Exploiting intra-European talent mobility

EU enlargement, increasing globalisation and economic fluctuations have precipitated and posed challenges for corporate intra-European mobility, according to the findings of a new Worldwide ERC survey.

European talent mobility
A recent Worldwide ERC study exploring intra-European talent mobility, the motivations behind it, the challenges associated with different types of mobility, and the strategies firms were using to resolve them found that 96 per cent of respondents from 85 organisations with intra-European moves anticipated that volumes of intra-European mobility would increase or remain the same over the next three years.Quoting data from a September 2014 European Commission (EC) report, Labour Mobility within the EU, Worldwide ERC's Intra- European Mobility Survey 2015 report notes that, when comparing the characteristics of recent mobile workers (2009–2013) with those seen during the previous five-year period (2004–2008), the following trends emerge:
  • Germany and the UK are the top destinations for mobile workers within Europe
  • More EU workers are heading to Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Nordic countries, and fewer to Spain and Ireland
  • Mobile workers in the EU tend to be young, but the share of those aged from 15 to 29 has declined from 48 per cent to 41 per cent, indicating that more established employees are on the move
  • Mobile EU workers are increasingly well-educated, with 41 per cent having at least a college degree in more recent years (2009–20113), up from 27 per cent during the period 2004–2008.
Worldwide ERC’s findings mirror those of the EC, with the UK and Germany (reported as destinations by 77 per cent and 50 per cent of respondents respectively) topping the list of destination locations.These countries were also the locations most frequently cited by companies as locations of mobility origin. In fact, the top four destination locations were also the top four origin locations, as illustrated in Figure 1.
Top 10 origin and destination locations
Not surprisingly, the primary drivers of intra-European mobility varied by assignment type. For each category of assignment, by percentage of organisation, the top three were:
  • Long-term assignments – Business need (75 per cent), employee development (66 per cent), to fill a skills gap (59 per cent)
  • Short-term assignments – Project/task completion (82 per cent), to fill a skills gap (68 per cent), employee development (66 per cent)
  • Permanent moves – To fill a skills gap (76 per cent), business need (71 per cent), succession plan (43 per cent)
  • Commuter arrangements – Business need (65 per cent), to fill a skills gap (59 per cent), project/task completion (56 per cent)
  • Extended business travel – Business need (72 per cent), project/task completion (61 per cent), knowledge transfer (50 per cent)
When it came to assignment success, only 7 per cent of respondents reported that their organisation had a formal definition. Nearly three-quarters indicated that their systems for tracking success were ‘fair’ or ‘poor’.Formal definitions provided by respondents included reliance on a performance appraisal system, focus on ROI and retention after assignment end, goals established at the start of the assignment, and terms and conditions met.For more Europe-focused articles, see the Autumn 2015 issue of Europe Digital Re:locate magazine. Click here to subscribe, or here to download as an app.For more Re:locate news and features on the mobility industry, click here and for more on Europe, click here