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Expat Careers: How Do I Make Sure I Get a Fair Relocation Package?

This post from my "ASK THE EXPAT CAREER COACH" blog series answers the question: " How Do I Make Sure I Get a Fair Relocation Package?"

This post is one in my "ASK THE EXPAT CAREER COACH" blog series where I answer common questions from expats regarding their careers.

Today's question is another very common question I get when expatriates are trying to cost out whether or not taking a job abroad is right for them and their family.


Despite the global economic crisis, the demand for highly skilled professionals still exists. Many companies realize that they must must still pay their professionals well if they want to stay ahead in the war for good talent.  If you are clear on your unique value (or personal brand) and have communicated it effectively to the decision-makers, then you should feel confident about negotiating for a relocation package from a position of strength.

However a recent study in the International Journal of Human Resource Management reports that companies globally are not recognizing the importance of compensation in reference to expat retention.  To reduce mobility costs, some companies have been moving to localize their expats or provide local plus packages (traditional expatriate compensation package with reduced benefits).  This has often created the drive or the need for the expat to look for higher paying employment elsewhere.

In fact, recent research tells us that 30% of expats are currently leveraging their increased marketability (by being on international assignment) to explore positions outside of their current organization.  Although companies are becoming more aware of this trend, they are not being as responsive as they need to be to this reality.

As this new research comes to light, it is hoped that companies will understand that that their short term attempts at cost reduction will actually affect their ROI in terms of expat retention/attrition. 

So it is very important to be prepared when negotiating your relocation package.  Come to the table with a clear understanding of what you want, what your "non-negotiables" are and what you are eligible to receive so you can advocate for yourself, get your compensation needs met and make informed choices that will work for you.  You might also consider alerting to mobility team to recent research indicating that companies who are requiring their employees to localize or who are offering reduced packages are seeing changes in their expat retention/attrition rates.

I will be writing a future blog post that gets into all of the elements of an expat relocation package and things you need to make sure to consider.

YOUR EXPAT CAREER & BUSINESS SUCCESS TIP: If you are an expat in the process of negotiating your relocation package, make sure you do your homework.  Be sure you request all documentation from HR regarding the benefits available to you. Many companies are making changes to relocation/salary packages at the moment so there may be more room to negotiate than you think. Stay tuned for a future blog post where we explore the elements of a relocation package in more detail.

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