mobility for millennials

Millennials, Their Mobility Mindset, and the Advantages They Create for Global Mobility Specialists

Only a decade ago, working overseas was considered either a desperate move for those seeking a better life, or a path to leadership for middle-aged executives who wanted to leave a legacy before retirement.

Today, millennial employees, from their early twenties to their middle thirties, even in their mid-forties, see them not just as possible, but as necessary for career advancement. In as much as the Internet and globalization have changed the landscape of business, travel, and communications, they have also infused this newest generation with the “mobility mindset.”

Employment in another country is no longer far-out, remote, or improbable as their parents or older siblings thought it to be.

According to a study by Graebel, 84 percent of the millennials they interviewed said they were willing to relocate to another country for a new job. Another 82 percent added that they believe relocation will become mandatory for career advancement. This was echoed by another survey by PWC, where 66 percent of respondents said they regard “international experience” as vital to furthering their careers.

All these millennials are a far cry from the image of the traditional expatriate who is usually in his forties, married with kids, and furthers his company’s business interests through a lot of networking and formal wining-and-dining. Instead, they are usually unattached, with no offspring, and are more than willing to backpack their way throughout the world.

The U.S. is still the most preferred work destination of many assignees, domestic and foreign. The top five most popular cities that draw millennials are New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, and San Francisco. Northern California is another attractive region because of the expansion of Silicon Valley and the openly diverse culture that respects the heritage of ethnic communities. Outside the US., London, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, and Berlin take the honors.

Global mobility specialists can take this opportunity to fill their ranks with highly motivated, teachable, and energetic talents who can contribute to the organization, and in time establish themselves as future leaders. These young assignees walk their talk and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifice to make the trip to their dream destinations. About 72 percent said they would postpone having kids, and another 71 percent would postpone marriage plans, if it means a foreign assignment.

The HRO Today stresses that millennials with the mobility mindset see expatriate assignments as a long-term learning process. Unfettered by the family responsibilities that older executives usually have, they can move from one location to another. And unlike senior managers who prefer a locked-in contract that lasts for several years in one place, younger mavericks are more open to jumping to the next foreign assignment as soon as their initial contract ends — and they would be more than willing to listen to the options you give them, like short-term projects or pioneering offices in Asia or Eastern Europe.

And while foreign assignees do value higher compensation packages, they are more flexible in accepting a lower rate if it means an exchange in other perks, such as skills training like languages, or paid vacations in the more exotic areas of their host country.

Finally, this flexibility extends to the arrangements of their relocation. Millennials would gladly receive a stipend that would enable them to choose their own housing accommodations, flight details, and relocation services. Some of them may prefer to deal directly with organizations like us at California Corporate Housing because of our acceptance of home automation and tech gadgets like Amazon Echo in our corporate housing units. This independence will free the global mobility specialist to concentrate on other areas such as itemizing the assignee’s work responsibilities, report structure, and immigration requirements.

The millennials’ mobility mindset is one of the attributes that global mobility specialists should welcome in this new generation, even those much older but open to new ways of living their lives. By understanding it, they can collaborate to build the global workplace of the future.