Quite often people tend to describe expats as one homogeneous group. But are we really all the same? Most certainly not. It is only in more recent years that companies that sell expat-targeted products and services have started to realize that people move abroad for many different reasons and that these reasons mean that we each have different aspirations, preferences and lifestyles. For example, it would be completely counterproductive to view a single 28-year-old guy who has moved to Beijing to further his career, as a 55-year old retiree who is moving to Costa Rica for a simpler life. They may both be described using the world “expat,” but that is very much were the similarities end.
Earlier this year NatWest International Personal Banking produced a report that examined the types of expatriates that inhabit the planet. The report, which was compiled The Centre of Future Studies and published as part of the NatWest IPB Quality of Life Index, examined the personality traits and lifestyles of expatriates in order to produce five distinct categories that could be used to describe expatriates:
|Name of Category||Description||Typical Age||Additional information|
|Lifers||▪ Typically been living and working abroad for over 10 years
▪ Generally skilled or semi-skilled workers (68%)
|25-45||▪ 78 percent of lifers live in English-speaking countries|
|Professionals||▪ Spend an average amount of 3 years abroad.
▪ Usually senior managers and professionals (87%)
|Globe Trotters||▪ Mainly professionals (78 percent)||45-60||▪ Over half intend to return home at some point (53%).|
|Commuters||▪ Work abroad but retain home in their home country.
▪ Mostly senior executives (79%)
|Silver||▪ Retire abroad|
“Expats are not a holistic group, but multi-complex in terms of their reasons for migrating, choice of destination country and attitudes and behaviours while living abroad. The image of a traditional ‘sunshine retirement’ expat has evolved to one that moves abroad primarily for career progression and challenges – with lifestyle as a secondary factor.” said Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking.
So, what type of expat are you?
– A lifer
– A professional
– A globetrotter
– A commuter or
– A silver expat?