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Global execs more willing than ever to pack their bags for career opportunities

By Workplace Staff

A wide majority of global executives are willing to relocate for the right career opportunity, according to Korn/Ferry's latest Executive Quiz. The Executive Quiz, commissioned by The Korn/Ferry Institute, surveyed executives from 65 countries about their motivations to relocate.

Overall, a staggering 82 per cent of global executives said they are willing to relocate to a different region, state or country. In the April survey, 47 per cent of the respondents expressed an "extreme willingness" to relocate to a different region, state or country, and 35 per cent said they are "somewhat willing."

Career acceleration is the primary reason to move, according to 78 per cent of the surveyed executives. However, compensation is not necessarily the No. 1 motivating factor that is driving relocation. Nearly half of the global executives – 42 per cent – say the "quality of life" in a new location would most motivate them, while only 20 per cent chose "job title and promotion" or "salary" as the top motivator. Eighteen per cent of executives cite "the reputation of the company" as the primary motivating factor.

"It is a major life decision to move away from family and friends for the sake of one's career and there are two significant factors which are driving this phenomenon," said Michael Distefano, Korn/Ferry chief marketing officer. "First, there is no doubt that the global recession has taken its toll. Today's talented professionals realize that it's a buyer's market, which is forcing them to relocate to where the action is. Additionally, the speed of globalization is tearing down boundaries at an unimaginable pace. Although the global business community is operating seamlessly around the world, there are still hubs of economic activity which attract the best and brightest."

Only 8 per cent of executives reported turning down an international work assignment. More than half of the global executives have accepted an international work assignment; 41 per cent have never been asked to relocate internationally. Additionally, 81 per cent of surveyed executives have relocated to a different region, state or country during their careers.

Global executives say the top four most desirable regions to work in are North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and South America.

Executive Relocation Survey Results

1) How willing would you be to relocate to a different region, state or country for your next job?

    Extremely willing (47%)

    Somewhat willing (35%)

    Neither willing nor unwilling (8%)

    Somewhat unwilling (7%)

    Extremely unwilling (3%)

   2)  Which of the following would most motivate you to relocate for a job?

    Quality of life in new location (42%)

    Salary (20%)

    Job title/promotion (20%)

    Reputation of company (18%)

   3)  Do you believe that moving to a new location might accelerate your


    Yes (78%)

    No (7%)

    Unsure (15%)

    4) Have you ever been asked to take an international work assignment?

    Yes, and I took it (51%)

    Yes, but I turned it down (8%)

    No, I've never been asked (41%)

    5)  Have you ever relocated to a different region, state or country for a


    Yes (81%)

    No (19%)

    6)  In which region would you most like to work?*

    Africa (1%)

    Asia Pacific (16%)

    Europe (20%)

    Middle East (including India) (4%)

    North America (45%)

    Russia (1%)

    South America (8%)

    Other (1%)

    None -I would not work outside my home country (6%)

The Korn/Ferry Institute Executive Quiz is based on a global survey of executives registered within the firm's online Executive Center, Respondents from more than 65 countries, representing a wide spectrum of industries and functional areas, participated in the most recent Executive Quiz from April 7, 2010 to April 21, 2010.

The Korn/Ferry Institute was founded to serve as a premier global voice on a range of talent management and leadership issues. The Institute commissions, originates and publishes groundbreaking research utilizing Korn/Ferry's unparalleled expertise in executive recruitment and talent development combined with its preeminent behavioural research library. The Institute is dedicated to improving the state of global human capital for businesses of all sizes around the world. For further information, visit

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