More than a quarter of highly-educated, well-connected Kiwis working abroad are looking to return home.
According to an online survey of more than 15,000 New Zealanders living offshore carried out by expat network Kea New Zealand, 27 percent of respondents are currently looking for jobs in New Zealand for themselves or others.
They're also more educated, on the whole – the five-yearly ‘census’ Every Kiwi Counts showed that compared to on-shore New Zealanders in the 2006 Census, the overseas Kiwis surveyed are about seven times as likely (34 percent vs 5 percent) to have a post-graduate qualification and almost three times as likely (31 percent vs 11 percent) to have a bachelor’s degree.
Kea New Zealand global chief executive Dr Sue Watson said there was significant potential to fill New Zealand’s talent deficit with skilled expats keen to come home.
Nearly half of overseas-based Kiwis in the survey reported that they earn more than NZ$100,000 per annum while one in five aged over 50 earn more than NZ$200,000 per annum.
One in four respondents say they plan to return to New Zealand, but that they also plan to live somewhere else in the future. A further 22 percent say they are likely to – or definitely will – return to New Zealand.
Family and lifestyle ties were the main drawcard, with only 6 percent naming general economic factors in their desire to move back.
“There is a large connection and communication job to be done if we are to entice those Kiwis looking to return home," Watson said.
At least 600,000 New Zealanders live overseas, including almost one in four of all highly-educated Kiwis.
Ministry of Economic Development deputy secretary Mark Steel said: “Expats are a quarter of our educated workforce so it’s important that we understand their short-term goals and long-term ambitions so we know what they can contribute if they return.”