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Top Trends in Global Mobility: How to Prepare for 2023

Global mobility teams have spent the past year adjusting to the new normal after all of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a panel session at our recent user event in London, we spoke to global mobility leaders from Tesco, Rolls Royce and Mott Macdonald, and asked them how extended lockdowns and travel restrictions have changed the needs of workers and the business.

Here’s what they pointed to as the top trends they’re dealing with now–and will be for the near future.


Remote Working is Here to Stay

remote working is here to stayThe panel agreed that the biggest change over the past two years, regardless of industry and location, is the shift to remote and hybrid working, despite some resistance from the business.

Organizations of all sizes are being inundated with requests for permanent remote working roles, and they risk losing talent if they are not flexible enough to allow it. Some companies have taken the approach where they will do anything to please their talent, and allow remote work wherever possible. Others have established a temporary policy where they initially refuse remote working requests but make exceptions for exceptional talent.

Remote working throws up many complications, especially around taxation and immigration, especially if employees are located in another country. But even movements within the same country can be problematic–if someone moves from a large city such as London or Paris to a small country town, should they be paid the same salary?

Over the next year, companies are going to have to develop firm policies around how compensation is calculated for remote workers. The GM leaders we spoke to all agreed that salaries should be adjusted according to workers’ locations–regardless of whether it was from a city to a rural area, or to another country where the living costs were lower.


Talent Discovery and Retention

global mobility 2023It’s not news that companies are in a battle to recruit and retain talent. GM leaders say there is a lot of competition for skilled workers, and they have had to change their hiring policies to prioritize keeping current staff and land the most desirable candidates.

If a person is in demand, benefits such as remote working, working from a different country, and additional support for the worker’s families, are open for negotiation. Previously, cost control was one of most important priorities for talent teams but difficulties in retaining and recruiting talent are changing those views. It seems that the C-suite is finally getting the message that GM departments are a vital tool for developing and retaining talent.

Companies are more focused on their employees’ long term commitment, and overseas assignments are being used to help develop skills. For some companies, a manager might be better at their job if they had a year or two experience overseas, heading up a diverse workforce. Someone at a lower grade, who previously might not have qualified for an overseas assignment, might be offered one to help them gain new experiences and return as a more rounded and loyal employee.

The pandemic years have forced companies to rethink their talent acquisition and retention policies, and create a more flexible and welcoming corporate environment.


global mobility 2023Assignments are about the whole family and work-life balance

Although the number of overseas assignments is slowly increasing again, the assignee experience is evolving. Businesses are placing more importance on the whole family unit, rather than just the assignee’s wellbeing.

GM leaders say in 2022 a large number of employees were commuting internationally, especially around Europe, because they don’t want to disrupt their family home in these uncertain times.

When assignees do agree to make a long-term move, they want more support on arrival, such as help to learn a new language, assistance finding schools, and other cultural assistance to ease their transition.

Pre-pandemic, financial compensation was usually top of the list of priorities for talent assigned overseas, but now, potential assignees are looking for positions that will provide a better work-life balance and a happier, easier existence. They want to enjoy their overseas experience and aren’t just looking to bank the maximum salary.


Looking Ahead

GM TechnologyOver the next two years, companies must adjust their recruitment and retention policies to adjust to these trends. Complicated international tax calculations will become common, and retaining staff will require companies to do more than simply increasing their cash compensation.

At Equus we create solutions that make it easy for companies to effectively manage global workforces. AssignmentPro and PinPoint provide comprehensive business travel, workflow and global compliance solutions that track staff as they change their working locations and move from country to country. Our solutions also help businesses keep abreast of travel restrictions, tax and immigration compliance, and health and safety risks.

To find out how Equus can help your business evolve, click here.

Alan Bell

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