Singapore - Multinational companies are set to send more international assignees to emerging markets over the next few years as locally qualified talent remains in short supply.
According to the latest Managing Mobility Survey conducted by ECA International biennially, 54% of 300 companies have predicted increases in their global assignee workforce. Only 9% expect to reduce their international assignee numbers. Lee Quane, regional director for ECA International in Asia, says, "Strong economic activity in emerging markets in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Brazil coupled with a lack of locally qualified staff in key locations contributed to this."
But the need to save costs on assignment allowances or benefits remains critical with 26% of companies undertaking cost-benefit analysis currently. Another 46% reported that they are likely to do so in the next two years. Quane says companies would rather "streamline administration procedures to make savings rather than send assignees home". He says, "Many employers are reluctant to dismantle the talent bases they have built using assignees over several years and through heavy investment."
The top locations companies headquartered in Asia are sending employees to are China, Hong Kong and India. Those with head offices based outside the region are sending more employees to China, US and the UK. Quane says, "In many cases, slow economic recovery in the more mature economies has accelerated companies' plans for China whether this is for export manufacturing or for the domestic market."
Non-traditional expatriating locations are seeing a rise in international assignments as well with 70% of Indian companies and 78% of Taiwanese companies forecasting an increase in their assignees numbers.
Short-term or commuter-based assignments now represent one third of all international assignments. This reflects the need for HR to manage shorter term project-based work, use assignments for training and overcome international mobility challenges such as family, children's education and partner's career issues.
Expatriate workforces are also becoming more diverse with over half of respondents employing more than one nationality. Women now make up 12% of the expatriate workforce up from 6% fifteen years ago. The proportion of assignees aged between 25 and 35 and over 50 now make up 48% of assignees globally.
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