What are the trends in expatriate assignments?


What are the trends in expatriate assignments?

The world of expatriate relocation is changing and evolving. VP of Global Services Chris Pardo keeps you in the know in this Relo Tip Tuesday.


Complete transcript: “Hi there! Welcome to another episode of Relo Tip Tuesday.  My name is Chris Pardo, I’m the vice president of global services and I’m here today to talk to you about 3 trends in expatriate assignments.

The first trend I’m going to talk about is the trend of increasing volume.  While costs and budgets are something that have to be dealt with, the extreme cost cutting behaviors that were exhibited after the recession by companies are starting to fade out of sight now and right out of the mirror.  Optimism, right now, abounds.  Most clients predict 20-30% increases in the next 12-month period on top of the 20% increase that they already witnessed over the last 12 months.  And this aligns with a recent study done by Earnst & Young and the Harvard Business Review which was called, ‘Unlocking the Value of Cross-Border Assignments’ where nearly 72% of executives indicated that the demand for global mobility would increase over the next two to three-year period.

The second trend is that of increasing variety.  This past year has seen a greater variety in the destination locations and in the policies utilized to move talent to those locations.  With regard to emerging markets it’s been the mint countries that have lead the way, not the brick countries.  MINT are the Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey.  However, Plus continues to see larger expatriate volumes into the typical characters, that being the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Singapore, the U.K., Australia, China, the Netherlands, India, and Japan.  Those remain the ones with the highest international volume.

While we watch long term assignments trending down, we continue to see short term assignments and extended business travelers trending up and local plus and permanent international transfers trending way up.  In fact, according to a recent study by Mercer, it’s permanent transfers and short term assignments that are expected to have the greatest increases over the next 2 to 4-year period.  For our clients, there have been two topics of keen interest, one related to developmental rotational assignments and the other on how to support an increasing volume of hand raisers – those employees that self-initiate relocation.

This brings us to our third trend, increasing value.  Obviously companies see great value in cross border assignments.  Employees also recognize that international experience has great value for them too.  Their increasing desire to relocate across borders and to get experience and gain skills has prompted a willingness to accept a wider variety of less expensive, more customized approaches.  Local and local plus and core flex arrangements have helped to minimize cost and maximize value for the company and the employee at the same time.

For those of us in global mobility, one thing is for sure, as we head into the future the road is open, the ride will be exhilarating, so put the pedal to the metal and let’s get moving.”

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