The beginning of a new year is always a good time to take a look forward, both to the year ahead and beyond. This article highlights some the trends we can expect to take shape over the coming years. It includes topics like duty of care, millennial mobility, EBTs and gig work and how they might shape the future of the mobility industry. All of these are notable trends. Let’s add a few more to the list:
- Changing consumer preferences – One of the most significant trends we’ve seen in our own research is that people want to consume services differently than they have in the past. They want information available at their fingertips, sometimes with a lot of support, sometimes with very minimal human interaction. People expect that they can accomplish their objectives online and get it done quickly. People want and expect to have an experience that meets their lifestyle.
- War on talent – Incredibly tight employment markets will change the way companies focus on mobility and the employee experience. We predict that more focus will be placed on understanding the employee experience and what actions can be taken to improve it.
- Global supply chain – Let’s face it, it’s time for the relocation industry to evolve. The standard services offered by global supply chain need to advance to offer non-traditional, more supportive benefits. It’s time for relocation services to be updated to reflect the way we live our lives.
- Dynamics of high cost of living areas – Could the war on talent change people’s desire to live in places they can’t afford? In the coming years, I think we’ll see companies migrate toward cool, but less expensive places like Austin. People want to reach a place in their lives where they’re not room-sharing and are actually buying homes. Some locations, especially the hot locations on the West coast, are just out of reach for a lot of people. And this applies not just within the United States but worldwide. A few years ago, companies were flooding into Ireland and now that the market is more saturated and housing is becoming extremely tight, companies are looking to the next great place to build their next office.
- AI – Artificial Intelligence (AI) will shape the future of nearly every industry and mobility is probably no different. And if you break AI down to the basics, it’s taking data, trends and statistics to better validate decision making and predict future action. Rather than constantly looking in the rear-view mirror, companies will have a real way to look forward and make business decisions that can lead their organizations into the future.
What do you think we’ve missed? What are the trends to watch that will shape the future of the mobility industry?
We tend to look at mobility in simple terms: expatriates versus locals, international assignment versus localization, or balance sheet approach versus local plus approach. As the global mobility landscape is fast evolving, the temptation is to follow the same thinking pattern and assume that the advent of the millennials and new technologies will simply replace old approaches and make mobility easier or that new types of assignments such as short-term and permanent moves will systematically replace traditional long-term assignments. This oversimplification underestimates the complexity of the changes taking place and ignores some of the emerging dilemmas that will challenge mobility management practices in coming years.