Research and Surveys
Global Australians returning home have chosen a variety of paths, but one fifth (17%) are still looking for work. Herein lies the opportunity for employers. Covid-19 changed the plans of many global Australians, causing up to two thirds of returnees to be back in Australia prematurely, the 2020 Advance Survey reveals.
Advance has a deep understanding of the challenges facing Australia’s R&D practices, and the reasons why many Australians find the inspiration and resources to bring new ideas to life when they leave Australian shores. In a 2019 submission, Advance outlined recommendations to the NSW Government to accelerate R&D in NSW, including a mindset shift to a demand-led approach with government as a key customer, attracting global R&D hubs, and leveraging the networks of global Australians. The NSW Government’s action plan “Turning ideas into jobs” was released in 2021, and outlines five priority actions to 1) launch a small business innovation research program; 2) boost open data; 3) turbocharge precincts; 4) target strategic support for NSW universities; and 5) establish an R&D matchmaking platform.
The report, ‘They Still Call Australia Home’ explores the attitudes of Australian business and recruitment decision-makers towards Australians who have travelled and worked abroad. It also captures the job-seeking experiences of Australians who have worked, or are working, overseas and navigating their return to Australia. A key highlight from the findings of the 2019 Advance Survey is the need for Australian businesses and recruiters to broaden their search to include expats returning home to Australia.
In response to the Australian Government’s review of Soft Power, Advance made this 2018 submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade to articulate ways that expatriates contribute to Australia’s attraction and influence for stronger soft power and international influence. The recommendations put forward by Advance include recognising the value of ‘diaspora diplomacy’ alongside sport, science and education diplomacy; leveraging the expertise of overseas Australians on specific proposals as ‘knowledge partners’; and resourcing the ‘Embassy of the Future’ in key locations to ensure engagement with the diaspora.
Australian CEOs value collaboration as a very important skill, however only 7.7% of Australian businesses collaborate with international firms while innovating products or processes. In this 2018 research report, PwC and Advance explore Australia’s diaspora as a pathway to innovation.
Why overseas Australians are a foreign policy asset
To contribute to the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, Advance prepared this 2017 submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade to highlight the strategic importance of our diaspora, and petition for consideration of approaches to better engage our high value Australians overseas, Alumni and returnees to the benefit of Australia’s foreign policy. The White Paper charts a course for Australia at a time of rapid change. It emphasises that over the coming decade Australia will need to pursue its interests in a more competitive and contested world. The broad themes of opportunity, security and strength sit at the heart of this White Paper. They recognise that an outward-looking Australia fully engaged with the world is essential to our future security and prosperity.
We are living in the Asian century with four of five largest economies predicted to be in Asia within the next 15 years. Australians are making their marks across the world but the reality is they simply don’t work for Australian companies. This 2016 research report shows that Australians overseas are overlooked by policy makers in Australia and passed over by corporates when they choose to return home.
We refer anecdotally to a ‘virtual grid’ of over one million Australians living and working abroad at any one time, but who are these one million wanderers, and where are they now? In a 2013 research project, Advance embarked on a journey to answer these questions on behalf of the bright and far-flung community of Australians abroad. Our research confirmed something we already knew – wherever you go in the world, you’ll likely run into an Australian.