Human Resources Execs Also Say Economy, Family and Safety Are Key Concerns
For Globally Mobile Professionals in Cendant Mobility Survey
Danbury, CT – Instead of packing up and moving abroad for three years, tomorrow’s global executive may ‘commute’ more often, live in a new nation for less than a year or permanently move to a new country, according to a new Cendant Mobility study.
This finding is among several significant trends in global relocation included in New Approaches to Global Mobility: 2002 Worldwide Benchmark Study conducted by Cendant Mobility, the premier provider of global mobility management and workforce development solutions; and co-sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Global Forum, a division of the Society for Human Resource Management, and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), a trade association that supports international trade.
The study is the first global survey to quantify the shift toward new forms of cross-border transfers and correlate their perceived benefits with human resource demands and organizational goals. More than 180 human resource executives responsible for upwards of 200,000 globally mobile employees in a dozen industries in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific region were surveyed.
Generally speaking, nearly half (45 percent) of those surveyed worldwide expect a decrease in long-term assignments and significant increases in less traditional transfers, such as short-term assignments and frequent international business travel. Long-term assignments currently account for about half of all transfers.
The impact of this trend differs by geography. For example:
In the Americas, 67 percent of respondents expect the use of short-term assignments, relocating to another country for less than one year, to increase.
In Europe, the Middle East and African regions, international commutation, where employees work in the assigned nation and frequently commute to their home country, is predicted to increase by 63 percent of respondents.
50 percent of respondents from the Asian region feel that localized transfers, a cross-border move in which employees are ultimately moved to permanent local status, will increase.
“The study gave us the first quantitative look at the emerging forms of cross-border activity, as well as the challenges that will arise for corporations as a result,” says John Arcario, senior vice president and general manager of Cendant Mobility’s international services.
Respondents indicated that short-term assignments and other new forms seem to offer cost savings, yet the majority (58 percent) of respondents fail to conduct cost analysis for short-term assignments and only a handful (10 percent)
While the new forms of assignment promise increased flexibility and improve work/life balance – a potential lure in attracting global workforces with a myriad of needs – a top challenge for these new forms centers on assignee burnout. As expected, cost control is the main challenge for long-term assignments.
Companies strongly prefer to utilize executive leadership (62 percent) and general management/administrative (60 percent) job roles in the form of a long-term assignment instead of new alternatives. IT/technical accounting jobs, however, tend to become short-term assignments and HR professionals use extended business travel (31 percent) more than any other form.
Developing global competency is the top goal of global HR respondents, superseding cost control, while new transfer types are not perceived to generate global competency. The only form that is currently perceived to do so effectively is the traditional long-term assignment.
Companies are engaging in cross border activity mainly to transfer skills and knowledge (85 percent), develop global competencies (49 percent) and complete projects (46 percent). Less popular reasons include managerial control (30 percent), start-up operations (22 percent), maintaining corporate culture (19 percent), joint ventures/mergers/divestitures (18 percent), new product introductions (11 percent) and restructuring (5 percent).
Those responsible for managing international assignments and employee relocation are feeling the pressure to develop formal policies for all globally mobile employees, not just the typical long-term assignee.
“HR professionals are definitely feeling the heat to systematically
From the assignee perspective, challenges and obstacles of the international assignment differed among respondents, primarily based on the region where they were assigned. The following is a sample of those findings:
Half of the respondents cited family/partner issues as the number one obstacle for global mobility in the Middle East.
Forty five percent felt the economic climate was the biggest obstacle to global mobility within the Americas, followed by the desire to be near family (30 percent).
In the Asia Pacific region, the desire to be near family ranked highest (34 percent) with concern about regional safety close behind (29 percent).
Lastly, the study reveals that training remains a strong tool. Responding to the need for global competency development, the types of training that are expected to experience the largest jump are in areas of global awareness (56 percent) and cross-cultural programs (54 percent). Language and job skills training are expected to increase by only one-third. For more information or to obtain an executive summary contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note to editors: John Arcario, Brian Glade and Bill Sheridan are available for interviews. Also, graphs and charts are available.
About the SHRM Global Forum
The SHRM Global Forum, a division of the Society for Human Resource Management with close to 7,000 members in 70 countries, provides information and support to help meet the challenge of managing a global workforce. Members have online access to over 22 global HR publications, country reports, employment laws, survey data, twice-monthly Global E-News, US benchmarking data, networking opportunities and more. For more information visit www.shrmglobal.org.
About Cendant Mobility
Cendant Mobility is the premier provider of global mobility management and workforce development solutions serving the corporate, military, government, and affinity markets. Through its industry leading outsourcing, consulting, language and intercultural training, logistical support, and supplier management, it helps organizations and their mobile workforces achieve success worldwide. With over fifty years of experience, Cendant Mobility helps clients balance cost management and service performance to accomplish their organizational objectives. Cendant Mobility has nearly 2,100 global clients. It assists over 130,000 transferring employees annually, represented by cross-border activity in over 140 countries. Cendant Mobility is a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation (NYSE: CD). Visit www.cendantmobility.com for more information.
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is a trade organization whose primary objective is to promote trade and export policies assisting global businesses to compete effectively in global markets. For more information visit www.nftc.org.