SOURCE: Cartus


August 07, 2013 08:00 ET

Cartus Survey Shows 48 Percent of Multinational Companies Expect Employee Relocation Levels to Increase in 2013

DANBURY, CT--(Marketwired - Aug 7, 2013) -

  • 82 Percent of Firms Believe an International Assignment Will Have a Positive Experience for an Executive's Career, Yet Only One in Five Transferees is Female
  • Younger Employees Showing Strong Interest in Taking Global Relocation Assignments
  • Don't Send Me There: India and China are Top Two Destinations Where Employees Do Not Want to be Transferred
  • U.S. and UK are Top Two Destinations Where Employees Want to be Transferred

In a sign of cautious optimism over global business prospects, 48 percent of all multinational companies say they expect their international relocation assignment activity to increase compared to 2012 levels, according to the 2013 Trends in Global Relocation: Talent Management and the Changing Assignee Profile survey from Cartus Corporation (an infographic is available here). In addition, 40 percent of respondents say they expect international assignment levels to remain the same and only 12% expect international relocation activity to decrease this year.

The survey also found that 82 percent of companies believe an international assignment will have a positive impact on an executive's career (up 30 percentage points in just four years). However, Cartus executives point out that a gender gap still exists: just 21 percent of such transferees are women.

"Companies realize that an international assignment is an investment in an employee and their overall talent management program," said Matt Spinolo, executive vice president of Cartus. "However, once again, nearly 80 percent of the time it's still a male going on assignment, versus just slightly more than 20 percent of female execs."

Spinolo added, "The question that needs to be asked is, 'Will the lack of an international assignment on a female executive's resume have a negative impact on her career path?' If, as our research points out, global assignments are key to developing global leadership skills, then what does this gender gap mean for female executives?"

Spinolo said the new survey confirmed the continuation of a trend that Cartus first reported in 2007, when only 21 percent of international assignees were females. This number hit a low of 19 percent in 2010 and in 2013 once again stands at 21 percent. He pointed to three steps companies can take to help female executives guide their careers to determine whether an international assignment is the right choice for them:

  • Establish mentoring programs 
  • Create an international networking group for female executives
  • Form a global posting process to generate more opportunities on a worldwide basis

Other Key Trends

This year's survey also sheds light on other key relocation trends: from demographics to where employees want -- and specifically do not want -- to be transferred.

Demographics Tilting Toward Younger Assignees

When asked which employees were most interested in taking international relocation assignments, 62 percent of respondents felt younger employees showed the highest interest, compared to only 12 percent who felt that older (Gen X and Baby Boomers) showed that same interest level.

Career Development Main Reason for Accepting Assignments

The three top reasons employees accept international assignments are: personal career development (85 percent), the perception that the assignment being considered is necessary for advancement (70 percent), and attractive compensation (34 percent).

Send Me Here, But Not There

When asked about the destinations where their employees showed the most -- and the least -- interest in taking an assignment, choices varied depending on whether the location was traditional (developed) or emerging. Developed market destinations generating the most interest include:

1. United States (65%)
2. United Kingdom (48%)

Developed-market destinations eliciting the greatest employee resistance include:

1. India - Tier 1 Cities (48%)
2. China - Tier 1 Cities (44%)

Top emerging-market destinations generating the most interest are:

1. Brazil (46%)
2. United Arab Emirates (37%)

Emerging-market destinations generating the most employee resistance are:

1. India - Tier 2-4 Cities (39%)
2. China - Tier 2-4 Cities (32%)

Companies are Focusing on Assignment Planning/Preparation

Many of the most common steps companies are taking involve preparation, both to link talent and global mobility and to increase the value of international assignments. The most highly rated of these include:

  • Ensuring that assignment objectives are included in performance reviews while on assignment (62%)
  • Prior to candidate selection, consider performance ratings for all assignments (60%)
  • Reviewing assignment objectives at the beginning of an assignment (50%)
  • Increased focus on candidate preparedness (49%)
  • Implementing a formal leadership approval process for assignments (46%)

Sequential Assignments: Continually on the Move

Over half of respondents (58%) reported having sequential assignments -- employees who move from one country to another on assignment -- with most (45%) having "a few" and 13% having "many."

Respondents pointed to tax treatment and pension portability as the most common issues associated with these assignment types.

The Cartus survey garnered responses from 142 international mobility managers whose companies represent a combined base of more than 6.6 million global employees. For information on this and other Cartus global relocation trends, research and studies, click here.

About Cartus

Cartus provides trusted guidance to organizations of all types and sizes that require global relocation solutions. Cartus serves over 64 percent of the Fortune 50. We provide service in more than 165 countries, applying our more than half century of experience to help our clients with their mobility, outsourcing, consulting, and language and intercultural training needs. Cartus is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. To find out how our greater experience, reach, and hands-on guidance can help your company, visit; read our blog at; or click for more information.

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