Companies are using expatriate assignments for an ever-increasing set of needs. Besides responding to specific client requirements or expanding the business into new markets, expat assignments are great developmentally for employees, raising the level of both engagement and loyalty. In a 2018 Allianz Care survey, 70% of respondents believed that offering staff expatriate assignments increases their loyalty. This could be why they also found in that survey that 91% plan for further expansion in expat assignments.
Increasing expatriate activity is certainly a trend being seen within our own client base, but also elsewhere within the industry. From the 2017 KPMG GAPP survey report, 54% of participants stated that global assignments are a formal part of their talent development and that over the next five years:
- 79% of them will use extended international business trips (three months or more) more often
- 62% of them will use short-term assignments more often
- 71% will see an increase in the use of developmental or training assignments
- 62% will have an increase in the use of indefinite/permanent transfers
So, here are five expat assignment trends to consider now and into the future:
- Deployment volumes are increasing
- Assignments are decreasing in duration with short-term assignments and extended business trips being even more popular
- The percentage of female expatriates will continue to grow in the future, and the expatriate population will continue to become more diverse
- Younger employees are being sent on expat assignments
- Improved repatriation processes are enhancing retention
As the "future of work" continues to get discussed, analyzed and predicted, consider the above mobility trends and what your program needs to do to be ready!
Even with the world at our fingertips, nothing beats on-the-ground communication. For hundreds of years, companies have sent employees around the world to work in new markets. These expatriates land on the ground, learn new ways of living and working, eat the local food, sometimes learn a new language, get culture shock, make new friends, and in the middle of this turmoil, get work done. But over the years, and especially since the creation of the Internet and now that the millennial generation has started to fill the workforce, the way companies approach expat assignments has shifted. So, what does a typical expat work assignment look like today? And, more importantly, how does that affect leaders and managers all over the world?