Orientation – The researcher, under the supervision of Dr Mark Bussin sought to explore and understand the factors that influence skilled professionals to accept expatriate assignments.
Research purpose – identify predominant factors that motivate skilled professional to accept or decline expatriate offers and understand the impact that age has on the priority of these factors.
Motivation for the study – There is little research that has been done thus far that identifies the factors that motivate skilled professionals to accept expatriate assignments and the impact that age may have on the priority of these factors.
Research design, approach and method – The researcher used an exploratory qualitative research approach and, more specifically, semi structured interviews.
Main findings – Career, family and geographic location appear to be key motivational factors for skilled professionals to accept expatriate assignments. There is also an increasing importance being given to the presence of a comprehensive company policy with regard to expatriate assignments which gives the skilled professional a sense of comfort when making the decision. In addition age does not appear to influence the factors that motivate skilled professionals to accept an expatriate assignment however importance to various factors may change dependent on age and position in career at the time of making the decision.
Practical/managerial implications – As a result of globalisation which is currently a very prevalent influence on the economic environment, there is an increased need for skilled professionals to accept expatriate assignments in multi-national companies. It is therefore important for employers to understand what motivates skilled professionals to accept these expatriate assignments.
Contribution/value-add – Although this study is explorative and descriptive, it suggests that if management at multi-national companies are aware of the factors that motivate skilled professionals to accept expatriate assignments, they stand a better chance of being able to fill positions appropriately if they are able to meet the needs of the skilled professionals.