There’s little use denying that the workforce is becoming increasingly globalised. The development of technology has helped to bring down borders in a manner unprecedented in the history of our species and this has ushered in an age of increased international mobility. According to research by Mercer Global, the international consultancy dealing with talent management, health, retirement and investments, this is only set to increase: 70% and 55% of businesses are expecting to increase short- and long-term overseas assignments respectively.
The Worldwide International Assignments Policies and Practices report reveals that, compared to 2010 and 2011, the annual estimated increase of long-term assignments has only risen by 3%, up from 52%. However, short-term assignments are increasing at a much more significant rate and have leapt up from 53% in the same period. Among these assignments there is still a huge gender divide, with just 13% going to female assignees – although this does represent a marginal increase from the 10% of two years ago.
Respondents listed a variety of reasons for their increasing need to reassign talent to foreign territories. The most commonly cited was to provide access to technical skills otherwise unavailable, with 47% of respondents indicating it was a motivation. Providing access to career management and leadership development was cited by 43% of businesses, aiding knowledge transfer by 41% and catering to the requirements of specific projects by 39%.
“International assignments have become diverse in order to meet evolving business and global workforce needs,” commented Anne Rossier-Renaud, principal in Mercer’s global mobility business. “Mobility and HR directors now face great complexity in the number and type of international assignments that need managing.”
It’s hardly surprising, given that globalisation has featured firmly on the corporate agenda for decades now, that reassigning talent to other countries forms such an important part of managing businesses across borders. But the significance of these rises demonstrates the increasing mobility of talent in the digital age.
And that sure ain’t something to turn your nose up at.