One year after the start of the pandemic, how are expatriates doing ?

One year after the start of the pandemic that has affected the entire world and reshuffled the deck in terms of expatriation and work organisation, it became urgent to have data. This is the purpose of this first survey of the Expatriation Barometer 2021.

How do expatriates experience this situation and what is the impact on their morale ?
We collected nearly 1,000 responses to this first survey, which was relayed to over 92 countries. 
This wide distribution allows us to draw up a strong report and a precise analysis of expatriate morale. 

Here is a preview of the results of this major survey.


We know that expatriation rhymes with adaptation and we can see that this is once again true. The morale of expatriates and spouses remains correct, with strong disparities between men, women, employees and spouses (all sexes combined) and the geographical area of expatriation. 

Out of an average of 100, the morale of all respondents is 61. This is at least 20 points lower than the level found in previous surveys.

"We have adapted to the situation to avoid sinking and to give the children hope for the future

"Day by day" seems to be the motto of expatriates today, a proof of resilience in this ever-changing context. 

"A situation where you don't know what the situation is anymore

"Overall we are doing well. We miss the lack of prospects, travel, being able to go to France, seeing friends. And some days it weighs more".



What is clear is the difference between male and female employees and their spouses

  • Employees (both men and women) have a higher morale than spouses: 64 compared to 55. The fact of being in control of the expatriation is an asset for maintaining optimism and, above all, control over the rest of the mobility process. 
  • The spouse is in a more passive situation, and has less control over the data. We will discuss the spouse's vision in more detail after the analysis of this month's survey dedicated to them.


Disparity for expatriate morale in different expatriation zone

Two continents seem more pleasant to live in and expatriate morale is higher: Africa and South America. Is it easier with sun ? A notable exception: France has a particularly high level of expatriate morale with a score of 70/100. 

The impact on the pace of work has an inversely proportional effect on morale. Working less often means a loss of job or a reduction of activity due to the health context. 
Teleworking also scores low on morale. The need for social relations is increasingly felt. 

  • "As a result of teleworking, I work more than usual and mix my private and professional life.
  • "The flow of information and interaction that has been in place for almost a year now (online meetings, emails, telephone etc.) does not replace real (face-to-face) contact. "
  • "I did not expect to be so eager to get back to an office and professional premises full of colleagues ! " 

Confidence in the future

This is a strong indicator that catches our attention, the level of confidence in the future is low: 42/100. 
This lack of visibility in the short term, 6 months, shows that the morale of expatriates and spouses at a given moment may be correct, but all the indicators are not at their best. 
We look forward to seeing you in 6 months' time to take the temperature of expatriation again.

To go further

We will remember that expatriates oscillate between fatigue and resilience.

How long will this last ?

The paradox of this situation is obvious: evolving from day to day without being able to project oneself into the future.

  • "Every day, I reinvent myself to survive.
  • "The anxiety comes from the absence of perspective.

Our survey on expatriate spouses will remain open until 31 March. Please feel free to circulate it ! 

If you would like to join the Expatriation Barometer 2021 board to measure the weather of your employees and their families, contact us. To learn more about the Expatriation Barometer, follow this link.

Board members


Together, we care for international talents

Sabine Garnier-Posez

After studies and a professional career in economics and accounting, Sabine moved with her family to Morocco, Brazil, Germany and is now in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Sabine joined Expat Communication as Project Manager of the Expatriation Barometer.

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