Brexit, ASEAN: How Global Mobility Professionals Can Cope with Global Volatility

Perhaps in recent years, no international event was as shocking as Britain’s exit from the European Union. While heads of state, industry leaders, and the populace alike are still reeling from the impact, the aftershocks have already started. Certain segments in other member countries like France, Italy, The Netherlands and Denmark have started clamoring for their own referendums, asking that their respective memberships be put to a vote. And if a majority of their citizens do vote exit, then we are looking at nothing less than a splintered Europe.

That’s one side of the story. Another massive change that is more promising and hopeful is happening on the other side of the globe. The ASEAN integration is bringing ten countries from the Southeast Asian  region into a common economic platform where goods, services, and labor will be shared. Its overall combined market, composed of 600 million people, is bigger than that of North America and the European Union.

While global mobility professionals are expert in the transfer of assignees to international work destinations, they are also beginning to realize that global volatility might just become the new norm. At the same time, their bosses, who are the heads of organizations, are also beginning to grasp with the implication that change will be ever-present and perhaps unpredictable.

With change comes opportunity. The closure of one market can mean the opening of a new one. The declining popularity of a workforce hotspot can point to the emergence of another.

Here are some tips on how global mobility professionals can cope with global volatility:

  • Heed the signs at a very early stage. Sometimes, busy skeds can keep us from keeping up with these changes until they are right near our doorstep. It doesn’t matter how improbable it sounds – but as soon as a development as cataclysmic as Brexit hits your newsfeeds, months before it happens, do the preliminary research. Understand the consequences and implications. Map out ways by which you can cope. The effort does not have to be time-consuming; a few hours every weekend will do. But it will prepare you in case the global map does move. If it doesn’t, those mental exercises sharpened your critical thinking skills.


  • Communications with your team must be constant. Keep your ear to the ground. Get an idea of what’s happening from ground up. Accelerate their concerns to management, if need be, to come up with quick but effective solutions.


  • Keep employee morale at a high level. Nothing dampens productivity than uncertainty. Your assignees will be asking about their compensation packages, work arrangements, and possible relocation. You may not have all the answers right now, but assure them confidently that you and the company have their best interests at heart, and are working on productive, long-lasting solutions.


  • Always keep an eye out for the more “stable”regions. Global volatility will not hit all regions at the same time. Fortunately, there will always be areas that will need expatriate workers, and which will always have a high level of economic and political stability. Northern California, in particular, has always drawn quality workers because of the presence of tech powerhouses, which do influence how the world is being shaped and changed.