how it would help improve existing business processes and translate into business value. Many firms hold in high regard the international experience and local cultural understanding that overseas returnees can offer in the country’s globalised economy. Overseas returners should therefore take advantage of the existing market situation that favours them.”

Across Asia

Overall, eight in ten hiring managers across the region are keen on employing overseas returnees. The keenest employers were Hong Kong (88 per cent) and Mainland China (87 per cent), while the least keen were Japanese employers (67 per cent).

When it comes to satisfaction levels of overseas returnee employees, many employers in Asia reported above average contentment, with 40 per cent saying they were ‘satisfied’ and 13 per cent saying they were ‘very satisfied’. Only three per cent are ‘unsatisfied’ and one per cent ‘very unsatisfied’. The most satisfied lot are Mainland Chinese respondents with 53 per cent and 11 per cent who were ‘satisfied’ and ‘very satisfied’ respectively. The relatively least satisfied employers are those from Japan with 7 per cent saying they were ‘very unsatisfied’.

Overseas returnees are generally coveted for their ‘cross-cultural awareness’ (voted by 72 per cent), ‘language and communication skills’ (68 per cent) and ‘different perspectives on business’ (64 per cent). While the top benefit for employers in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Japan was ‘language and communication skills’, for employers in Singapore, it was ‘cross cultural awareness’ and in Malaysia, ‘different perspectives on business’.

This has resulted in 82 per cent of employers across the board being willing to hire an overseas returnee in the coming year. The most willing was Hong Kong at 88 per cent, and the least willing was Japan at 67 per cent.

Hiring managers were also asked if they would recommend peers within their industry to hire local returnees. Nine in ten (90 per cent) said a resounding ‘yes’, with Hong Kong being the most likely to do so (94 per cent), and Japan the least likely (84 per cent).

Click here to download your copy of the 2019 Hays Asia Overseas Returnees report.

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About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2018 the Group employed 11,700 staff operating from 262 offices in 34 markets across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2018:

– the Group reported net fees of £1.072 billion and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £243.4 million;

– the Group placed around 77,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 244,000 people into temporary assignments;

– 19% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in Germany, 24% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 31% in Rest of World (RoW);

– the temporary placement business represented 58% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 42% of net fees;

– Hays operates in the following countries/regions: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mainland China, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

Learn more at https://www.haysplc.com/