September 18th, 2020 / Insight posted in Articles

Moore Kingston Smith summarises the results of its global mobility survey August 2020

We are delighted to share the highlights from our recent global mobility survey, which we ran in August 2020. The survey explores the experience of businesses and their response to global mobility since the Coronavirus crisis started. We summarise the key decisions that organisations need to make about the future of their international cross-border employment arrangements.

International deployment of staff has been evolving in recent years. The global pandemic has accelerated some changes while creating new challenges and risks. It has also presented a vital need for timely planning for the future of international employment arrangements and working practices.

We have divided our findings into two areas: 1) key risks and challenges faced during the pandemic, and 2) planning for the new normal.

1.  Global mobility during the pandemic – risk and regulatory management

The Coronavirus shock has disrupted current and planned global mobility activities. It has led to numerous issues, including employees being stranded abroad or temporarily repatriated, assignments being terminated early and deployments being delayed.

The response for some companies has been to look at alternatives to temporary assignments such as permanent assignments, localisations of existing assignments and virtual assignments, alongside delayed relocation and repatriation.

This has triggered unintended tax and social security consequences, unexpected extensions to immigration arrangements, work permits and visas, difficulty accessing timely, accurate and reliable information on travel restrictions and quarantine arrangements.

Many companies have found they have inadequate policies and procedures for immigration, tax, education, accommodation, health and wellbeing, new employees working remotely outside their normal country of employment, as well displaced individuals in general.

2.  Global mobility and the new normal – a new global mobility roadmap

A key challenge is whether the Coronavirus will have a permanent effect on the strategies of internationalising and multinational companies.

To a large extent this depends on how long it lasts, as well as the continued threat of future pandemics, and:

  • Changes in the nature of work and changing patterns of work in different sectors and countries
  • Disruption to globalisation and supply chains
  • Impact of more productive automated systems and artificial intelligence
  • Survey feedback related to strategic planning.

The feedback from our survey indicates that companies see this as an opportunity to reappraise their strategies, re-evaluate policies and refresh their employee value proposition (EVP) for cross-border work.

Key challenges are how best to:

  • approach planning for future international employment arrangements
  • review standard international employment working practices
  • reassess EVP for cross-border deployments
  • assess assignment business case and alternatives.

What will be important is to develop a new mobility playbook and roadmap to ensure businesses are prepared for further uncertainty.

You can view a full summary of the results here.

If you would like to speak to us, please contact