Survey says most gig workers would relocate for international contract jobs

(BUSINESS WIRE)–Globally, the on-demand gig economy is creating on-the-go gig workers, who are willing to relocate to other countries for the right contract job. In fact, 83 percent of gig workers in the U.K., U.S. and Singapore are interested in relocating to another country for a contract job, according to a three-country survey of 600 gig workers by Wakefield Research for Graebel Companies, Inc.

The global trend toward contract work is shifting the boundaries – literally – on the permanent, full-time employment norm, with predictions that more than half of employees will be contract or gig workers in the near future. Gig workers in the three advanced-economy countries surveyed expressed similar motivations and expectations for relocating internationally, providing global companies with insights on how to court and cater to this new generation of workers.

“The survey tells us that companies must focus on worker well-being and relocation support in order to hire the best gig workers, provide exceptional experiences, and make them feel more at home in their new country,” said Bill Graebel, SGMS, chairman and CEO of Graebel, a leading provider of global talent and workplace mobility solutions for Fortune 500 and Global 1000 firms. “As more workers increasingly seek and choose contract jobs, this will go a long way toward giving companies a competitive advantage in our dynamic gig economy.”

While contract workers are drawn to global relocations, they are still holding out for jobs with the right benefits. Almost 3 in 5 (57 percent) respondents said they’d rather move to a less desirable destination if the trade-off was better pay and benefits. Regionally, British (62 percent) and American (58 percent) gig workers are more receptive to a less desirable location if it meant better pay, compared to 51 percent of their Singaporean counterparts.

To attract world-class gig talent, companies need to offer benefits and support to make the relocation feasible. The top three benefits gig workers said they want employers to offer are:

  • Paid time off (94 percent), which seems especially important since contractors would move away from friends and family
  • Relocation cost and/or financial support for moving expenses (93 percent)
  • Repatriation assistance (93 percent) to help workers move back home after their contract is complete

In addition, gig workers would like help acclimating to day-to-day life in a different country, with the most important relocation support including a housing allowance and/or financial assistance for rent (92 percent); personal spending stipends (91 percent); language courses and/or cultural training (91 percent).

Other survey findings include:

  • Relocation Concerns and Professional Advantages: Gig workers’ top concerns about taking an international contract job are the lack of nearby friends or family (50 percent), complexity of navigating immigration processes (46 percent) and lack of work-life balance (45 percent). However, gig workers find important professional advantages and motivations in relocating to another country, including: enhancing their qualifications (43 percent); expanding their personal and professional networks (39 percent); and helping them overcome a challenge by learning to live in different environments (38 percent).
  • Global Mobility Across Generations: Younger people have fewer obligations, meaning they’re often freer to take global gigs. Nearly all Millennial gig workers surveyed (95 percent) would be interested in relocating to another country for a contract job, compared to 81 percent of Gen Xers and about 3 in 5 Boomers (57 percent).
  • Brexit Gig Exit?: After Brexit takes place,nearly 3 in 5 (58 percent) British gig workers are more likely to relocate from the U.K. to another EU country for a contract job, and 72 percent of British Millennials answered the same way. With Brexit, the flow of gig workers moving in and out of Britain is set to increase, meaning U.K. companies especially need to focus on retaining this talent pool.
  • Gig Worker Dream Cities: The top three cities global gig workers would like to relocate to are: Paris, New York and London. In fact, if contractors were offered a job in one of their dream cities, but the company didn’t cover relocation costs, 83 percent would still be likely to cover their own expenses and take the job.

The infographic below shares key findings from the survey.

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Graebel Gig Economy Survey Inforgraphic

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About the Survey

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 200 gig workers in each of three markets: U.K., U.S. and Singapore, between March 27 and April 10, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey.