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Global Mobility Workforce Trends

globally mobile workforce

As globalization and technology continue to grow, so too will the amount of globally mobile employees.  According to Strategy Analytics, the globally mobile workforce is set to increase to 1.87 billion people by 2022, which is about 42.5% of the global workforce.

Millennials are increasingly becoming interested in working internationally and are proactively reaching out to find international positions. They value independence and low-cost solutions so companies will need to continue to innovate in order to serve the needs and expectations of this generation.

It will be important to ensure that these new globally mobile employees are happy as that affects the ROI of their move. 35% of business leaders believe that empowering a globalized mobile workforce is critical to meeting their strategic objectives, with 96% saying that it is important. These are some of the trends that executives responsible for global mobility in their organization will need to be prepared for.

Partner and Spouse Support

The number one reason for the failure of an international assignment is caused by the inability of the partner to adapt to their new environment. Dual-career households, where both partners/spouses have careers, are increasingly becoming the standard when moving to a new country. The fact of whether or not a spouse or partner can find a job in the new location plays a deciding factor in many globally mobile employment decisions. It is also becoming more commonplace that the female partner is the reason for the international move. Because of this, support programs for these partners should be reviewed and updated to be geared towards either case. Many current programs are structured to offer network support only for female partners, even down to the wording in the policies.

Organizations will need to update their support programs to offer networking options for male partners, including gender-neutral wording in policies and documents. Additionally, to give support to dual-career households, organizations will need to offer job search support and networking opportunities with other working members in order to fully support the partner.

Flexible Support Programs

The increasing number of millennial globally mobile employees brings the need for more flexible support programs. Most millennials prefer to do most of the process themselves and in a more cost-efficient way, with a balance between technology and human support.

Many organizations may want to consider a lump-sum option with some guidance on how to spend that money. This method allows for the freedom to choose how the employee spends that money with a limited amount of support on how to spend it. A “freedom within a framework” method also works well, giving the employees choices within a cafeteria-style approach. This allows for some flexibility for different services based on the employee’s preferences.

Immigration Challenges

50% of global mobility professionals cite immigration complications as the top challenge to achieving business objectives over the next 5 years – ahead of concerns around local political climates at 42% and staff safety or security at 37%. The U.S. is one of the most difficult countries to get work visas for employees, yet it continues to be at the top of the list of countries global employers are sending their workers to. Along with updates regarding Brexit and continued changes to U.S. immigration policies, managers handling globally mobile employees will need to stay up to date on policies and challenges.

Repatriation Programs

While 87% of companies address repatriation in their policies (up from 85% in 2015), only 9% address things like Repatriation Integration Briefings and other assignment ROI support. Repatriation, especially in short-term assignments where the employee plans to come back to their home country, is extremely important in ensuring the highest ROI for the international assignment.

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