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What motivates the flight of talent outside of Spain

The search for job opportunities on the international scene is an upward trend among Spanish professionals. However, contrary to what many may think, the economic factor is not the main determining factor of this talent drain. In fact, recent studies indicate that Spain, taking into account GDP per inhabitant, is the third country in the European Union with a higher salary behind Germany and Italy.

In this scenario, why is it increasingly common for Spaniards to seek employment in other European countries? Susana Palencia, head of the Global Cross Sourcing program, a division of the HR multinational Synergie specializing in international recruitment, points out that “Although remuneration is a relevant factor, there are qualitative aspects that motivate the search for job opportunities in an international context”.

Specifically, Palencia acknowledges that “In recent years, what is called as a quality jobwhich refers to factors that go beyond remuneration and that positively influence the emotional well-being of the worker, having a direct impact on their level of satisfaction, motivation and work performance”. Currently, it should be noted that, according to the report ‘The work and employment of the future: debates, experiences and trends’ carried out by Funcas, in Spain the quality of employment is 10% lower than the European average.

For this reason, from Synergie they warn that “it is important that the quality of work in Spain is equal to what is offered in Europe in order to retain national talent and increase the capacity to attract international talent”.

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Qualitative aspects that motivate the search for employment abroad

  1. Telecommuting. Although the pandemic accelerated the process of implementing teleworking in Spanish companies, the rate of penetration of this modality is still lower than in the rest of Europe. Currently, for 5 out of 10 people who are looking for a job, telecommuting is a determining factor when choosing a job. “In Europe, companies trust employees more and understand that their productivity does not decrease despite working remotely and this is, without a doubt, an aspect highly valued by professionals when looking for a job outside the country”, Susana Palencia points out.
  2. Flexibility. Aspects such as self-management of time and the conciliation between work and personal life are issues highly valued by professionals. In fact, as stated in the 2022 Work Trend Index study, 57% of Spaniards prioritize flexibility when choosing a job. Taking this percentage into account, from Synergie they point out that “in the European framework there is greater labor flexibility and that is an aspect that draws a lot of attention to the Spanish”.
  3. Considerations. It is becoming more and more common to offer workers a bonus in remuneration through compensation, a trend that is more present in the European context than in Spain. “Coverage of residence expenses, medical coverage, payment of the gym or daycare receipt or restaurant vouchers are some of the considerations most valued by professionals seeking employment outside of Spain”.
  4. Recognition and promotion. Opportunities to evolve within a company maintain motivation and increase employee commitment. “Professionals who develop in the European context have more possibilities to evolve and climb positions both in the country of destination and when looking for a job on their return to Spain” say Synergie sources.
  5. Internationalization. In general, highly qualified Spaniards find job opportunities outside of Spain in companies that operate internationally. This possibility offers a scenario where professionals have the opportunity to work in an international context that enriches them on a technical and personal level. “Internationalization and cultural exchange are added values ​​that add qualitative aspects to the curriculum.”

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