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Global talent mobility strategic priority on path to growth, survey finds

Senior human resources leaders are approaching talent mobility with a new sense of purpose and support from the top. 63% of survey respondents indicate that employee mobility is high on their organisations’ leadership agenda. That’s according to the 22nd Talent Mobility Trends Survey by BGRS.

85% of respondents either recently made, are making, or are planning to make strategic changes to the way employee mobility is managed in their organizations, largely to align their primary remit with overall business strategy, develop innovative talent strategies and help business leaders achieve their objectives.

Joy Lee, director of talent mobility consulting at BGRS and report author, said, “The world’s leading companies are embracing talent mobility as an engine for growth, global expansion and workforce diversity and inclusion.

“With mobility now firmly in the sights of organizations’ senior leadership, we see a heightened sense of urgency and action – demonstrating a clear shift away from mobility being merely a process oriented function toward a strategically purposeful one.”

More than one quarter of respondents (27%) say that international work experience is a prerequisite to joining their company’s senior leadership team. In an increasingly globalised business landscape, this indicates a clear generational shift. Today, only 22% of Fortune 100 CEOs have international work experience. Further, of the ten oldest Fortune 100 CEOs, only two have taken international assignments, but among the youngest ten, eight have worked outside of their home country.

Nearly half of survey respondents (49%) indicate that the primary reason they are making enhancements to the mobile employee experience is to improve their satisfaction. This reinforces the importance of overall career management if companies want to continue to attract top tier candidates for strategic leadership assignments and retain high performing employees in whose development they are investing. Employee experience is no longer one-dimensionally focused on compensation package and satisfaction with the relocation service, but now encompasses impact on the long-term employee career. Younger employees not only desire international experience, but also expect it to have a tangible impact on their future.

With global mobility on the senior leadership agenda, having robust, accurate data is an imperative. 67% of respondents say that in the last three years the amount of data, analytics and benchmarks requested by top management regarding mobility has increased. Yet, 57% of respondents indicate they don’t have sufficient access to data that allows them to gain the insight they need into their company’s mobility program. The top three most significant data gaps reported are mobile employee retention statistics, aggregated cost of mobility programs, and employee career progression data.

Ellyn Karetnick, vice president and global head of talent mobility consulting at BGRS, commented, “We are seeing a seismic shift in the changing nature of work – from demographics, innovation and digital disruption, to globalization versus protectionism and employee outlook. Flexibility in practices and innovative work arrangements are paramount.

“For some organizations, it’s about deployment and getting ‘boots on the ground’, whereas for others it’s about linking mobile talent with succession and career planning. In either case, focus is on contribution to business growth and how mobility can be an effective lever to drive the bottom line.” 

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