Global employee mobility assignments expected to increase in 2016

A majority of multinational companies (56 per cent) expect to increase their use of short-term assignments in 2015/16 according to a new report.

Research on expatriate policies and practices by Mercer, a global consulting leader in advancing health, wealth and careers, highlights an ongoing diversification in the type of assignments used by companies.

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Anne Rossier-Renaud, Principal in Mercer’s global mobility business, said: “Companies are using a more varied range of assignments in order to respond to evolving business needs and changing patterns in the global workforce.

“The increased diversification of assignment types adds complexity which can result in potential compliance and policy challenges for HR and mobility directors. However, it also creates opportunities to positively impact the overall business strategy by mobilising key resources in more flexible and cost effective ways.”

Notably, over the next year or so, around half of companies anticipate an increase in the use of permanent transfers (54 per cent), developmental and training assignments (50 per cent) and locally hired foreigners (47 per cent). A smaller proportion of respondents (44 per cent) expect to see an increase in more traditional long-term assignments.

Mercer’s Worldwide Survey of International Assignment Policies and Practices report covers 831 multinational companies with approximately 29 million employees combined. It found that over half of companies increased their use of short term (51 per cent) and permanent (50 per cent) assignments over the past two years – whereas only 43 per cent increased the use of long-term assignments.

The report also noted a marked increase in companies with multiple policies, a consequence of the diversifying trend in assignments.

“One policy is unlikely to fit all, and such an approach can lead to inadequate compensation which again can make it difficult to attract and retain talent. Implementing fit-for-purpose policies, to suit both different assignees and assignments, can be a highly efficient cost-saving initiative for most global mobility functions,” said Rossier-Renaud.

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