Most expatriates satisfied with benefits provision

Expatriate employees are satisfied with the benefits provided by their multinational employers, according to research by Cigna and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC).

Its Expatriate trends study 2013, which surveyed 1,511 expatriates in 140 countries, found that 80% of respondents received general relocation services, 63% received settling-in services and 65% received medical preparedness.

The research also found:

  • 78% of respondents, or their family members, have accessed medical care while on an expatriate assignment.
  • Respondents under the age of 34 were less informed about the specifics of their health plans.
  • 59% of respondents were unaware of their employer’s repatriation assistance and did not know whether their employer would track what happens to them after they return home.

Sheldon Kenton, senior vice president, global employer sales at Cigna, said: “While many industry surveys illustrate the job employers feel they’ve been doing to prepare and support their expatriates, little has been heard from the expatriates themselves in the last decade. 

“This survey allows us to examine disconnects between employees and employers, and sheds light on how to better support the globally mobile workforce, and in turn, the organisations that appreciate their valued assets around the world.”

Bill Sheridan, vice president, international HR at the National Foreign Trade Council, added: “It’s imperative for employers to ensure that their most valued resource, their human capital, is equipped with all of the information necessary to ensure a successful expatriate assignment. 

“Valuable employer-sponsored programmes and services made available to expatriates scarcely yield their intended benefit when they aren’t effectively communicated.

“Given the integral role HR professionals play in designing programmes for expatriates, an enhanced awareness of the typical challenges and potential barriers to success for expatriates while they’re on assignment is critical.

“The survey results indicate organisations could benefit from elevating this group’s understanding of the unique needs and concerns of this population, either through consultancy or hiring HR professionals with actual expatriate assignment experience.”