Ellyn Karetnick: Global mobility vital in battle for talent

Organisations are on the move and expect to send more staff on assignments abroad, according to Mercer’s latest Worldwide international assignment policies and practices report, published in April 2013.

The war for talent is escalating as employers see signs of a global economic upturn, and there is an urgency to get top talent out into new or emerging markets.

Long-term assignments remain, but employers are becoming more economical, and alternative arrangements continue to grow. Short-term, commuter and rotational assignments and split family scenarios offer greater flexibility to attract talent and manage costs.

Meanwhile, staff are focusing more on their careers when deciding to accept a job posting, and career development and management is even overtaking attractive compensation in some cases.

To take critical talent to global locations, employers must consider their mobility philosophy in terms of why, who, where and when they are sending staff abroad. Cost is a factor, but it does not replace strategy and value, or the need for flexibility.

What benefits they offer depends on many variables, ranging from assignment types and objectives to geographies and demographics. Benefits are being streamlined and employers are seeking innovative, yet effective solutions to offer competitive packages.

Organisations and assignees alike are facing the realities of local market norms and practices, raising the bar on the need for local market strategies to achieve business priorities.

Ellyn Karetnick is head of international mobility at Mercer UK