Diversity and Data Mastery the Key Global Mobility Challenges in 2017 and beyond

RES Forum, the leading independent community for global mobility professionals with more than 1300 members from over 650 organisations in 40 countries releases their annual report on global mobility challenges.

Age diversity and how companies are exploiting – or not – the benefits from the identification and visualisation of global mobility information are just two of the key challenges facing global mobility (GM) professionals according to the 2017 Annual Report from RES Forum, the world’s largest and most active independent community for GM professionals.

Written by Professor Michael Dickmann, Professor of International Human Resource Management at Cranfield University School of Management, the Annual Report – the sixth from The RES Forum – looks in depth at the most relevant HR challenges facing the GM function today.

A summary of this year’s findings are below, but HR News readers can download the full report here.


The Data Challenge

Effective data analytics allow organisations to arrive at evidence-based conclusions and some of the key findings on this issue from the Annual Report include the fact that:

  • Multinationals are not exploiting IT and integration opportunities that may reduce cost and lead to a more standardised, possibly higher quality, GM service provision.
  • Almost all companies consider that general data analytics will be important to their GM programme management over the next three years.
  • Organisations plan to move forward in terms of analysing assignment success, retention and performance to predict success elements and patterns. Half aim to predict future assignment compensation, reward trends and costs and 40% to predict assignment types and movements and want to draw up lists of identified future GM candidates.
  • GM teams are starting to report on performance trends, nationality and the ethnicity breakdown of assignees versus the general employee population. Additionally, they will strive to compile an age breakdown of their assignee population.
  • In the next three years the biggest growth is expected to be in measuring ROI, retention of assigned talent after and during assignments, career progression of repatriated assignees post assignment and the early return of assignees.

The GM data analytics field is still immature and currently relatively neglected. However, the field is gathering energy, speed and focus and The RES Forum expects to see many interesting developments and trail blazing activities soon.


The Age Issue

Looking specifically at age related issues, some of the key perceptions of the companies surveyed in the Annual Report with respect to different employee age categories include:

  • Multinationals offer more developmental assignments to younger expatriates and more business needs/strategic assignments to older assignees.
  • As potential assignees get older, companies believe that it becomes more difficult to identify suitable candidates and to motivate them to accept postings and different sets of drivers motivate the different age groups.
  • Early/mid careerists (Gen Y, Millennials) change employers more often (36%) and are more frequently promoted (25%) than their older peers.
  • Mid/peak careerists (Gen X) are seen to fit more successfully into host teams and facilitate knowledge transfer more than their younger peers.
  • Business learning is seen as more extensive for mid/peak than late stage careerists (Baby Boomers). However, there is no real indication that the performance of late stage careerists is inferior to younger generations.


The report evidences bias in terms of how the different generations are perceived in the workplace. Much more on these issues and findings can be found in the full Annual Report which consists of five chapters that look specifically at the following areas:

  • The Brexit effect and what this means in the broader, VUCA-based geo-political environment in which we operate.
  • Age diversity and its effect within multinational corporations.
  • Pertinent organisational development and talent management considerations in GM.
  • GM data analytics opportunities and the potential benefits.


Author: Editorial Team

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