SOURCE: Cartus


April 14, 2010 08:00 ET

Cartus Survey Shows Renewed Growth in Global Relocation

New Assignment Types Balance Cost and Talent; Younger Profiles Emerge

DANBURY, CT--(Marketwire - April 14, 2010) -  According to a new survey from Cartus Corporation, the premier provider of employee relocation solutions, a new global workforce is emerging from the economic doldrums of the past three years. Co-sponsored by the U.S. National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), the pre-eminent business association dedicated solely to international trade and investment issues, the 2010 Global Policy & Practices Survey: Navigating a Challenging Landscape explores trends across various types of relocation assignments, including short-term and permanent transfers, and illustrates how much the international mobility picture has changed from a traditional focus on long-term assignments (more than one year in duration). The survey revealed that although 30% of respondents saw decreases in their overall assignment activity over the past three years, they nevertheless expect growth in all assignment types. Except for the most costly long-term assignments, companies anticipating growth outnumbered those expecting declines by a 6-1 margin.

The study also found that companies are replacing more traditional assignment types with newer, more flexible approaches. More companies reported a drop in long-term assignments than a gain over the past three years. Meanwhile, nearly twice as many companies reported a gain in short-term assignments. Short-term assignments appear increasingly to be used for career and talent development -- a goal traditionally associated with long-term assignments.

"Given the stiff economic headwinds that companies have faced, a decrease in overall assignment activity since 2007 is understandable," said John Arcario, executive vice president at Cartus. "The news is the broad expansion in approaches that companies are taking by deploying talent globally to achieve their corporate objectives."

William Sheridan, NFTC vice president, agreed. "The greater use of short-term and other assignment types offers a way to navigate between the need for globalization and the ability to pay for it," said Sheridan.

The 2010 survey attracted 196 HR practitioners based in the Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific (APAC) regions, in industry segments such as manufacturing, technology, financially services, chemicals, and computer/telecommunications. The organizations surveyed are mostly (71%) based in the Americas, compared with 19% based in EMEA and 10% APAC-based.

Other key findings in the Cartus 2010 Global Policy & Practices Survey included:

  • Young and/or single: There is a strong trend toward relocation assignees who are young and/or single, with the under-30 group increasing substantially from 19% in 2007 to 29% in 2010, and single assignees increasing even more from 29% to 42%. This newer profile matches the emerging extended business travel policy type, which requires less financial support than those that encompass married assignees with accompanying families.
  • More companies "going local" with their assignment approaches: In increasing numbers, employees who take jobs in other parts of the world may be doing so with the understanding that the jobs will be permanent -- and on compensation and benefit scales more reflective of the new location than their home base. In other words, says Arcario, "While companies still need to ensure they have the right talent in the right places, they are employing workforce strategies that move away from traditional, long-term expatriate packages and trend toward modified benefits and pay scales." Both localization and permanent transfers, the two assignment types that reflect this approach, are anticipated to increase over the next two years by nearly 50% of respondents.
  • New emerging markets: Multinational companies are moving assignees to many more countries than in the past -- among them, new and challenging emerging market locations such as Mexico, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. Although many of these new destinations may be unprepared to accommodate assignees, the largest companies surveyed are willing to head in whatever unique directions are necessary to take advantage of opportunities for global expansion.
  • Ensuring assignment success: Approximately one company in three (30%) uses assessment tools to help the company and/or the employee determine suitability for assignment. Another 21% are considering adding assessment programs to help identify suitable candidates and thereby reduce the incidence of failed assignments.

"Companies are dealing with a myriad of challenges and opportunities, such as new demographics that demand new types of support, emerging markets, and rapid global expansion," said Arcario. "No one single solution answers all those needs, and companies are implementing a broad array of approaches to continue their global business expansion goals."

[To receive an electronic copy of the 2010 Global Policy & Practices Survey: Navigating a Challenging Landscape, email, subject line "2010 GPP Survey."]

About Cartus
Cartus is the premier provider of global employee relocation solutions serving the corporate, government, and affinity markets. Through its industry-leading mobility management, outsourcing, consulting, and intercultural and language training, Cartus helps the mobile workforces of organizations of all sizes achieve success worldwide. With more than 50 years of experience, Cartus helps clients achieve cost reductions and enhance service performance to accomplish their organizational objectives. In January 2010, Cartus acquired Primacy Relocation, and together, they assist more than 140,000 employees annually. Cartus is a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services. Visit,, and for more information.

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