Trends in US inbound and outbound relocation

Chris Pardo, VP of Plus Relocation, shares his perspective on current trends in US relocation, and considers how the latest developments in relocation policy, mobility programme structure, and talent management are impacting the movement of talent.

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The last 12 months have told of increased authorisation activity, more-numerous departure and destination lanes, and a greater use of corporate mobility programmes as a tool for enhancing talent management effectiveness.The predictions were correct. Last year, 95 per cent of corporate global mobility professionals told us that their mobility programmes would increase or remain the same with regard to global relocations and assignments.Those predictions have translated into an almost 20 per cent increase so far in 2015, on top of the 15 per cent increase the year before. What we love about this growth is that it is not attributed to only a few accounts that are going crazy. Rather, the increases are seen with nearly every single one of our clients and are spread across a variety of industries.But let's focus in on the volume that touches the United States.

US outbound activity – the top ten

The top ten destination countries for activity departing from the United States are the UK, Australia, China, Singapore, Canada, Japan, Ireland, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Germany.This time last year, I told Re:locate that the EMEA region had garnered the most volume that departs from the US. This year, the story is similar. We are still seeing typical European countries like Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and France capturing the majority of volume, but Saudi Arabia and the UAE are on the rise, particularly with our mining and energy clients.However, Asia Pacific has closed the gap in the last 12 months to within just a few percentage points. The top destinations there are Singapore, China, Australia, Japan, and India.Latin America has increased in volume over the last year, but not to the same degree as the other regions, and so, as a percentage, it still trails behind the other regions. Within Latin America, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile have led the way over these past 12 months.Not surprisingly, Canada remains one of the most popular destinations for US outbound activity.

Other trends

Plus Relocation recently published a special trends report for mobility professionals, Global Mobility – 13 Trends To Track. In it, we explain what our clients are experiencing, discuss what we are seeing happening in the industry, and provide some insight that could help companies make adjustments that are meaningful in their mobility programmes.Here are a couple of highlights from the report:Policy and activity: The previous trend away from long-term assignment activity continues, with companies more and more often leveraging permanent transfer, local-plus, and short-term assignment policies.In fact, domestic assignment activity within the United States increased by 24 per cent, and Plus has been active in supporting clients in developing and managing rotational and short-term assignment programmes.These programmes are helping our clients to test and develop their high-potential talent, and are prompting candidates to broaden their skills base, take business risks, gain experience and knowledge, and hone their individual leadership qualities. This is an intelligent way for companies to build a solid leadership pipeline for succession planning.

Programme structure and technology

Many companies have found that moving to a more centralised model makes them nimbler and more agile. Companies are blending the proper combinations of internal resources, external outsourcing, and new and improving technologies to harness efficiencies, increase compliance (thereby reducing risk), and gain transparency and oversight.Seeing the full picture through better data metrics and analytics, mobility managers, and their teams, can work smarter and be insightfully strategic.

Talent management

More and more clients are seeking (or being forced by employees) to design options where talent mobility can be leveraged to engage, energise, and retain top employees.Mobility programmes are helping to attract critical the key talent they need for the business to be successful, both now and in the future. Return on investment (ROI) is being turned around, with a paradigm shift to Invest on Return (IOR). One of the educational breakout sessions at Worldwide ERC's Global Workforce Symposium (Boston, 7–9 October) is called Structuring Talent (Employee) Initiated Mobility to Encourage Attraction, Development, and Retention.Whereas it used to be primarily the company tapping the employee on the shoulder to relocate or head off on assignment, now the employee is the one tapping the company on the shoulder requesting the opportunity. And in many cases, if the company is not flexible and able to accommodate, they risk losing that talented employee, both now and in the future.Globalisation, workforce demographics, employee expectations, and technology enhancements are all helping the evolving trend whereby more and more jobs can be done from anywhere. Companies that can develop and retain talented employees will ultimately perform better. Click for more Re:locate news and features on Talent Management and USA.Click here to read the full digital issue of Re:locate magazine Autumn 2015Download the Relocate Global App by searching for "Relocate Global" at the Apple iTunes App Store or the Google Play Shop now. If you're a Relocate subscriber, you can get the latest content by logging into the App using your subscriber email address and the password "relocate".  If you're not a Relocate subscriber, you can register now for a digital subscription, which will also give you access to all of our App content.

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