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Kelly Services releases international workplace survey results

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Almost three in four Australian workers say that they would be prepared to relocate to a different city to find work while more than half would be willing to move overseas, according to a new international workplace survey conducted by Kelly Services .

The international workplace survey, by global recruitment firm Kelly Services, also found that many Australian workers are willing to devote long periods travelling to and from work, with 14% prepared to spend at least two hours a day commuting.

The global survey sought the views of 1,15,000 people in 33 countries including almost 19,000 in Australia about their patterns of travel to and from work, their capacity to move to find the right job and the main factors preventing them from relocating.

Kelly Services country manager, James Bowmer said the survey reveals a high degree of mobility in the workforce, with many people highly comfortable with the idea of moving considerable distances for the right job.

“With a more globalised workforce, there is increasingly a recognition that people may have to relocate to find the right work or to advance their career.

“There are many skills that are easily transferable across borders including in areas such as banking and finance, IT, science and engineering,” he said.

Amongst the key findings of the survey:

  • 71% of people would consider relocating to a different city for work
  • 55% would consider relocating to a different country for work
  • 40% would consider relocating to a country where they did not fluently speak the local language
  • 14% of people say they are prepared to spend two hours or more each day commuting to and from work
  • 60% of people say they would like to stay living and working where they currently live until they retire

“For many workers, the chance to move to a different city or country can be a rewarding professional experience as well as a good lifestyle choice,” James Bowmer said.

“Employees, in general, have become more mobile and willing to be flexible in both their travel and living arrangements to find the right job”.

Those workers most likely to move were aged up to 34 years. Typically, they have fewer family and other commitments that prevent them from relocating. Males were more willing to relocate than females.

When asked to rank the main complicating factors in moving to another country for work, the overwhelming issues were:

  • Family, cited by 61% of respondents
  • Language barriers, cited by (39%)
  • Children’s schooling, cited by (21%)
  • Property ownership, cited by (16%)
  • Tax complications, cited by (11%)
  • Pension/superannuation rights, cited by (9%)

The finding that many workers are willing to be highly mobile in their search for work is good news for employers.

At a time of relative skills shortages, globally, targeting employees from another city or internationally can be an effective way of filling gaps in the labour market.

The survey found that in Australia, 40% of people say that, before they retire, they would like to move away from the place where they currently live and work. Females are keener to move than males.

“This suggests that significant numbers of people will be actively looking to change their jobs, homes and lifestyles, with implications for employment, urban planning and transport infrastructure,” James Bowmer said.

Travelling times to and from work are a key consideration for employees and the vast majority (61%) are not willing to spend more than 45 minutes, each way, commuting.

However 25% are willing to spend 45-60 minutes and 14% are willing to spend 60 minutes or more each way. Females are much less tolerant of longer travelling times than males.

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