Shaping future Global Mobility developments

Each year, multiple organisations run various research projects, reaching out to hundreds of companies to put together detailed reports of trends within the Global Mobility industry. Having recently read AIRINC’s latest “2018 Mobility Outlook Survey”, I was surprised and intrigued by many of the responses relating to how companies manage and track their globally mobile workforce.

This year’s report was compiled using responses to a set guideline of questions; these questionnaires were answered in detail by numerous organisations, spanning across a range of industries including: financial, tech, consumer goods and manufacturing, with program sizes ranging from less than 100 assignees, to a more substantial 1000+ assignees.

After reviewing AIRINC’s recent report, I noted a few points that I found to be particularly significant in perhaps predicting and shaping future Global Mobility developments…


Firstly, I was shocked to learn that a large proportion of organisations that were surveyed are making a move away from mobilising expatriates, with 41% fewer expats being sent overseas on assignments. Moreover, this figure shoots up to a noteworthy 66% when we turn to look at the Oil and Gas industry.

Use of analytics to track assignment success:

Another finding from AIRINC’s survey that came as a surprise to me (and I can imagine many others!) was that almost half (48%) of all companies surveyed do not use analytics to help report on the success of their assignments. In fact, only 12% of respondents admitted to regularly using these resources, with a further 25% declaring that they do not plan to use this in the future.

Cost Projections:

With regards to Cost Projection practices, 64% of AIRINC’s sampled population argued that they regularly require cost projections in order for international assignments to be approved. In addition, only 7% of those businesses that were questioned as part of the survey do not run assignment cost projections at all as part of their mobility operations. Evidently, when it comes to issues surrounding cost projections, this remains a crucial part in the successful functioning of Global Mobility service providers.

Tracking Actual Cost against Cost Projections:

Despite the fact that 64% of the companies that participated in the 2018 survey mentioned that they require cost projections for project approvals, 56% of survey contributors admitted that they do not compare the actual final cost of the assignment against the previously estimated cost. In fact, only 11% of surveyed organisations do ensure that they check their cost projections against the actual costs of the assignment.

Repatriating employee retention rate;

With consideration of employee retention rates, the majority of those questioned (64%) do not currently track their staff retention rates after repatriation. This fact was surprising to me as collecting this kind of data would prove useful moving forward to monitor talent mobility trends and whether to relocate staff in the future.


AIRINC’s survey also notes that on average, any given company will have approximately 4.4 Global Mobility policies. However, the findings also state that around 33% of the companies who took part in the survey were planning to add a further business traveller policy to their existing documentation later on this year. The most common policy types mentioned included; short-term assignment, long-term assignment, international one-way transfer and business traveller policies.

Challenges and Successes in Global Mobility:

Finally, AIRINC’s section dedicated to global mobility challenges and successes was of particular interest to myself. Perhaps somewhat predictably, 53% of participants reported that issues surrounding reducing costs were the biggest challenges that they were facing. In contrast the survey concluded that the greatest successes of the Global Mobility industry over the past year related to greater collaboration and integration with service providers, with 55% confirming this as the greatest advancement of 2018.

As Global Mobility continues to evolve, accompanied with the increase in input and understanding from stakeholders, it appears that a large number of companies plan to begin to not only track their assignees, but also the costs of assignments, employee retention and return on investment.

To review the full survey, please visit;

Written by Amber Pittard – Global Account Manager at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions

Posted in categories: Expats, Global Mobilty, International