Expat assignments on the increase

International HR specialists, Mercer, have released a report stating that the number of expat assignments has increased over the last two years, with the main reason being “to provide specific technical skills not available locally”. The most popular destinations for expatriate assignments, according to the survey, are China, USA and Brazil.
Other top reasons for the increase in assignments include; to provide career management/leadership development, to ensure knowledge transfer, to fulfil specific project needs, and to provide specific managerial skills not available locally.
A similar report, ‘The 2013 Global Mobility Survey’, commissioned by Santa Fe suggests that 41% companies that took part in their survey expect assignments to increase in the next 12 months. Whereas, 55% of the respondents of the Mercer survey said that they expect assignments to increase in the next 12 months.
Anne Rossier-Renaud, principal in Mercer’s global mobility business said, “International assignments have become diverse in order to meet evolving business and global workforce needs. Relatively low pay increases in some regions, and pressure on companies to attract and retain talent, have spurred many to embrace a wider range of global mobility strategies to incentivise high performers. Mobility and HR directors now face great complexity in the number and type of international assignments that need managing.”
Another key point raised by the report is that the average duration of long term assignments is decreasing and now stands at 2 years 10 months, the average minimum duration is one year five months and the average maximum duration is five years and four months.
Family-related issues, such as concerns over children’s education in a new location, remain a major obstacle to employee mobility, says Mercer. Partners and spouses of employees asked to work abroad may also have successful careers in their own right that they may not want to compromise.
In terms of return on investment, 39% of participants reported that employees with the international experience were promoted more quickly, although 65% of employers had no specific tools to management assignments and their related costs, other than the basic tools such as Excel and Word.
If you are considering an assignment overseas as an expatriate, Cadogan Tate can help. With over 30 years of experience in moving employees overseas for a number of the world’s largest organisations, you can rest assured that you will be in good hands.