Overseas Returnees Return to Mainland China for Familial Reasons, but Satisfaction Levels at Work Not High

Published on 2019-08-21

Repatriated talent from Mainland China who have worked or studied abroad have returned to be closer to their families. However, satisfaction levels in their current roles leave much to be desired, according to recruitment experts Hays.

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 directed at overseas returnees based in Mainland China, Hays uncovered the motivations of repatriated talent. A clear majority (70 per cent) cited ‘being closer to their family’ as the primary reason for moving back to their country/region of origin. Second to that was the ‘opportunity to progress and develop their career’ (53 per cent), while third was ‘the culture and lifestyle in their home country/region’ (47 per cent).

Hays also asked candidates who have studied or worked overseas, “What is the level of satisfaction for your current position?” to which almost two in five (40 per cent) of Mainland Chinese overseas returnees said ‘moderately satisfied’. In addition, while 11 per cent were ‘slightly satisfied’, three per cent were ‘not at all satisfied’.

Commenting on this, Simon Lance, Managing Director at Hays Greater China says, “There is much room for improvement when it comes to satisfaction levels of overseas returnees in the workforce. They are more likely to gravitate more towards employers who have relevant HR policies in place, which provide desired non-monetary perks such as flexible working hours or health and wellbeing benefits.

“Individualised retention plans should also be in place while keeping in mind the different needs and motivations between overseas returnees and local employees. After all, top on their list of reasons to return to their country or region of origin is to progress in their careers. When managing overseas returnee employees, line managers are therefore urged to be particularly conscious and transparent during appraisals and have open discussions about career development and performance assessment.”

Across Asia

Most overseas returnee talent across the region (58 per cent) cited being closer to family as their main motivation for repatriating to their place of origin. Respondents in Hong Kong led the way with 73 per cent citing this reason. By contrast, only 45 per cent of Singaporeans felt the same.

Other reasons for returning included, ‘the culture and lifestyle in their home country/region’ (voted by 32 per cent) and the ‘opportunity to progress and develop my career’ (voted by 34 per cent). The least likely motivation was ‘to start their own business’ (voted by 12 per cent).

When it comes to satisfaction levels in their current role, overseas returnees are generally only ‘moderately satisfied’, with three in ten (30 per cent) saying so. In addition, close to one in five (18 per cent) said they were ‘not at all satisfied’ and 14 per cent said they were ‘slightly satisfied’. Japan had the most respondents who say they were ‘not at all satisfied’ (29 per cent) and ‘slightly satisfied’ (26 per cent), while Mainland China had the least saying so (11 per cent and three per cent respectively).

Download your copy of the 2019 Hays Asia Overseas Returnees report here.

For further information please contact Lavinia Lou, Senior Marketing Executive, North & East China, on +86 (0) 21 2322 9719 or Lavinia.Lou@hays.cn