CHINA - Receiving twice the pay of his counterparts back home and working in exotic Ankara, Turkey, Li Hao, 27, may seem to have the ideal job.
Li knows well the bittersweet taste of working as an expatriate, which is becoming more common because of China's expanding economy.
"Compared with my colleagues who work with a clear focus, we in the Turkey office have to spread our energy more broadly, from taxes and customs to financing with banks. We must be ready for changes because of temporary arrangements," said Li, who has been working for an engineering corporation under a State-owned enterprise for a year and a half.
His foreign working experience will not help him land a promotion in the parent company, which is located in Tianjin. So he would like to stay longer, at least three years, to achieve some noteworthy accomplishment.
"After all, we have more chances in foreign countries to sharpen our market skills,"Li said.
Unlike Li, who is pursuing further growth inside a company, Zhu Hongxia quit after she worked in India for a couple of months.
"It's partially because of the overload of work," she said, adding that safety concerns were another reason.
But her work experience in India helped her land her current job as an English teacher at a high school in Changsha, Hunan province.
Increasing numbers of Chinese workers like Li and Zhu have gone global, working overseas for good salaries or a chance to develop future opportunities.
"The fierce competition in the market is another reason to drive them overseas," said Li Ming, director of the labour union department of Sinohydro Corp, which has sent more than 20,000 Chinese workers to its international branches as of the end of 2012.
He said Sinohydro will pay at least double for workers willing to go overseas, which typically do not come with the benefits and subsidies of staying in China.
Salaries and living subsidies, as well as support for families left behind, have been critical factors in expatriates' work success, said Wei Caihong, a leadership practices expert, said in a recent interview with CBN Weekly.
Chinese companies in engineering, energy, high technology communication, consumer electronics and new energy may send expatriate workers to satisfy specific special needs that call on sophisticated skills, technology or other special requirements, she said.
A Mercer survey found that 85 per cent of companies have provided subsidies for staff members working in tough situations including places experiencing war or poverty, and recommended a localised compensation system, meaning paying for workers on a local basis in light of taxes and the cost of goods and services.
Around 67 per cent of Chinese companies have provided their expatriates with such a localised salary, and more will adopt the system in two years, the survey said.
"In addition to the salary and subsidies, we have provided other necessary comforts, such as taking videos of their families at holidays," Sinohydro's Li said.
Xu Hongcai, director of the information department of the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, agreed with Li on the video meeting with families, saying the psychological needs of workers overseas should be given more attention to ensure they don't have feelings of isolation.