The Advance #CoffeeHour brings together our members for an opportunity to build networks, share stories, and learn from others about the experience of returning to Australia.

We know that global Australians usually return to Australia when they hit different life stages, or when they plan to retire or due to circumstances outside their control. Whatever the reason for returning, we know that reintegrating back into Australian life isn’t easy. And since March 2020, the pandemic has brought expats home sooner than expected, with numerous additional hurdles and costs, and added difficulties around networking and domestic travel due to lockdown.

The #CoffeeHour allows Advance members in similar stages of their global journey to share their stories and experiences, and exchange ideas through discussion. Sessions are designed to help to clarify the needs of returning Australians, unpack challenges to building a professional network, and the opportunities within Australia’s job market. Hearing these stories also helps us to shape the program and improve our services.

What challenges do Australians face when returning to Australia?

Top challenges faced by returning expats

Advance research with Indeed uncovered the job-seeking experiences of Australians who have worked or are working overseas, and navigating their return to Australia. A key highlight from the report’s findings is the need for Australian businesses and recruiters to broaden their search to include expats returning home to Australia. The pandemic brought global Australians home, creating new opportunities for employers, but our 2020 Survey revealed that many global Australians had to face even greater challenges finding employment and re-building a professional network.

In each #CoffeeHour session, participants reveal the main challenges they face when returning / preparing to return to Australia. Most of them are related to the local perception of their professional global experience, the importance of networks, and the difficulty of understanding of identifying where to live until securing a role.

Moving back to Australia after a long time overseas has never been easy, but moving back during the pandemic has proven to be even more complex. With a high number of jobs, particularly senior and specialist roles, going unadvertised and/or created with someone in mind, looking only at advertised positions narrows the market significantly. Yet, with lockdowns limiting in-person conferences, professional events, and even coffee meetings, rebuilding an Australian network has been more difficult than ever.

Returned expats have also mentioned that it wasn’t until returning that they realise that certain industries have a very domestic focus.

How can you have your overseas skills valued?

There are many opportunities in Australia’s job market

They might take a while to uncover, but there are many opportunities for returning expats in Australia. Connecting with the local market earlier (and virtually if needed) is recommended for those preparing to return or recently returned, to ‘warm’ potential professional contacts.

Reconsidering your career goals may also be necessary if your experience overseas does not translate for current Australian industry needs. For example, by targeting lesser known, high growth Australian companies, or building your own consulting business with your expertise, or building a startup targeting an opportunity you know well. Many returning Australians note being pleasantly surprised at the developments in Australia’s start-up scene and its inclusive and international tone that makes it a great entry point back into Australia. Check out Advance’s partner, Antler, to see if their program might help you develop your business idea.

The shift in work dynamics around the world has proven that working virtually and being based anywhere in the globe is possible. Returning expats are realising more and more of this advantage, and using it to transition their international jobs back to Australia in this way.

Advance wants to help making your journey back to Australia a little simpler. If you are looking for resources and information, make sure you check our Returning Home portal and some useful articles to help you prepare for your return. You will find tips and stories from other members who had similar experiences.