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Enter the Dragon - the Marketing Exodus of 2012?

  |  January 19, 2012   |  Comments

Digital marketing talent from the U.K. and United States is jetting off to long-haul destinations.

It's the beginning of another glorious new year in digital marketing and already people are speculating about what's in store for the coming 12 months. What changes will Google throw our way? Will social media continue to dominate our everyday lives online? How much richer will Mark Zuckerberg be when Facebook's IPO finally happens? All heated topics of debate around the office water coolers.

So most of us won't quite make as much money as Facebook's founders will, but our own careers are important. And the beginning of the year is always a busy time within recruitment as people start thinking about job change. Historically, about 99 percent of career moves are based in the same geographic location, but recently this has started to change. I guess the world really is a smaller place these days.

One trend that increased throughout 2011 and I predict will increase in the coming year is the move of experienced digital marketers overseas. I'm not talking about relatively short distance moves as in London to Paris, but of people jetting off to long-haul destinations to take up new jobs. So where are some of the best U.K. and U.S. talent heading to? In one word, Asia.

Certain destinations dominate this emigration pattern and these are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and Japan. The lure of exotic locations and generally better weather, certainly for us British anyway, is one temptation. But what really appeals is the challenge and the money. These are exciting markets where people can make an impact and enjoy a significant career boost.

As for salaries, well this is a major lure. It is not uncommon for people to be receiving 100 percent pay rises by relocating to places such as Singapore or Hong Kong. Some locations even offer significant tax advantages for overseas workers. It is also widely recognized that those people who have international experience can often command better salaries on their return to their home countries. That's if they do come home. Many are now making their permanent homes in these new locations.

For applicants from certain countries such as the U.K., they are also finding it a lot easier to gain work visas for places such as Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. These countries have strong historical relationships.

Many of these destinations are finding it very difficult to hire local talent and have had no other option than to turn to more established market places such as London and the United States. The only sure way to get these applicants to move is to tempt them with the old "golden carrot." Money is rarely a factor when it comes to changing jobs, but everyone has his or her price and these big increases are too tempting for many people.

This, in turn, will start to have an impact on local markets as talent is lost overseas. Companies in cities such as London or New York are already finding it very difficult to hire. Staff shortages are still very acute in the West and this trend will see some very influential people depart for new pastures.

Other locations beginning to come up are within mainland China, with Shanghai and Beijing leading the way. Local costs can be significantly lower than say those in the U.K., With the huge salaries on offer, people are achieving a lifestyle they would not normally have if they stayed in the U.K. The old barriers of language have been wiped away and it is no longer important for western talent to speak languages such as Mandarin.

It will be interesting to see how many people make the leap overseas this year and if any notable industry figures go too. My own personal thought is that this trend will continue as some people will find it easier to gain major promotions in these locations and fast track their careers at a vastly improved rate.


Jake Langwith

Jake Langwith is managing director and founder at International Head Hunters Stone Carter where he specializes within SEO, web analytics, and social media. With over 17 years experience across the U.K., Europe, and Asia Pacific markets he has established a strong global reputation and works in close partnership with some of the world's leading digital agencies and brands.

Jake is actively involved in the digital marketing community. He's also an avid blogger and a speaker at SEO-related industry events such as the SES conference series. He takes a keen interest in his market sector and outside of recruitment runs several websites where he puts into practice SEO and marketing strategies. Jake is particularly interested in SEO and conversion strategy within e-commerce.

A self-confessed search and tech geek, Jake is married with two children and lives in London where he was born and bred.

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