Francophone Abroad: supporting French-speaking employees overseas

French speakers are on the rise, with 800 million global French-speakers predicted by 2020. Morag Paterson reports on a Francophone relocation convention in Paris which focused on employee support and best practice.

Children playing in a playground
A global gathering of French-speaking leaders in the relocation sector discussed the emergence of multiple themes, around support for Francophone employees around the world. While workshops looked into family support and how organisations should collaborate and determine client’s needs for relocation and ancillary services. The event highlighted the scale of French speakers worldwide – currently 220 million in 80 countries but this is expected to rise to 800 million by 2020: 80 per cent of those in African countries, Latin America and the US. For instance, 20 per cent of population of Miami Beach in the US is now French-speaking. However, speakers still noted the importance of English as being the ‘language of internationality’.In terms of relocation support for French speaking nations outside of France, Marina Sauzet, CEO of Africa Relocation Services said it was critical to integrate cultural implications and awareness in offering relocation support, such as recognising the history of colonisation.The importance of working together to find solutions was further stressed by Isabelle Coroller, vice president of SNPRM and Michèle Cartier Le Guérinel, president of the RAPF, to find solutions that address “hegemony” when the forum questioned the “Anglo Saxon” model may not be working for various systems, processes and policies.
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Opportunity knocks in the corporate relocation market

One of the hot topics was the mobility of the financial community and how to cater to potentially 40,000 bankers expected to move to the region, and how to maximise this relocation market in volatile, uncertain, challenging and ambitious markets.Noting some of the challenges for relocating businesses, Sebastien Deschamps of ReloTalent, a software provider, said over 160 excel tasks were required to move a person. Several workshops throughout the day explored the challenges of working within an international network, from what information to communicate to all partners to ensure a smooth transition to what to include in a relocation contract.A resounding challenge for relocation services was family expatriation, in terms of settling families with children and meeting specific education requirements. Delegates also noted concerns around relocation costs, particularly for younger, single professionals without families who had lower salaries, leading to smaller budgets for relocation, while also expecting a quality service – creating a significant squeeze.Other difficulties included finding affordable and suitable accommodation in Paris, while delegates discussed the importance of grant availability, and developing further ways to enhance family support to retain and ensure the wellbeing of a relocated employee. 

Increased demand for international education

Brexit is seeing cities around Europe prepare for relocating staff and their families at pace.According to The Telegraph, Paris is expecting to receive 2,500 UK-based financial sector executives and families over the next few months alone and, in preparation, is investing in creating bilingual schools and three new international lycées.Brexit has provided a historic opportunity for Paris to position itself as a credible alternative to London and as Agnès Evran, vice- president of île de France, told The Telegraph, “The first thing people thinking of coming to Paris ask is, what about the schools?”

Think outside the box

Explore what the future holds for global mobility teams. Don’t miss our Festival of Global Mobility Thinking on 11 May 2018. The full-day interactive event will feature a host of speakers, exhibitors and roundtables to explore how innovation and new technologies are driving companies through a rapidly evolving business landscape. Book now.Gala Awards Dinner, Thursday 10 MayJoin us for a night of celebration at the UnderGlobe beneath Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London SE1 9DT. Book here.
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Read more about the global mobility sector in the Spring issue of our magazine

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