Working in a global recruitment market, we talk with candidates looking to relocate a lot and we always try to help them make the right choice for them. It’s a big move and takes a lot of commitment, so its necessary to really think things through. For the most part, relocation can offer a wide variety of benefits, but before you make that move you need to ensure that your decision isn’t just grass-is-greener syndrome, and you’re doing it for the right reasons!
One recent salary report revealed that willingness to relocate was popular with respondents across all regions with over 70% saying they would relocate for work.
This is incredibly high; however, Data Science is a relatively young industry. The attraction of moving to a new country is more appealing to a younger workforce than a ‘veteran’ with 20-30 years’ experience that you may see more of in other industries. The tech hotspots across the world are becoming more and more popular – including Paris, Berlin, Singapore and, of course, the USA.
In our report, the USA was the most popular destination - even from USA residents, who would be willing to relocate for work interstate. Relocation from outside of the USA is difficult to come by and is only typically offered by larger companies who can support the H1B process. There are so many reasons why the USA is top of the list, the pull of Silicon Valley and the hot startup scene, geographical diversity, and generally, we’re talking better weather than here in the UK for example!
But, no matter where you have your sights set on, what should you consider before taking the plunge and moving for work?
Find out what is on offer in terms of relocation benefits and package. In the UK for example, a company can pay up to £8,000 tax-free, some companies will offer more but it is taxable. The amount can vary massively depending on personal circumstances - for example, if a candidate is selling and buying a house then they would typically have a higher cost to somebody moving into a rental. You may find companies offering the first month’s rent or even a company flat for a few months. If you’re moving within the same country, city to city or interstate, companies may help with removal costs or van hire. If you’re lucky, your company might offer financial assistance with the entire move - but, with that said, not all companies offer relocation assistance, so finding this out early on is pivotal.
Have you been there before or have you had a pre-assignment visit as part of the interview process? If not then arrange one. This might sound really obvious but, get to grips on what day to day life is like in your new hometown by visiting first. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of moving to a new city or country. You might have seen a glamorous representation of it on the TV, have visited as a tourist, or even just read a few great Condé Nast Traveller articles on it but that’s not going to help you weigh up whether this is a place to lay roots down. Make sure you do your research on things that will impact your day to day.
This relates to getting to know the facilities in the vicinity that you’ll need to use, such as schools, medical centers, transport links and the commute in... do these all match up with your expectations? Do some digging before moving, speak to teachers at prospective schools, find out the best routes to work. Checking out forums online from residents may also help locate other facilities and amenities, and get to know the area a bit more.
There are some great resources out there like numbeo.com where you can weigh up the cost of living v your benefits and salary package at your new role so you can get an idea of whether the offer is as good as it seems! Thinking of money and cost of living, there can also be tax implications. Consider taxation back home even if you are working overseas as dual taxation treaties can catch you out.
There are many pros to relocating for work as long as it’s right for you and if you’re lucky enough to get a role that offers this. If you’re young or just starting out, relocating can be a great way to gain experience of not only a new job but of other cultures and people. Future employers will be impressed by time spent abroad, and who knows what connections you’ll make in the meantime!