SOURCE: Cartus


November 19, 2013 07:00 ET

Cartus Survey Tracks Biggest Challenges in Global Relocation; Identifies New Key Trends Involving Social Issues

DANBURY, CT--(Marketwired - Nov 19, 2013) -

  • North America Surpasses China as Region 'Most Critical to Future Business Goals'
  • Cost Control Still the No. 1 Overall Challenge for International Mobility Managers
  • Same-Sex Partners Gaining Access to Corporate Relocation Benefits
  • Requests on the Rise for Elderly or Dependent Parents to Accompany an Assignee on Relocation

When it comes to multinational companies transferring employees, North America (the U.S., Mexico, and Canada) is now the most critical region for future business success, according to Cartus Corporation's just-released 2013 Trends in Global Relocation: Biggest Challenges survey of international mobility managers.

In one of the survey's key findings, North America (51 percent) moved into first place as the region most critical to future business success, narrowly edging Greater China (49 percent), last-year's top-ranked region. North America and China were followed by Europe (39 percent), and Central America and South America (34 percent).

"In general, the U.S. is still at the top of the list of global destinations for transferring employees because it remains the largest economy in the world and, combined with the rest of North America, remains atop everyone's list of places where businesses need to move top talent," said Matt Spinolo, executive vice president of Cartus.

The Cartus survey, which focused on geographic challenges in 11 regions around the world, received responses from 157 international mobility managers who were asked to evaluate regional challenges, and to rank -- by degree of severity -- issues specific to each region. The survey found that many of the issues impact not only the company's relocation managers, but also the daily lives and job success of their transferees.

Along with the top 10 regional challenges, the survey also identified a number of up-and-coming business and relocation trends. Among them: a majority of companies are now providing relocation benefits for same-sex partners.

Top 10 Global Relocation Challenges for International Companies: Controlling Costs Still No. 1

Controlling relocation and assignment costs remains the leading challenge for international companies, and most notably, increased 15 percentage points from last year's survey. Housing increased 10 percentage points from a year ago, while moving employees into areas with limited infrastructure also increased 10 points from a year ago, with both these areas likely reflecting increased relocation activity in emerging market locations.

Following are the 2013 rankings of the Top 10 Global Relocation Challenges:

    Rank   %
Controlling relocation/assignment costs   1   76
Housing (availability, suitability, price)   2   51
Complying w/laws & regulations (incl. visa, immigration)   3   49
Moving employees to areas w/limited infrastructure   4   39
Finding suitable candidates in the local market   5   33
Schooling (availability, wait-list issues)   6   29
Structuring compensation packages   7*   28
Attracting qualified candidates for international assignments   7*   28
Safety and security   9   26
Payroll and currency issues   10   25

Two New Trends at the Forefront: Relocation Benefits for Same-Sex Partners and Accompanying Elderly/Dependent Parents

The survey uncovered two important trends currently facing companies: whether to offer relocation benefits to same-sex partners; and, if and how companies should manage requests for elderly parents to accompany employees while on assignment.

"These two trends are another indication of the degree to which changing demographics and social issues are influencing the relocation landscape, both on domestic and global fronts," said Spinolo. "Companies are exploring these issues, and their responses, to ensure they can retain their top talent, remain competitive, and respond to their employees' ever-changing needs."

For domestic relocations (within the same country), 60 percent of companies said they are currently providing relocation benefits to same-sex partners regardless of the recognized status of the partnership, instead guiding their decisions based on their company's policy. Twenty-seven (27) percent of respondents do so if the partnership is recognized in the departure location; 14 percent said they are not providing benefits to same-sex partners; and 2 percent said that they were providing them on an exception basis only.

The percentage is even higher for international relocations: 78 percent of respondents said they provide relocation benefits to same-sex partners depending on whether or not they can obtain visas for the destination country. Fifteen (15) percent of respondents said they are not providing benefits to same-sex partners at this time, and 9 percent said they were providing them on an exception basis only.

When it comes to employee requests for elderly parents to accompany them while on assignment, nearly eight out of 10 companies (78 percent) responded that they were seeing an increase in these types of requests. Support being provided by companies varies: from full support if they are legally treated as the dependents of the assignee, to visa support or travel expenses only, to support on an exception basis only, to no support at all (responsibility is the assignee's).

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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    Alison Sedney
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    Hugh Siler (for Cartus)
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