Foreign executives flock to the UK

Nov 18 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The number of senior overseas executives moving to the UK to work has more than doubled over the past decade, delivering a huge boost to the economy.

Some 92,000 'executive inpats' arrive in Britain every year, according a report from Coutts bank, contributing more than £9bn annually to the economy.

And while Britons complain endlessly about the weather, bad transport and the cost of living, it seems that the strength of the UK economy and the high value of the pound continue to make the UK one of the world's most attractive places to work.

In particular, Coutts said, the high value of the pound means that inpats paid in sterling earn more than they do back home when the exchange rate is taken into account.

In all, between 300,000 and 500,000 people come to work in the UK from other countries every year, the report said.

Coutts estimates that inpats will typically live and work in Britain for three years. During that time, their employer can spend in excess of £500,000 providing for the needs of them and their families.

France had the largest number of overseas executives in the UK last year (18 per cent of the total), a rise of more than 110% over the last decade. Following close behind are executives from Germany (17 per cent).

But the number of executives from the USA has fallen steeply to only 11 per cent in third place, down from 22% in 1993.

Inpats from the Netherlands make up one in 10 of the total, followed by Irish (7 per cent), Italian (6 per cent) and Spanish (6 per cent) executives.

Four out of ten inpats are women, the vast majority of whom are single. Meanwhile engineers and IT professionals account for more than one in 10.

"The UK remains an attractive location to live and work, and companies seem to find little difficulty in attracting top international staff," said Neil Gordon-Lee, manager of the Coutts Inpatriate Client Group.

"This trend is likely to continue as the key factors, such as the strength of the economy and the pound, which drive this situation, are difficult to replicate elsewhere."