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HR and the UK – How Britain is viewed by other nationalities

New survey of business partners who have relocated to the UK, as the nation boasts kind, friendly people and a great sense of security.

According to the results of a new survey released today (Monday July 7th, 2014), Britain is a land of many pleasant surprises for people who choose to relocate here for business. But one area proving a headache for newly-arrived expatriate families, is connecting to the internet, telephone and other utilities. The survey was conducted by ACS international schools amongst accompanying partners, those who moved to the UK with their partner relocating on business from another country.

The top three best things about relocation to the UK were described as nature, (greenery and the outdoors) first, followed by friendly and kind people second, and in third place the country’s diverse history and culture. A quarter of respondents were pleasantly surprised by the weather, and a third, 31 percent, by the social and cultural diversity. Rating the services and support offered on arrival to the UK, the worst rated service was telephone or internet connection, followed by buying a car and in third place connecting to the utilities.

Asked ‘How does the reality of daily life in the UK compare with your expectations?’, well over a half, 59 percent, were most pleasantly surprised by how quickly their children settled in, followed by ‘the quality of the residential environment I now live in.

Top five positive surprises for the partners of professionals relocating to the UK


How quickly my children settled in 59%

The quality of the residential environment I now live in 54%t

How safe I feel going out 53%

The variety of cultural and social activities available 47%

Variety and quality of food 40%


Business assignments to the UK, where senior level executives relocate here temporarily for work, can represent significant financial investments by the employer. The second most common reason for them to fail is ‘the inability of the family to adjust’. (Source: Cartus Global Relocation Survey). This makes the welfare of the accompanying partner and their family very important for global business success. This is also why ACS International Schools, with the largest expatriate community in South East England, and with seventy different nationalities represented across its three UK schools, has conducted this survey of accompanying partners and their experience of relocating to the UK.

The results show that a wide group of organisations help support a successful relocation to the UK. Asked who provided useful support for the different aspects of their move, ‘employers and HR departments’ were rated best for professional help by forty percent of respondents. For practical matters, ‘relocation agents’ topped the poll rated best at 19 percent; and ‘school’ was rated best for social support by almost a third, 31 one percent.

Almost half, 47 percent of the 85 respondents had given up a job to come to the UK with their partner and family, and for themselves found the greatest levels of support came from friends, 33 percent; followed family, 23 percent; expat groups, 21 percent and school, 14 percent. There are clearly many positives to relocating to the UK, and when asked what were the top three things our respondents were secretly pleased to leave behind, the list placed family and family dramas first, second were old routines and in third place politics and security issues. Leaving behind in-laws as a positive was, thankfully, mentioned by a just a few.

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