PwC’s Talent Mobility 2020, The next Generation of International Assignments (2010) shows that the number of people working outside their home country is expected to increase by 50% over the next decade.

Relocating employees to the Middle East and Africa can be daunting. A failed relocation can be very costly for both the company and the candidate.
The average cost of an unsuccessful relocation is $65,000, and has known to exceed a few million depending on the level, position and benefits offered to the candidate. A basic repatriation costs between $20,000 and $60,000 once all flights, shipments of household goods, short-term accommodations, rentals on current properties, and any ancillary costs have been paid. Add to that starting the recruiting process from scratch when it doesn’t work out, and you are talking a very significant investment for almost no return.

Change the scenario and say that the employee who experienced the failed relocation remains with the company back in their original location. The costs of a failed relocation have a heavy impact on that employee. Those invisible costs can include: low self-esteem, lack of motivation, family problems and depression, which translates into additional costs for the employer in the form of inefficiency and decreased productivity.

GRAPHIC – 70% of failed relocations are due to the family not settling in and adapting – The Impact Group
Relocation is named one of the three most stressful things a human can experience after Death and Divorce. This makes sense to anyone who has ever shifted their lives from home, wherever it may be, to the Middle East. The Impact Group found that most relocations fail not because of the employee, but because their family members do not quickly adapt to the new location.

To mitigate this, organizations with talent-centric practices are first ensuring they have the right candidate to relocate and, second, adopting relocation assistance services that support the expatriate’s personal and professional lives.
It is critical that both the company and the relocating expat are thoroughly educated in advance through cross-cultural training on what to expect when moving from one country to the next. The relocated employee and his/her family learn about the new location’s culture, customs and etiquette so they are prepared for the differences they will observe.

In addition, experts aid in finding the right schools for children and support for the spouse to make the new location quickly feel like their “home away from home.” It is these seemingly small actions that ultimately determine a successful relocation by ensuring the happiness of the entire family.

According to Impact Group, an astounding 10.2 work days are lost when an employee moves from one U.S. state to another. In my experience, an unaided international move to the Middle East or Africa can often is at least double that, as the worries and stresses are compounded.
If done professionally with the correct support and assistance, relocating to the Middle East can be viewed as an epic journey. And although it comes with many stresses, it can be reflected on as a momentous time when an individual and their family had the opportunity to join the melting pot of expatriates from all corners of the world.
Shirley Doran leads Cielo’s Mobility division, linking relocation to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and Executive Search. Shirley’s career spans more than 17 years in the MEA region’s relocation industry.


Reach out to her directly at or connect with her on LinkedIn.