Can working abroad harm your career?

Business manThere are now so many global companies and so much international trade, you would expect an overseas assignment to automatically boost you up the corporate ladder.  But many returning expats are finding they are not as valuable as they expected in today’s tough job market according to this article from Australia.  Don’t stop at just the article, as there are many interesting stories told in the comments section.  While some point out that this doesn’t apply at all times or to all industries, there’s no doubt that anyone who repatriated in 2009 is finding the situation difficult.

I worked overseas in Mining construction for 5 years and came back and found it difficult. People dont beleive that you can get the kind of experience that you do when you were away. Still for that reason I am still overseas. Don Mateo

Returned to Australia last December after 8 years in UK, Holland and Norway working in engineering and management positions – was told to not even bother applying for positions here.  Tommy Hammond

I am sure that the overseas experience is often seen as a threat by the stay at home employers and they simply do not want the competition come next round of promotions. I am in this very position and get tired of the same old line you are too experienced.  Annoyed

Repatriates have always had to deal with lower incomes and less perks once they return to their home countries, but  it seems many employers feel they lack local contacts and perhaps have too much experience.

This is not just an Australian problem as the same situation exists in Canada.  New immigrants have always suffered from lack of so-called “Canadian experience” and returning expats seem to share this label.  So it’s not surprising that for many “once an expat, always an expat” holds true.

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