Global mobility needs to be more flexible, says Cartus survey
Global relocation support provider Cartus has released its seventh "Trends in Global Relocation" survey, showing cost concerns and the need for greater flexibility as the most influential factors.
The need for flexibilityTraditional assignments – both long and short term – involve sending assignees out to a host location and bringing them back once the assignment is completed. The report highlighted a shift in relocation trends suggesting that the most common type of relocation assignment today is a permanent move, whereby the return trip upon completion of the assignment is handled completely separately.This resulted in 76 per cent of respondents reporting an increase in the need for flexible approaches to job transfers, driven particularly by generational needs and changing expectations, as well as cost concerns.
Half of companies reported taking an ad hoc approach to building flexibility into their programme – making on the spot adjustments as needed. This approach typically drives up exceptions, which then leads to more costs.Tiered mobility programmes and core-flex are a solution to this problem as they allow for greater flexibility whilst containing costs. Recent reports have touched on the idea that there is no longer a place for long-term assignments in the corporate world due to the increasing costs associated.
Why are long-term assignments still popular?Long-term assignments are costly but, despite this, 81 per cent of US respondents reported that they expected long-term assignment activity to increase or stay the same over the next two years.This is a result of the necessity for long-term assignments in particular circumstances such as filling management positions, new business start-ups and specific corporate cultures.Although results show confidence in the longevity of long-term assignments in these areas, assignments themselves will likely look different over coming years due to cost concerns. Certain policy provisions, such as medical exams and household goods storage, are being reduced in order to make assignments less costly.
2. Cost control becoming the "new normal"Since 2010, respondents reported that although their companies’ cost control pressures aren't increasing, they aren't decreasing either. Now we see the method in which companies try to cut these costs changing. Below is an outline of the new ways companies are trying to control costs:
- Outsourcing – 71 per cent
- Reducing the number of assignments – 70 per cent
- Tiered programmes – 61 per cent
- Administrative process improvements – 60 per cent
- Reducing headcount in mobility programme administration – 60 per cent
- Reducing benefits – 59 per cent
3. Compliance issues are a growing concernThe survey reports that 79 per cent of respondents stated that their organisation's focus on compliance has increased over the past two years. This includes focus on tax, immigration and legal issues, which can cause productivity impacts as well as regulatory problems.
How are companies responding?
- 72 per cent are focusing on early involvement of tax and immigration providers
- 56 per cent better tracking days in country
- 51 per cent more clearly refined policies and procedures