It’s fair to say that the pandemic has represented both a challenge and an impetus for the
global mobility sector.
While COVID-19 has certainly created obstacles, with travel bans and border closures becoming part of our daily lives, it has also shown the undeniable value of fluid international collaboration, and having the right now how in the right place at the right time.
In this post, we’ll review trends from 2021 and predict those we expect to continue into 2022.
Remote & virtual working
The trend towards virtual working was clearly accelerated by the pandemic, and although this has slowed slightly in recent months, it’s clear that this working format is here to stay.
With 48% of global mobility professionals predicting that international remote working will
increase in 2022 , both companies and employees or job applicants have various considerations to make
when defining new policies and working methods.
- Legal and taxation issues – international remote working requires a detailed study of regulations both in the country where the company is based and where the employee resides. It’s important to have a skilled legal team to establish whether the two jurisdictions have any mutual agreements, and which of the laws and taxations systems apply to all aspects of the employment contract and remuneration.
- Employee and corporate compliance – how to implement systems that ensure bot employees and corporations are fulfilling their responsibilities and duties, while still maintain freedom and flexibility, which is proven to enhance performance.
- Safeguarding data – companies will have to accelerate digital development programmes to ensure that both employees and sensitive company data is protected by robust cyber security measures.
- Employee experience and career development – one of the challenges of remote working is ensuring that employees who work virtually maintain the same level of access to training, wellbeing assistance and promotion opportunities. In 2022 we expect to see more global companies put systems put in place to support this aim.
Inclusion & diversity
While the overall trend towards Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) is steadily on the up, Deloitte’s 2021 trend report. found disappointing gaps between general policy and initiatives directly related to Global Mobility. While a survey of 1322 CEOs in 77 different countries found that 77% of organisations have or intend to develop a DE&I strategy, the
statistics related to Global Mobility were a stark contrast:
- Only 10% of companies stated that their mobility programs had been specifically designed to align with DE&I initiatives.
- Only 1 in 5 posts and projects assigned internationally are given to women.
- 61% of employers are unaware of conditions for the LGBT community in countries of operation when assigning LGBT employees to international roles and projects.
- Only 6% of leaders actively encourage mobility to minorities.
This is clearly an area that the Global Mobility sector must address in 2022.
In terms of green initiatives, the greatest challenged the Global Mobility sector faces is the
carbon footprint of frequent air travel. While business travellers are not the only driver for the increase in international travel over the past decade, the Global Mobility sector can certainly play an essential role in decreasing air travel emissions, without putting the brakes on international mobility of talent.
Some of the initiatives we hope to see more of in 2022:
- Emphasis on longer term international assignments, which allow a more sustainable version of mobility. Allowing for long term projects with wider scope rather than a series of short, intensive assignments can increase productivity and lower the corporation’s carbon footprint.
- People centred approach – taking into account factors that can increase an employee’s quality of life such as longer term assignments with cultural integration programs and geographical proximity to family, have a secondary effect of reducing their individual carbon footprint.
- Increased efficiency. This could include identifying which meetings will be most productive in person, preparing international meetings and assignments thoroughly for maximum success, therefore avoiding repetitive travel, andmoving towards a more intentional model to favour for example a conference style gathering in a centra location every few months, rather than weekly return flights for single meetings.
Despite challenges, international companies still see immigration and global mobility as a key part of their long term plans.
A 2021 survey conducted by KPMG shows that 45% of companies said they were maintaining their Global Mobility immigration policy as pre pandemic, with a lower 40% saying they would make some revisions and only 15% stating they would create a totally new policy.
The key concept that we predict continuing in 2022 is flexibility.
- Companies will need to build margins into every standard relocation and international
assignment to allow for delays to visas , permits and travel.
- The possibility of working from more than one location should also be included in
contracts wherever possible.
- With the ever changing landscape of global business, employees will also need to be open to upskilling, reskilling and both interdepartmental and international mobility.
In short, we can conclude that the only certainty in international business, in 2022 and beyond, is constant change. The companies who will continue to thrive are those able to adapt through uncertain times.
At Carbray we stay up to date with every new development in the ever changing international landscape, in order to provide the most timely and accurate global mobility advice, and execute decisive and strategic solutions for our clients. Contact us to consult our expert multilingual team.