International Assignments

 

Duration

Short-term assignments are taking hold internationally. Over a third of companies say the typical duration is now less than 12 months, similar to the percentage that report a standard length of 1-3 years (38% vs. 44%). Around a fifth of firms report a typical duration of three years or more.

  • Standard relocation lengths of less than a year are more likely for small and mid-size firms (48% and 40% vs. 30%), while large firms are the most likely to indicate relocations usually last a year or more (70% vs. 60% of mid-size and 52% of small firms).
  • Firms indicated around four out of ten relocations were traditional long-term assignments, a fifth were short-term or temporary, and roughly a fourth were permanent transfers. Almost one out of ten belonged to another assignment type (commuter, etc.). Almost half of mid-size and large firms expect the use of short-term/temporary assignments to increase; around a third of small firms do as well.
Question 43c
What is the typical international relocation assignment duration for employees at your company?
Chart Q43c
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Question 43d
In 2014, what percentage of your international relocations were...
Chart Q43d
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Question 43e
Do you expect the number of international short-term/temporary assignments in 2015 to...
Chart Q43e
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Destination

The volume of relocations into the United States made it one of last year’s top international destinations. Relocations originating in the U.S. went to many regions, with Western Europe (37%), Asia (34%), Canada (31%), Eastern Europe (31%) and the United Kingdom (30%) rounding out the top six, including the U.S. The United States was the top region for intraregional transfers of expatriates, indicating both immigration to the U.S. and movement by foreign nationals within the U.S. was markedly higher. Western Europe saw similar levels of intraregional relocations by expats (34% vs. 39% U.S.). Western Europe was the top destination for interregional transfers (39%), followed by the United States (35%), Asia (32%), Eastern Europe (31%) and the United Kingdom (29%).

Question 12b-1
Most frequent destinations of transfer in 2014: within the U.S
Chart Q12b
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Question 12b-2
Most frequent destinations of transfer in 2014: between U.S. and another country
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Question 12b-3
Most frequent destinations of transfer in 2014: between U.S. and another country
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Question 12b-4
Most frequent destinations of transfer in 2014: within a single foreign country
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Question 12b-5
Most frequent destinations of transfer in 2014: within a single foreign country
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Question 12b-6
Most frequent destinations of transfer in 2014: between two foreign countries
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Question 12b-7
Most frequent destinations of transfer in 2014: between two foreign countries
Chart Q12b7
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Policy

The vast majority of firms, the highest percentage historically, report differences between domestic and international policies. This is driven largely by a dramatic increase in small firms allowing for policy differences. However, even as more firms differentiate their policies, the percentages of firms offering certain benefits dropped from last year, i.e., additional tax considerations (44% vs. 61%) and allowances for children to attend certain schools (42% vs. 54%). Other policy considerations showed stark increases compared to last year: additional leave time (28% vs. 18%), security support program (31% vs. 21%), and extended per diems (28% vs. 11%).

  • Mid-size and small firms are driving increases in additional leave time and security support. However, large and mid-size firms are driving increases in extended per diem and decreased allowances for specific schools. The drop in additional tax considerations overall was driven largely by mid-size firms.

Firms maintained increases in financial services assistance compared to previous levels (39% vs. 18% in 2012) while many other considerations in policy remained below historical highs. Exceptions were higher levels of firms offering financial services assistance (39% vs. 32%), security support programs (31% vs. 21%), and extended per diems (28% vs. 11%) compared to last year. The percentages of firms offering higher relocation allowances (41%) or higher rent allowances (37%) internationally remained near historically normative levels as well (38% and 37% on average for 2003-2014 respectively).

Question 43i-1
Does your company's international relocation policy offer...
Chart Q43i
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Question 43i-2
Does your company's international relocation policy offer...
Chart Q43i2
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