Competence development for expatriates and employability for repatriates

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Sociologi

Abstract: Problem: Many studies are written about employees stationed abroad by multinational corporations, but nothing about non-profit organisations. The NPOs from the Swedish idea-driven sector also have employees working abroad. This thesis looks at competence development opportunities for these expatriates and what their employability situation is like after moving back to Sweden. Method: The data in this qualitative study originate from interviews with individuals from different organisations. They worked as expatriates at least three years and returned and repatriated to Sweden at least a year ago. Findings: Different kinds of competence development are available to expatriates. Whether they take advantage of this depends largely on the individual’s motivation, but also on international partner organisations’ capacity and what resources are set aside by Swedish employers. The competence development show some, but not a definite correlation to employability once the expatriate has repatriated back to Sweden. The international assignment is usually a project employment which ends as they return, so the repatriate does not get much help from the NPO in transitioning back to their home country. The results are clear that that the individual is most vulnerable during the period when they are trying to re-establish a life at home. Swedish employers are unsure how to handle a job applicant with international experience and more often than not, regard the years abroad as empty space on their CV. It is up to the repatriate to use their social skills, social network and connections, be flexible, and motivate themselves to market themselves as employable individuals in order to find a job.

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