More Employees Sent Overseas on Reduced Benefits

Expat relocation set to increase

Research has revealed that while 57 percent of companies are expected to increase overseas assignments over the next two years, relocated employees will be offered reduced benefits and more temporary assignments.

Cartus Corporation, a leading provider of global relocation services, this week released research that indicates that despite the current condition of the global economy, multinational companies intend to increase the number of employees that relocate internationally over the next two years. However, while the number of overseas assignments may indeed be increasing, the benefits on offer and the length of assignments will be decreasing, with 51 percent of the companies surveyed revealing that they intend to alter their policies associated with long-term assignment during the next two years.

The results of 2012 Trends in Global Relocation Survey, which was released yesterday by Cartus Corporation, contains the results of research with 122 multinational firms that represent all major industries and are based in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. Participating firms were asked 111 questions about their operation, their relocation expectations and future mobile activity.

When asked, “How do you expect your organization’s mobility activity to change over the next two years?” 57 percent of the respondents revealed that they expect overseas placements to increase, 37 percent specified that they expect them to stay about the same, and 6 percent of firms surveyed believe that they will decrease over the next two years.

Discussing the results of the worldwide survey, Matt Spinolo, executive vice president of Cartus, commented: “Our global trends survey uncovered two key issues behind the anticipated increase in corporate relocation activity: a need for companies to support their planned expansion into emerging markets, and a need to fill the void in available local talent in those markets.”

Of interest in the results of the survey is the fact that while companies will be increasing the number of employees they relocate abroad in the next two years, they will be changing the type of contracts that are on offer to these employees and will be reducing assignment durations and assignment benefits: “The survey also documented the trend toward benefit ‘right sizing’ which, for many companies, has been driven by years of a tough economic climate that have made them smarter and more targeted in their assignment programs,” Spinolo said in a press release.

While it could be assumed that reduced benefits may potentially lead to a reduction in the number of employees who are willing to relocate, it appears that this may not be the case. The survey revealed that it is their future careers that constitute employees’ top consideration when contemplating whether or not to accept an overseas posting. Of those surveyed, 90 percent of workers accept job transfers for “career development” before “attractive compensation,” with compensation ranking second on the list at 35 percent.

“The Trends in Global Relocation Survey provides a worldwide snapshot and inside look at the numerous challenges facing multinational corporations and their transferring employees,” said William Sheridan, vice president of the National Foreign Trade Council. “The survey helps our entire industry stay abreast of global relocation trends and is a tremendous tool for companies because it provides a unique set of data that helps them review their present and planned activities in the context of other multinational firms’ plans.”