Wall Street used to be a well-known dead end-a small but powerful team of investment bankers, fund managers and CEOs, a stone’s throw away from each other. As the trend of outsourcing continues, globalization has destroyed this original structure forever. The financial industry has followed other industries in trying to cut costs to help improve the bottom line. The transfer of financial work overseas provides greater cost efficiency, expansion of working hours, and direct access to emerging markets.
This creates a new paradigm for financial professionals seeking employment outside their home country. Those who have recently been slipped by pink must conduct old-fashioned research before packing up and shutting down utilities. First of all, we should thoroughly consider the differences in language, culture, and expected salary levels. Otherwise, there are many options for overseas financial work.
- Due to the emerging middle class in other countries such as China, a large amount of financial work has been transferred overseas, providing financial professionals with greater flexibility.
- One of the best ways to get a financial job overseas is to work for a U.S. financial services company that does business internationally.
- Given that there are so many factors to consider, establishing a pros and cons list based on considerations such as language barriers, salary differences, and cultural factors may help make the decision.
Why overseas markets are growing
Moving business overseas is not just a function of new capital opportunities; there is more. A new middle class has emerged in the developing economies of the world, especially in the developing economies of Asia and India. This middle class continues to expand. Consumers need more complex goods and services, from mobile phones to investments. The world economy was forced to rebalance. Companies rely less on the needs of the United States, and rely more on these emerging economies.
The financial industry is learning what retail manufacturers have known for decades: labor prices in emerging countries may be significantly lower than in developed countries. This is important in a challenging economic era. The company has been outsourcing financial work for many years, but many of the work is back-office operations, such as information technology and telephone support. Today, more front office, financial and research related work is also shifting.
Where the financial work goes
In the past, the world’s financial centers have always been New York and London. Then in Asia, the company opened offices in Hong Kong and Singapore and India. Now, the strategy is to transfer financial jobs to countries with emerging growth potential, and they can be anywhere. Major investment companies are relocating key employees to the Middle East, Latin America and even Eastern Europe. China’s explosive economic growth also surprised the world market.
Many banks, brokerage companies and accounting firms often transfer senior managers to these international locations to stay indefinitely.
Obtain an overseas work permit
The first thing to know about looking for a financial job overseas is that you must obtain a permit to work in the country where you plan to move. Work permits (temporary work or foreigners) are difficult to obtain, especially if your husband or wife also needs one, because some countries only allow one spouse to work. Obtaining permanent residency status may be more difficult.
In some cases, a potential employer may have to provide you with a guarantee, and even so, you can only work for that employer in that particular country. One of the best ways to get a financial job overseas is to work for a U.S. financial services company that does business internationally. You can gain valuable experience in a culture that already operates on multiple continents.
To learn about the legal procedures required to work in a specific country, you should contact the consulate or embassy of the country you wish to work in. The website of the US State Department provides a link to the embassy.
How to find a financial job overseas
Traditionally, the two ways to find a financial job abroad are to find an employer that will hire you and place you in a specific position overseas, or visit the country where you want to work and find an employer to guarantee your job there .
Investment banks, hedge funds and private equity companies all provide excellent opportunities for overseas employment. Recruiters who specialize in overseas internships can be very helpful.
Under normal circumstances, word of mouth can also be an important source of finding a job abroad. Talking with other professionals working in the country/region of interest to you is invaluable. Before making such a move, you want to have a picture that is as realistic as possible, and this picture is best drawn by someone currently working in the environment.
What to consider before moving
Assuming you can obtain an overseas work permit, you should consider many factors before moving.
For short-term overseas internships (sometimes called rotations), speaking the local language may not be necessary; but for long-term assignments, you should plan to learn the language. Research ahead to find out if you can understand or be understood by locals, and what are the adult education opportunities for language learning. You may even want to take a basic online course for a more comfortable experience.
Be sure to highlight language skills on your resume. If you have no foreign work experience, please include personal activities and education to develop foreign language skills.
Be sure to put your salary within the range of the cost of living in this country. For example, a salary of US$250,000 per year in London may not reach the level of US$50,000 per year in Delhi. Considering the impact of income tax, it may be higher than that of the United States, or it may not be at all. Make sure you know whether you will be paid in U.S. dollars or the local currency, as the exchange rate can significantly increase or decrease your net income and is completely out of your control.
You should also consider non-cash compensation, such as benefits and vacation time. Most foreign countries provide more vacations than American companies, which can make lower salaries more worthwhile. In many cases, if your employer conducts a headhunter for you, the company will also pay for your housing costs, at least during the transition period.
Some questions you should consider asking yourself are:
- According to Western standards, is your health insurance adequate? Do you have to supplement it with a separately purchased insurance policy?
- And, what about the vacation home and other visiting flights? Will they be insured by your employer, or do you have to pay out of your pocket?
These additional costs add up quickly, and in the long run, the seemingly sweet compensation plan may taste a bit bitter.
Those who are eager to gain international experience may put this potential trap aside, thinking that they are willing to adapt to almost all overseas life, but this is often easier said than done. People work differently everywhere, which can be frustrating for people accustomed to high-pressure financial work.
It is often difficult for Westerners to adapt to different views on time. For example, American workers tend to view the working day as linear, with a series of fixed events occurring one after another. In other countries/regions, time usually has more flexibility. The 8 am appointment may not start at 8 am, or may not even happen at all, which can frustrate American expats who are accustomed to tight schedules and general urgency to complete work on their own schedule.
Considering so many factors to consider, when you consider an overseas career, it is beneficial to establish a pros and cons list based on all the above considerations. Conducting comprehensive due diligence will reduce unexpected challenges and make the transition smoother. The best advice for evaluating overseas financial work is embodied in the carpenter’s oath, “Measure twice and cut once.”