Overseas Opportunities Help Retain Accounting Talent

In a world where cross-border business activities have become increasingly frequent, people with international perspectives are highly valued by employers. Finance and accounting professionals have benefited a lot from globalisation since they are needed in businesses large and small, across all industries and in every country.

The International Talent Mobility Report reveals that two-thirds of finance and accounting professionals in Hong Kong are interested in working overseas. However, only 8% of Hong Kong employers send employees overseas or to Mainland China on a regular basis. This shows that there are not enough opportunities to work abroad despite strong employee desire to obtain overseas experience.

According to the report, the key reasons employees seek international work opportunities include a desire for career growth (24%), better salary packages (21%), improved overall lifestyle (14%) and new work experiences (12%).

On the employer side, the key reasons for sending staff on overseas secondments include: encourage the transfer of knowledge and expertise between teams (62%), enhance the training and development of employees (52%), increase diversity of experience within the organisation (44%) and plug current skills shortage (35%).

From the findings, it is clear that overseas secondments can bring benefits to both employers and employees. The report points out that if companies have high-potential staff members who think overseas work experience is important, it may be better to offer the opportunity. This is because if employees find it difficult to gain international experience with their current company, they may seek opportunities in other companies.

To retain talent, employers who can offer international opportunities are recommended to make best use of this advantage by developing an overseas secondment programme. With such programme in place, employers can arrange regular overseas assignments for employees who demonstrate good performance and will stay with the company for the long term. Employers should also plan for further career development when an employee completes an overseas assignment. This will ensure the leadership, experience and diversity of skills acquired are retained within the organisation.

The report is jointly presented by ACCA and Robert Half based on an online survey of 645 finance and accounting professionals from Hong Kong.

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