Globally mobile workforce remains a priority, say business leaders

Over 35 per cent of business leaders still believe that a globally mobile workforce is key to meeting strategic objectives, despite the uncertain political climate and growing immigration concerns.

Despite current political climate, the need for a globally mobile workforce continues
Business leaders still view an international mobile workforce as the key to meeting their strategic objectives, according to new research by Santa Fe Relocation Services the global mobility specialists. This is despite mounting concerns around immigration and an increasingly uncertain geopolitical climate. This follows the changes implemented by the new US administration and the anticipated impact of Brexit.

What do mobility teams and business leaders think?

Santa Fe’s seventh annual Global Mobility Survey Report ‘Embedding Business Strategy in Global Mobility’, which surveyed nearly 1,000 global mobility teams and business leaders in 56 countries.The survey found over 35 per cent of business leaders still believe empowering a globalised workforce was critical to meeting its strategic objectives – 96 per cent said that it is important.As a result, international assignments (work relocation opportunities) are expected to grow significantly over the next 12 months, with graduate programmes, short-term assignments and one-way relocations all set to increase significantly.
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Contrary to previous years, even long term assignments are expected to see significant growth 17 per cent in the year ahead, which highlights both ongoing global economic growth and the crucial role that long term placements have in companies’ talent planning.However, businesses are facing increased challenges in sending workers abroad, due to growing complications around stringent immigration compliance and new legislation.The findings from Santa Fe reveal 50 per cent of global mobility professionals cite immigration complications as the top challenge to achieving businesses’ objectives over the next five years – ahead of concerns, around local political climates 42 per cent and staff safety or security 37 per cent. 

US most common destination for assignees

The US now tops the charts for the most challenging location to send assignees, with 9 per cent respondents stating it is the hardest to navigate from a global mobility perspective – due to tightening immigration and visa restrictions for long term business relocations. But despite these challenges, the US remains the most common destination to send assignees, with nearly 18 per cent of respondents saying it was the most frequent destination for assignment opportunities – up from 16 per cent in 2016.China was the second most popular at 11 per cent (down from 12 per cent in 2016), followed by the UK at 8 per cent (which is up from 7 per cent in 2016).Commenting on the findings, Dr Barbara Zesik, chief people officer for Santa Fe Relocation Services, said, “Over the past year, we have witnessed exceptional levels of change and political uncertainty across the globe. However, seemingly unfazed by the increasingly protectionist rhetoric, business leaders continue to recognise the importance of fostering a diverse and globally mobile workforce, to support long term business success and performance.“In order to support the efforts espoused by the most senior leaders, organisations are encouraged to embed ‘global mobility’ at the heart of their business strategy: driving growth and mitigating potential complications associated with seconding employees abroad and being well-prepared and positioned to overcome the challenges of our complex but increasingly digitally connected world.” The report found from the companies surveyed that over half a million employees are already internationally mobile.For a full version of the report, please click here.For related news and features, visit our Mobility Industry section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre

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