Ideally, international relocations offer benefits to both the organisation and employees. But there is one big benefit that increases the chances of a successful relocation abroad for everyone involved…

It isn’t about the money. However this remains the starting point for many recruiters. The HR Director reports that: “Two fifths (42%) of employers who have had difficulty recruiting candidates have increased the salary on offer, according to a survey of employers by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).”

Sometimes, an increased salary isn’t enough. 80% of vacancies are re-advertised and 24% of employers lower the requirements of the role. So what is the big benefit that today’s employees are looking for?

The answer has emerged from a two-year study by the University of Birmingham Business School. Results show that: Employees with higher levels of autonomy have better overall wellbeing and higher levels of job satisfaction.\

The Influence of Job Role
The university’s ‘Autonomy in Paid Work and Employee Subjective Wellbeing’ research found that job role influences the degree of autonomy – and therefore well-being amongst employees.
• 90% of employees working in management have some or a lot of autonomy
• Half those in lower skilled roles have no control over working hours
• Professional workers experience significant autonomy, however less than those in management roles
• Skilled trades experience various degrees of control; some have little autonomy whilst others can influence and/or control their work allocation and schedule

The research highlighted that in many cases managers remain unwilling to offer employees greater levels of autonomy and the associated benefits, because their primary role remains one of “control and effort extraction”.

The Gender Gap 
The research also found that the level of autonomy differs between male and female employees.

Dr Daniel Wheatley of University of Birmingham Business School said to Personnel Today: “The study found compelling evidence to suggest that men and women were affected in different ways by the type of autonomy they experienced.
“For women, flexibility over the timing and location of their work appeared to be more beneficial allowing them to balance other tasks such as family commitments.”He added that the manner of work and control over work schedule was more relevant to the wellbeing of female employees, whereas men were more affected by job tasks, pace of work and task order.

The Impact Upon International Assignments
Location is not a barrier to autonomy – support and communication play a vital role and today’s technology facilities these factors regardless of location. Dealing with the excitement and uncertainty of settling into a new country as well as a new role makes well-being even more important for new assignees.

“Everyone wants global mobility to be a success,” says Louise Chilcott from BTR International. “By supporting both the organisation and assignees, we ensure that relocations are as stress-free as possible. Helping employees and their families to embrace and enjoy their new location offers a degree of well-being. A work culture which is mindful of what helps individuals to be productive and content within their role is a winning formula for everyone involved.”

To find out more about the support available for your organisation’s talent mobility, contact Louise for an informal discussion. Please email or call her on +44 (0) 1582 495495.

Image courtesy of Sheelamohan at

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