What Drives the Growth of Global Mobility — And its Remaining Challenges

Once deemed a low-volume activity, international assignments have certainly peaked with many global mobility professionals these days constantly on their toes, making sure the talents they recruit are well taken care of in a business environment that has become increasingly global.

Growth areas like the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and other mature economies have driven demand for global talents, with new simpler but not necessarily easier processes for global mobility specialists to rise up to the challenge.

Thanks to technology and office innovations, global mobility specialists can find talents to assume various roles—to be trained under the aegis of a company’s global growth initiative or, if they’re shipped abroad—as trainers to employees overseas primed for leadership or crucial support roles. Technology transfer is an old term but it’s still relevant today the way it drives the global mobility industry to seek structure where there was none before.

There is a lot to consider. More than ever, there is a need to address the best approach to structuring the process of hiring next-generation talents, global leaders as well as how to meet compliance requirements, immigration issues, compensation, benefits, cost management, regulations, corporate requirements while it’s simultaneously pressured by new market forces, even globalization itself.

Lack of speed and flexibility are still problematic. This is not surprising given that one has to deal with the regulations of the host country and the sponsoring country as well. It’s like trying to hitting two birds with one stone but not knowing if the birds will go in your direction or they fall in someone else’s lap. And the way that thinking goes is pretty much the current state of the industry. While it’s still a manual and costly procedure, there have been significant improvements.

Global mobility has definitely come a long way from one ugly incident back in 2006 when a global firm with about 400 international deployments spent nearly $100 million on global mobility, according to Deloitte. Traditional long-term assignments then reportedly accounted for over 60% of this total, yet only represented 10% of the deployments.

However, that same company also implemented a new mobility platform that now provides structured decision-making around this important and significant investment. In addition to improved efficiency, flexibility, and bottom-line savings, the company is reportedly seeing a greater return on every dollar it invests in global mobility.

It’s getting there. (DC)