61 Percent of Global Companies Expect to Increase Overseas Assignments in 2011


Research published yesterday by relocation assistant and management company Brookfield Global Relocation Services, indicates that companies plan to transfer 61% more employees overseas this year than they have in recent years.

The 16th annual Global Relocation Trends Survey Report, issued by Brookfield Global Relocation Services, reveals some interesting insights into expected expatriation trends in 2011.

Who is being relocated?

While the number of overseas roles are on the rise, it is clear that they are not available to all and it is experienced hires that are in demand. According to the report, only 8% of international assignments are being offered to new hires and just 9% are available for assignees between the ages of 20 and 29. While the number of overseas roles for women increased by 2% on last year’s estimations, the number of women relocated over the next year remained at just 18% of the total number of assignees.

Interestingly, 68% of employees recently relocated were married and 48% of these already had children. Despite the high levels of married couples accepting jobs overseas, it seems that jobs for the trailing spouses remain an issue, with 60% of spouses being employed before relocation compared with just 12% after.

Where are they going?

According to survey respondents, China is the most common location for international assignments, followed by Brazil, India and Singapore. However, the volumes of expatriates going into these countries entails that many assignees are facing difficulty living there, with the competition for housing and schooling meaning that expats in China, India, Russia and Brazil are complaining of difficult relocation processes.

Who is sending them?

Employees are most likely to be sent abroad by companies that are headquartered in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with 68% of EMEA based companies expecting to send more employees overseas this year compared with 58% of companies based in North America.

Other key findings:

  • Only 74% of companies that relocated employees overseas prepared them in advance with cross-cultural preparation or training, the lowest percentage in the 16 years the surveys have been produced.
  • 74% of companies have reduced the value of relocation packages offered to employees. 86% of companies based their packages on cost estimates but just 25% of companies later compared estimates with actual costs.
  • A staggering 92% of companies did not measure the return on investment of their employee relocations, with 50% of those surveyed specifying that their reason for this was a lack of knowledge of the means of measuring this return on investment.

The Global Relocation Trends Survey Report

The 16th annual Global Relocation Trends Survey Report questioned 118 multinational firms across global industries. Discussing the survey, Rick Schwartz, president of Brookfield Global Relocation Services said in a press release, “As more companies are increasing their presence in emerging markets, international assignments are a key aspect in the global economic recovery and we’re seeing a higher percentage of companies displaying optimism when it comes to increasing their international assignment population.

“Each year, the Global Relocation Trends Survey uncovers the top trends impacting corporations and their global mobility programs. Our 16 years of award winning research allows us to compare, contrast and provide a baseline that’s unique to the industry.”

Further information:

The results of this year’s survey will be discussed during a complimentary webinar on Thursday, April 21. Interested attendees can register here. All webinar attendees will receive the full Global Relocation Trends Survey report.