Organizations all over the world are leveraging the benefits of a globally mobile workforce. According to a KPMG International survey, 72 percent of over 600 respondents use global mobility programs to support overall business objectives. KPMG International’s 15th annual Global Assignment Policies and Practices (GAPP) survey provides a wealth of information for those responsible for or interested in global mobility. The detailed data found in these pages is an opportunity to compare or contrast one’s current practices to those of their peers or other types of organizations. Further, it allows for critical learning of best practices and new ways of thinking.
“A globally mobile workforce is as popular as ever,” says Achim Mossmann, Principal, KPMG’s International Executive Services, KPMG in the US. “Over the 15 years of this survey’s existence, in those companies where use of mobility is the norm, we have seen continued expansion and adaptation to the programs. We even see companies with headquarters in Nordic and Asia Pacific regions beginning to jump on the globalization bandwagon and needing to move their people to new strategic growth locations.”
Flexibility and adaptability of programs to address changing demands is strongly evidenced through the variety of assignment types offered:
- 81 percent offer short term assignments;
- 96 percent offer long term assignments;
- 47 percent offer permanent transfer/indefinite length assignments.
Surprisingly, given the current economic environment, and the noted desire to support the business, only 12 percent of survey participants say that cost control and assurance of an acceptable return on investment (ROI) are of importance.
According to Mossmann, “Having agreed upon metrics to demonstrate ROI helps any global mobility program demonstrate objectively their value to the broader organization and secure continued program funding. However, a notable amount of survey participants struggle to track ROI information as it relates to international assignments—27 percent do not know the percentage of assignees that leave the organization within 12 months of repatriation and 31 percent do not know why they leave.”
Encouragingly, survey participants, year-on-year, continue to exhibit inclusionary mindsets as it relates to the definition of a “family” within their policies for benefit purposes. Fifty-five percent include unmarried domestic partners/companions of the opposite gender and 49 percent include unmarried domestic partners/companions of the same gender.
These broader definitions are most evident in European and Asia Pacific-headquartered organizations, and also within the financial services and high technology industries. In circumstances where organizations may offer incentives for assignees to accept international opportunities, many survey participants also take into consideration dual-career couples and their children.
For instance 21 percent provide job search support in the host country and 21 percent reimburse education expenses for the spouse/partner. Forty-one percent offer language training and 37 percent offer cross-cultural training to the assignee, spouse and their children.
Overall, the use of international assignees will remain the same amount or more for 86 percent of survey participants.