Sometimes one comes across candidate emails and resumes and you have to sit back, take a deep breath and wonder if they are part of the real world or live a fictitious life in a parallel universe.
It is amazing to see how many people are living a life of ignorance or are completely out of touch with the industry norms, despite the fact that so much information can be found on the internet these days.
While we covered the demands of some expats in previous articles (including the one with a request for a ground floor apartment with wheelchair access for the mother-in law or escorted first class travel for their beloved pedigree cat as it does not like cages!) we never seem to see the end of demands in what is a fast changing work environment with the likely outcome, the end of the expat as we have known him(her) for decades.
A recent applicant that was in touch was seeking a salary upwards of US$250,000 plus business/first class travel only, money for shipping personal goods, dental & medical insurance and twice yearly tickets back home. Oh, not to mention a percentage of business turnover… and if you thought this GM wants it all…well, you’d be wrong. It actually wasn’t a GM candidate that demanded this but a Chef… and not even a “Star Chef” at that…
You really ask yourself, what are they on?
The expat hotelier as we have known him (or her) is slowly disappearing and so are the, mostly reasonable, salary & benefits.
The hospitality industry is becoming increasingly family unfriendly and particularly for those with children. Family expat packages are steadily becoming a thing of the past as increasingly few employers are willing to shoulder the expense of relocating a large family or paying school fees.
There is of course another side to be considered and today many expats are single because life and the way we live has changed dramatically. Being married is no longer a ‘must’ to obtain visas or residence in a foreign country, and many single expats share accommodation because they are on a gross taxable salary package and wish to ‘bank’ their allowances.
Using Singapore as a good example. 25-30 years ago, hotels were allowed 4 expats and they mostly worked in F&B. Today hotels in Singapore are able to hire an unlimited number of expats because of the shortage of local staff but on ‘local salaries and packages’ and have an increasingly well trained and educated local workforce who are on par in many jobs with expats at management level.
Similar situations are commonplace across South East Asia.
There are plenty of expat’s willing to relocate without family, but this is often confined to Asian expatriates who move because of better salaries while the family stay back home.
The trends in the Middle East and Asia are followed very strongly by the Eastern European countries who are giving single candidates priority at all times.
A look at the overall picture unveils the changing trends in hospitality employment and the increasingly limited market that remains for the traditional expat hotel executive.
Quality employers are able to pick and choose their candidates and some are still willing to accommodate young families with infants but that is increasingly rare.
We have seen a trend in recent years where many Australian expats return home as soon as the children get to school age. That is also a way of getting internationally experienced hoteliers to bring back their expertise to what is a rather introspective hospitality industry.
Plan your life before you take the big step to move overseas. Prioritize your personal goals with your professional aspirations in mind for a balanced and happy life.
About the author
Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.
For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net