May 14th, 2018

A New Generation of Expats: is the relocation industry ready?

A New Generation of Expats: is the relocation industry ready?

Whilst the population of “expatriates” is traditionally thought of as corporate employees with established lifestyles and careers, or families with children, the target audience for the relocation industry is much broader nowadays, with the last decade seeing a rise in Millennials relocating abroad for work. But who are they and what are their relocation requirements?

InterNations Magazine suggests that “expats usually choose to leave their native country for a career boost, or to fulfil a personal dream or goal, rather than as a result of dire economic necessity.” This idea is particularly relevant among Millennials. The overall rise of Millennials in business, who are generally showing increasing entrepreneurship and aspirations to travel the world, has created a shift towards an increase in self-initiated moves. Self-initiated expatriates are those who move of their own accord and without company sponsorship. 

Self-initiated moves are also often favoured by companies because they provide them with employees who have international experience without the expense involved in the expatriate assignment process.

The support that these Millennials require during their relocation process is different from that of a long-term employee with substantial family and financial responsibilities. Many of them are single, or at least without children, meaning that they have different expectations towards the relocation process from an employee with a family to support. They don’t require the large houses with gardens that an employee with a family does; in fact shared accommodation is often preferred, as this will enable them to quickly create their new social network in the destination country. They also tend not to stay as long in the destination country; life-long careers are much less common now, and Millennials are often much more flexible and open to trying new career paths than their predecessors.

However, Millennials may require a much faster transition in order to accommodate for the job prospects they may have lined up, whereas employees with families may receive more lenience and consideration of the time needed to relocate before starting their new job. That speed of transition opens up new opportunities for the relocation industry, as speed means that time is of essence: that is where the added value lies for the destination services. Milllennials require a streamlined sales process for the relocation services, as well as a modern delivery path:"Digitalisation" is the keyword here. Lastly, services and prices might be packaged up differently, with more room for options that the assignees can add or remove, at their convenience, and when they decide to. "Choice" is the second keyword we will use for Millennials.

The increase in Millennial expats means that the relocation industry must understand the different requirements of both their existing clientele and the new generation of clients, and update their approaches to keep them relevant and therefore successful for all expatriates. The industry’s aim remains to ensure that every expat, in any circumstance, is provided with the most suitable service and therefore experiences the most successful relocation possible.