Recession sparks young talent exodus in new 'semi-gration' trend

Article date: 16 April 2010

  • Work breaks abroad offer better job prospects but no NHS say young workers 

Young workers are "semi-grating" to escape the economic downturn - rather than leave the UK for good; over 5.5 million are considering boomerang breaks abroad, according to new research.

The Aviva UK Health "Semi-Gration" study of UK workers aged 18 to 30 reveals that nearly six in 10 (56%) now believe there are better prospects abroad, with over half (54%) saying they are considering a stay in another country.

But rather than abandon the UK entirely, the younger generations now favour medium term breaks to escape the impact of the recession – two in five (43%) say a year would be long enough while a fifth (20%) would consider a three-year break from the UK.

In fact, young workers believe that "semi-grating" would mean a pay boost of, on average 35%, and a lower cost of living (53%). Two in five (44%) have already seen a friend or family member move abroad for work in the last three years.

One of their key concerns however is looking after their health abroad – a quarter (25%) say the NHS is one of the things they’d most miss, while almost two thirds (64%) believe the UK has superior state health benefits over other countries.

Independent travel expert Amanda Lamb, who reviewed the Aviva research, said: “A boomerang break might seem for young workers like a less radical move than emigrating from the UK but it’s crucial that ‘semi-graters’ consider the everyday practicalities of living in another country.

“Healthcare provision, for example, varies massively from one country to the next and young workers should not assume that they will receive the same free at point of delivery health benefits in Australia or the US that we have at home.”

The "Semi-Gration" study, commissioned to mark the launch of the International Solutions product from Aviva UK Health, found that:

  • Three quarters (74%) of young workers believe their job prospects have declined in the last two years
  • One in four (29%) aged 18 to 30 would consider a permanent move away from the UK
  • Less than one in 10 (7%) believe they will receive better state health provision outside of the UK.

International Solutions is an innovative medical insurance plan that takes a modular approach, offering customers flexibility to choose benefits that meet their needs and budget whilst complementing the healthcare provision in the country they are living in.

Andrew Turner, international strategic development manager, Aviva UK Health, comments: “Worryingly, one third (34%) of young workers considering ‘semi-grating’ told us they wouldn’t consider it important to take out additional medical insurance. The danger is that, should the worst happen, those people could find themselves in unfamiliar territories, often not speaking the local language, not knowing how to arrange medical treatment or indeed being able  to pay for it.

“International health insurance such as Aviva’s International Solutions policy helps provide individuals with the peace of mind that they have the medical support they need when they need it most. We can arrange ambulances, find appropriate treatment facilities, deal directly with providers in their local language and settle invoices directly.

"Basically we take care of everything whilst keeping them and their relatives informed throughout. The flexibility of International Solutions also means that individuals can select their cover to complement the free healthcare provisions that may be available to them.”

Aviva’s research revealed the top destinations for 18 to 30 year olds considering "semi-grating":

  1. Australia
  2. United States
  3. Canada
  4. Spain
  5. New Zealand.



For further information:

Charlotte Nye, Lexis PR – 020 7908 6511 or

Notes to editors:

* Aviva surveyed 1,500 UK workers aged 18 to 45 through Redshift in March 2010 – of the sample 1,000 workers were aged 18 to 30.

The number of 18-30 year olds in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland is currently 10,675,000 as confirmed by the Office of National Statistics, with Aviva’s research finding that 54% have considered moving abroad to work.

International Solutions offers extensive Core Cover up to an overall annual limit of £1,500,000 and a wide range of modules that enable the customer to add or remove benefits to help suit their needs and budget,

The modules are as follows: 

Additional cover options

  • Wellness benefit - provision of routine tests eg mammograms, prostate screening
  • Dental and optical benefits
  • Increased out-patient cover
  • Compassionate travel
  • Maternity cover.

Reduced benefit options

  • Alternative excess
  • Reduced out-patient
  • Reduction on additional benefits eg emergency dental, prescribed drugs and dressings.

Health and Wellbeing from Aviva
Established in 1990 as the healthcare arm of Norwich Union, Norwich Union Healthcare was re-branded to Aviva Health UK Limited in 2009. Part of the Aviva group, the world’s fifth largest insurance group, we provide a range of private medical insurance, income protection, occupational health and group life products and services that cover over 2,400,000 lives. We are one of the largest providers of income protection, group life and private medical insurance in the UK.

Aviva Health also provides occupational health solutions and services to a wide range of industry sectors. By utilising their large fleet of purpose built mobile clinics and approved medical centres, staffed by a team of experienced occupational physicians and nursing staff, the services are designed to meet the individual needs of clients.

Aviva Health UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and is a member of the Association of British Insurers and the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Aviva’s news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva’s internet press centre at

About Aviva
Aviva, the international savings, investments and insurance group, is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, serving 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. 

In the UK, Aviva is a leading provider of life, pensions, investment, general insurance and health products to more than 20 million customers. Aviva also provides roadside assistance through RAC. Products are distributed through a number of channels including IFAs, brokers, corporate partners and direct to customers via the internet.

Aviva's UK Insurance business has a market share of around 15%, making it the largest general insurer in the UK. The business is focused on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

Aviva's life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 12% and a top three position in its key markets of savings, protection, and annuities.

Aviva’s news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at

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