Homesick Scientists

Workers in the life science professions often travel abroad to pursue career opportunities. The problem is, they tend to get homesick fast.

According to a study from recruiting firms Hobson Prior, 43% of life science professionals who move overseas for a permanent job stay for just two years or less.

That’s a lot, since the survey also revealed that 40% of respondents had moved overseas, at some point, for their career.

Given this tendency toward homesickness, how do employers keep their scientists in-house?

Hobson Prior said that organisations should offer “generous and tailored” relocation support. They should also provide on-going support to help international hires and their families settle in.

This might include assistance with school fees, language courses and their partner’s job search.

Do life science workers have more delicate sensibilities than professionals in other fields do? The study didn’t give an answer, since it didn’t compare workers across categories.

However, it’s a safe bet that many life science professionals are used to working in a more cloistered, ordered environment than, say, travelling sales professionals are. Maybe they need special care, if employers wish to retain their best overseas workers.

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