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Females in UK feel less qualified for employment positions abroad than males

33% of people in full-time employment in UK have left a job due to lack of opportunities abroad or other branches, according to new study.

LONDON, UK – 06 September 2018 –  According to a new report from Topia, a global mobility management company, and Wakefield Research,  63% of females feel less qualified for open positions abroad compared to their current role, than 48% males in the UK.

The report titled Mobility in Focus: Identifying the Talent-Mobility Disconnect explores people’s perceptions of taking job opportunities abroad to benefit career development, and how organisations are dealing with building global mobility programs to fulfill changing business and talent expectations. Overall, 1,000 adults employed full-time in a professional setting in the UK and the US took part, as well as 200 senior HR and Mobility professionals in the UK and US.

Surveying a total of 500 UK employees in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the study also found that 34% of females feel less optimistic that moving abroad will advance their careers, compared to 18% of males. Interestingly, males are more likely to be moved around international offices – with 27% moving more than once, unlike 17% of females.

“More needs to be done to level the playing field when it comes to female advancement in the workplace,” said Topia founder and CEO Brynne Kennedy. “When you look at the role global experience plays in fostering future leaders, we must ensure these opportunities are afforded to all employees. As such, mobility policies need to be inclusive, encouraging females and other minority groups to work abroad to advance their careers. Otherwise big opportunities are missed to nurture great talent.”

Elsewhere in the report, it found that 33% of UK employees have left a job because they were not given a relocation opportunity. Working abroad is becoming increasingly more important to advance people’s careers, with 29% of millennials and 22% of gen Z respondents in the UK having already been relocated to other offices more than once. This is a lot more than 17% of baby boomers, who have at least two more decades in the world of work. However, only 41% millennials expect cash to relocate unlike 62% gen X and 69% baby boomers; millennials want cultural support, such as language lessons, when relocating instead.


Other UK highlights include:

  • Education and healthcare sectors less likely to move people – the tech sector is leading the way instead in the UK

  • People are more likely to STAY in the energy sector if allowed to apply for open positions before they are made public

  • In the UK, 46% of people in the tech sector would stay at a company if offered a permanent relocation opportunity, compared to 38% in finance, 33% in energy and 32% in healthcare.

  • 33% of gen Z have already left multiple jobs due to lack of relocation opportunities, and millennials are more likely to leave a company if not given opportunities abroad

  • 63% of millennials are more likely to feel more qualified for open positions in their company compared to current role than 38% of gen X and 23% of baby boomers

  • US employees are less likely to leave current employment over relocation opportunities than UK employees

“It’s no secret that millennials are causing HR and mobility teams to re-think how a mobility strategy is carried out – what these results show is that giving millennials and gen Z opportunities abroad helps retain younger talent in your workforce. It also shows that financial incentives do not necessarily drive these generations – it’s all about experience and cultural understanding,” said Steve Black co-founder, Topia.


The Challenges in the Mobility World

According to the survey, the time and cost involved in implementing a strategic mobility program are the biggest obstacles companies face. HR executives already spend an average of 28 hours per month—with one-quarter spending an entire workweek or more—on relocation admin tasks, such as researching work or visa requirements, filling out local tax documents or coordinating benefits for employees.

And, more than half say the cost of a relocation program prevents them from adopting or advancing their mobility strategy, despite more than 90 percent recognising that mobility improves business growth, agility and diversity and inclusion.

“The good news here is that, thanks to advancements in global mobility management technology, there are tools and solutions that overcome these obstacles, to make operating a GMM program more efficient and affordable,” Kennedy concludes. “I think the evidence is clear: companies must take immediate action to better communicate about relocation and internal job opportunities, and implement modern, effective solutions to help them manage a strategic GMM program. It’s the only way they’ll win at the talent game.”


Related Resources

·      Topia Overview:

·      Mobility in Focus report:

·      Mobility in Focus webinar:



The Topia Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( using an email invitation and an online survey. It included  200 Senior HR & Talent Mobility Executives including 100 in the U.S. and 100 in the U.K.,; and 1,000 adults employed full-time in a professional setting including 500 in the U.S. and 500 in the U.K., between June 22 and July 6, 2018.


Topia (formerly MOVE Guides and Polaris Global Mobility), the global mobility management company, reduces barriers between people and places to enable employees to work from anywhere through its integrated suite of mobility solutions and services. Over 100 global companies rely on Topia’s technology and service platform for relocation and expatriate management, tax and payroll, and immigration data across more than 100 countries with maximum operational efficiency, employee satisfaction and engagement, and assured compliance. Topia’s philanthropic initiative, Mobility4All, provides a portion of revenue and employee time to assist individuals fleeing poverty and conflict by moving to new locations.

Founded in 2012, Topia has raised over $90M from New Enterprise Associates and Notion Capital and operates headquarters in San Francisco and London, with 17 offices throughout the Americas, EMEA and APAC. For more information, go to and follow Topia on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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