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Why expat dreams turn sour

Arjan Toor, CEO - Cigna Europe

Expats are suffering stress levels like never before – and in a post-Covid world of economic and political uncertainty, for many the expat dream is over, new global research reveals.

More than 3,000 expats from around the world took part in the annual Cigna 360 Global Well-Being Survey, which found that just 4 in 10 are able to maintain their current standard of living – with 20% of those surveyed reporting they suffer from unmanageable stress.

The top reported stressors are the cost-of-living crisis (34%), personal finance (31%), and uncertainty about the future (28%) – whilst 4-in-10 (41%) of those who say they are stressed can’t sleep at night and more than a third (33%) are suffering from depression.

Arjan Toor, CEO, Cigna Europe, said: “The last few years have been especially challenging for the globally mobile.  As global issues continue to hit the headlines daily, it’s no surprise that they are taking a toll on the well-being of expats.”

“The exciting globally mobile lifestyle that once appealed to so many, may have changed forever.”

Work-life balance is critical in reducing stress, yet 9 in 10 (89%) are working in ‘always on’ conditions and more than half (54%) are working out of hours at least four days out of the working week.

Almost three quarters (73%) of those surveyed say they have “re-evaluated life’s priorities” since the pandemic, with more than a quarter of aspiring expats saying flexible hours are a must, and 16% saying they want the ability to work from any location in the world.

Toor added: “These figures are concerning, and it’s more important than ever that people are taking time to look after their Whole Health. They must take positive actions to reduce stress and avoid burnout. At Cigna, we have a host of products and services that allow employers to meet the needs of every type of employee, including our new mental health initiative that features a suite of new products and services designed by clinical experts.”

Burned Out Overseas – The State of Expat Life 2022

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