Lloyds TSB International

Lloyds TSB International

April 29, 2013 12:19 ET

UK Wages Failing to Keep Up With Inflation; Dissatisfied Brits Heading Abroad

- Nearly a third of UK expatriates have moved to foreign countries to take advantage of career opportunities, compared to just 27 per cent in February 2012

- British workers are earning more abroad; 68 per cent now earn more than they did working in the UK

- British expats working abroad consider themselves better off financially; 79 per cent of British expats see their financial situation as more positive since making the move to work overseas

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - April 29, 2013) - A new study undertaken by Lloyds TSB International has revealed that in the last nine months, around 30 per cent of British expatriates have moved abroad to take advantage of a new work opportunity. In general, a growing number of Brits seem to be looking towards the overseas jobs market and seeing the benefits of working overseas, as only 27 per cent made the move to a foreign country in February 2012.

The UK's challenging economy, which has remained generally flat over the last 18 months(1), could be a possible reason for the shift. Since mid-2009, unemployment levels have remained constant at around 2.5 million(2), and inflation levels have also stayed steady. In January, inflation was recorded at 2.7 per cent for the fourth consecutive month. Despite this, pay levels have struggled to keep pace, and the average earnings growth was just 1.5 per cent(3) as of November 2012.

The Lloyds TSB International research showed that, as a stark contrast to what's happening in the UK economy, British workers are earning more abroad than they are in the UK. The survey found that around two thirds, or 68 per cent, of those moving abroad to undertake a work assignment, are earning more where they live now than they did as UK-based workers. This is a considerable increase compared to the 54 per cent of people who could say this in February 2012. Overall, Brits working abroad seem to be financially better off. A huge 79 per cent of respondents who have taken advantage of a career opportunity abroad consider themselves financially better off, compared to the 67 per cent who said this 12 months ago.

Of course, the main attraction in moving abroad for a growing number of people (44 per cent, a rise on the 35 per cent recording in 2012) is a higher salary. This isn't the only incentive to move to another country, however, as the research also found that lifestyle factors can be just as important, if not more so, than salary levels. The opportunity to gain different life experiences was the reason for moving for 48 per cent of respondents, and the same number decided to leave the UK in order to provide their family with a higher quality of life.

When deciding where to move to, the majority of British expats are influenced by shared language. The research found that the USA was the most popular country for UK workers to move to, with 17 per cent of them heading to America. Canada was the second choice, with 16 per cent relocating there, whilst Australia came in third with 12 per cent. In terms of industry, the majority (10 per cent) of UK expatriates who moved abroad for work were in the technology industry. 8 per cent were in the manufacturing field, whilst an additional 8 per cent worked for financial services companies. Surprisingly, Germany has the greatest concentration of technology roles, whilst the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands has the greatest concentration of financial services jobs. South Africa was found to have the greatest concentration of manufacturing roles.

Richard Musty, the Director of Lloyds TSB International Private Bank, commented on the findings. He said: "In today's difficult employment market there is a trend for people to relocate to different countries for work. The financial services and manufacturing industries, both of which have been impacted by a challenging economic climate, stand out in terms of the number of people moving abroad for work. However, employers seem to be aware of the challenges and it's encouraging to see the extent to which they are prepared to help facilitate the move. Significantly, 55 per cent of our respondents were offered a moving allowance, with a further 50 per cent offered help with housing costs and 43 per cent flights home."

Whilst a significant number of employers offer extra incentives and benefits to their employees wanting to move overseas, the research also found a marked decrease in the level of support people felt they were being offered when moving. Only 31 per cent of workers moving abroad for a new career opportunity said that they were offered transition services relating to financial advice and guidance, despite the fact that 47 per cent would have found such services very beneficial during the move from one country to another. 29 per cent would have liked more help with tax issues when moving abroad for work, whilst 33 per cent wanted more advice on their pensions. Additionally, 37 per cent of respondents would have appreciated more financial advice in relation to investments.

Richard also said: "While the global employment market remains in a state of flux it's essential that when people are moving specifically for a work assignment, they are offered the necessary levels of advice and support to ensure a smooth transition. For example, providing guidance around finances before people emigrate will ensure they have flexibility and access to their money internationally.

"It is more important than ever that people are equipped with the right tools and information to maximise the benefits of a higher salary and greater financial stability which come with working overseas and, as more and more people look at career opportunities abroad, we need to ensure that more is being done to close the gap."

Notes to editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a survey of 1,089 British expats based in popular expat destinations: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Spain, UAE, USA. The survey was conducted online by Freshminds in December 2012.

(1) GDP and the Labour Market, 2012 Q4, January GDP Update, Office for National Statistics

(2) Labour Market Statistics, Office for National Statistics

(3) Labour Market Statistics, December 2012 & January 2013, Office for National Statistics

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