Mercer: Expat assignments highly valued by multinationals

05 March 2014 2 min. read
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The number of expat-assignments will rise in the coming two years; this follows Mercer’s international investigation. Mainly this can be ascribed to the global economic recovery, and the international mismatch between bid and ask regarding talent.

In the annual recurring report ‘Multinational Employers’ Mercer analyzed the expat-policy of large multinationals. The edition from 2014 shows that organizations are gradually leaving the economic crisis modus behind and focus more on opportunities for expansion. From this, 50% of the organizations point out that, in contrast with past times, upcoming two years more managers will be stationed abroad. This increase concerns all types of occupational send outs, both in the short-term and in the long-term.

''On a global scale the improving economy forces small and large organizations to fight for hiring the most suitable employee.  To both employer and employee, international working experience is a prerequisite'' as quoted by Ellen van Arenthals, Expat consultant at Mercer.

Expat opdrachten weer in trek bij multinationals


A big difference with previous years is that organizations expect to become more critical towards the match between foreign roles and the added value of placing an expat.

''Compared to previous years, organizations' focus will be aimed on fitting international assignments to strategic- and operational goals, more and more. That is ofcourse a risk consideration being made from a HR-point of view, but also, time, effort and financial issues are important. An international placement should bring about the most ideal yield possible. An assignment that does not fit an organization’s goals or the employee, is a waste of time.'' Says van Arenthals.


Conclusively, large multinationals report they want to cut wages even more. Looking at costs associated with sending an expat, this is not surprising: the total costs of moving an employee and family abroad, accommodation and compensation easily weigh up to three basic monthly salaries. This is what makes an international placement, even though often unavoidable, a financial risk. ''The traditionally splendid send outs make way for alternative send outs where reimbursements are matched with the kind of send out'' predicts Mercer's advisor.