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Expat Burn Out Signals a ‘Huge Challenge’ for Employers


– Cigna 360 Global Well-Being Survey of 11,922 people worldwide reveals expat
stress has reached an all-time high, with almost all respondents feeling
symptoms of burnout
– Lifestyle is now more important than finances for those planning to move
overseas, a quarter plan to move to access better healthcare
– Top destination for existing expats to relocate to is Canada, with Australia
and the U.S. tied second

The vast majority of expats are burned out, stressed and reevaluating life and
work priorities for more flexibility or to be closer to family and friends,
according to a report based on the eighth edition of the Cigna 360 Well-Being

The report released today, Burned Out Overseas – The State of Expat Life 2022
(, found 90%
of expats are stressed and 98% have experienced symptoms of burnout – likely
driven by feeling unable to switch off from work. Expats are experiencing an
overwhelming sense of isolation, with 87% reporting feeling helpless, trapped
or defeated and 86% feeling detached or alone. Meanwhile, more than a third
(38%) are also concerned or uncertain about their financial situation.
Contributing to these findings is a mix of lifestyle, opportunity and work
culture factors. The study found 73% of current expats, and 75% of those who
plan to move overseas in the next two years, have spent more time reevaluating
their life priorities since the pandemic. Lifestyle now replaces finances as
the top priority for those planning to move overseas.

Jason Sadler, President, Cigna International Markets, said employers face a
real challenge in meeting this lifestyle shift and rethinking the expat value
proposition. “Employers may face huge challenges in filling overseas
assignments in the future. The exciting, rewarding, globally mobile lifestyle
that used to sum-up the ‘expat dream’ has changed and more people are now
prioritizing lifestyle, family and friends when planning moves.”

Healthcare has become a priority for all groups, with 23% of existing expats
considering moving to gain access to better healthcare. Work life balance is
also critical, with more than a quarter of aspiring expats saying flexible
hours are critical and 16% saying they want the ability to work from any
location in the world.

“From now on, it’s likely that organizations will need to reevaluate how they
structure expat assignments. Personal and family needs are now at the forefront
of decision-making, and this may impact the benefits expats prioritize when
selecting roles,” added Sadler.

The survey also found Canada is the top destination for existing expats to move
to, with 11% wanting to relocate there. Australia and the U.S. tied in second
place. The significant majority of those living in Europe and Australia are
confident they will remain living overseas, but the same cannot be said for
Asia, with only 5% of those in India and 16% of those in Mainland China
confident they will stay.

Expat age profiles are also changing, with senior employees now more likely to
want to return or remain in their home countries while younger staff seek out
overseas moves. Only 13% of those over the age of 50 say they want to move
overseas, compared to 37% of those aged 18 to 24, and 34% of those aged 25 to

Looking ahead, Dr. Stella George, Chief Medical Officer, Cigna International
Markets, said the expat age demographic is expected to change.

“The past couple of years during the pandemic have been especially challenging
for existing and long-term expats,” said Dr. George. “So, while many will be
moving closer to home, many ambitious younger professionals will also start
taking advantage of the opportunities that overseas postings offer, such as
quick promotion, flexible working and other incentives. These benefits are
especially attractive to people earlier in their careers.”

About the Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey

The eight edition of the Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey was conducted by Cigna
International Markets, in partnership with Kantar, a leading data, insights,
and consulting company. More than 11,900 people from Australia, Belgium,
Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain,
Switzerland, The Netherlands, UAE, UK and USA were surveyed for the research in
May this year. It examined five key components – family, financial, physical,
social, and work – to uncover the latest trends and challenges for the health
and well-being of expats.

Online sampling used respondents recruited from panels that undergo rigorous
quality control and the panel composition is representative of the adult
population in each of the surveyed markets.

About Cigna

Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to
improving the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve. Cigna
delivers choice, predictability, affordability and access to quality care
through integrated capabilities and connected, personalized solutions that
advance whole person health. All products and services are provided exclusively
by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, Evernorth companies
or their affiliates, and Express Scripts companies or their affiliates. Such
products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as
medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits,
and other related products. Cigna maintains sales capability in over 30
countries and jurisdictions and has more than 175 million customer
relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links
to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

Source: Cigna

Source: Cigna