Listen up ladies! If you want to break through the glass ceiling sooner, consider working for awhile in a foreign country. In a recent survey of successful, professional women, 100 percent say they would recommend working abroad to others.
Granted, 91 percent of the women surveyed are already working abroad or looking to do so, according to a study called the Global Professionals on the Move Report 2011 -- which was commissioned by the Hydrogen Group, a recruiting firm. Still, the opinions of those who have been there and done that, can't help but be useful.
They say that working overseas is generally an extremely positive experience, with the vast majority of respondents reporting that it has improved their career prospects, salaries, living conditions and personal development. A full 93 percent who have worked overseas say they would do it again in a heartbeat.
When it comes to employers themselves, 63 percent saying international experience was important to their company.
Emma Halls, director of Hydrogen ANZ, says that her clients are increasingly requesting women with international experience, with banks leading the way. "With gender diversity at the forefront of our clients' minds, women with international experience will see their CVs fast-tracked through to interview," she says.
Unfortunately, however, Hydrogen's research also shows that not enough women, in comparison to men, are getting overseas experience. Men outnumber women four to one in working abroad, although women do express a willingness to relocate almost as much as men -- 41 percent of women, compared to 46 percent of men.
The report also reveals women who work overseas tend to be based closer to home than their male counterparts, and are more eager to return home rather than stay overseas when it comes to their next career move. While women and men were equally satisfied with working abroad, women were less satisfied than men regarding pay; 84 percent of men said moving abroad had improved their salary, only 74 percent of women reported the same. Similarly, 78 percent of men said their living conditions had improved, while that was the case for only 68 percent of women.
Claudia Jonczyk of ESCP Europe believes the findings resonate with much that is already known about the root causes of too few women in top positions. "It has been repeatedly shown that women face particular hurdles on the way to the top that men simply don't have to face," she says. "The ones that do choose to work abroad are helping to break down the traditional barriers and having an enjoyable experience at the same time."
Next: Interested in Working Overseas? 3 Work Abroad Programs with Good Pay.
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