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The State of the Global Mobility Profession - 2019

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

As the world becomes an altogether smaller place, global mobility has gone from being a niche industry catering to executives from large international companies to becoming an essential aspect of many businesses. Running these relocations are the global mobility professionals, working both independently and embedded in organisations, masters of many trades and ultimately responsible for the success or failure of global assignments.

“As the world has changed, the rapid advancement of business globalisation has continually opened the doors to global mobility. Not only is global mobility becoming more and more common for companies of all sizes, in 2019 we now have the technology to back up these ambitions.
“However, in a people business such as this, it’s essential to remember that although technology is incredibly powerful, it can only do so much. It lacks a human element, and global mobility needs one.”
Sebastien Deschamps – CEO and Co-Founder, ReloTalent

This report looks at the current state of the global mobility profession and highlights the questions that this data raises for the future.

An Aging Profession

We often read of countries with an aging population, but is global mobility suffering in the same way? Our research discovered that 57.6% of global mobility professionals have been working in the sector for over 10 years, whereas only 0.3% of workers have been in the sector for less than a year. This could be due to low recruitment into the industry or the adoption more efficient working practices, resulting in a more compact and agile workforce; it is certainly true that current top relocation technology providers are changing the way the industry works. Regardless, it is certain that the industry needs to recruit more young talent if it is to avoid an awkward talent shortage in the coming decade.

“The industry is a product of the adaptations businesses are making to embrace globalisation, and these adaptations will define us for years to come. Although it can be exhilarating to see how many industries are fitting global mobility into their strategies, we must keep our eye on the prize.”
Sebastien Deschamps – CEO and Co-Founder, ReloTalent

Mobility on the Move

Maybe it is to be expected, but global mobility professionals are highly mobile, with 46.2% having been in their current position for 2 or less years. In fact, only 9.3% of global mobility experts have been in their current position for over 10 years. This could certainly be a result of the global mobility seeing significant growth over the past decade, and many new professionals in their field still finding their feet. On the other hand, it seems that once you see the world of opportunities before you, it’s difficult to resist.

A Need for Analysis

While Global Mobility Managers account for 36.0% of professionals in the industry, Analysts account for only 2.7%. This highlights a potentially worrying gap in the sector, especially when there is a significant need for cost reduction across the board. These are the people with the skills to take the huge amounts of data that are generated and use it to improve service delivery for both the business and assignee. As we move towards a more technology and data-focused industry over the next few years and decades, it is this area of the global mobility profession which we will have to grow and nurture if we are to make significant strides forward.

“The sector shows no signs of slowing down its growth, and must make the correct choices now to support its success in the long term.
“The role of the Global Mobility Manager is certainly one of the most promising job roles in modern international businesses, and will continue to grow in its significance. Individuals looking to enhance their careers in this field need to ensure that they master the diverse set of skills needed for the role, but also understand where technology can come in to support and enhance their activity.”
Sebastien Deschamps – CEO and Co-Founder, ReloTalent

Global Mobility is Big Business

When looking at the size of companies that global mobility professionals choose to work for our study found a striking result. 64.0% of industry workers are working in companies that have over 10,000 employees. Only 14.1% of relocation specialists are at businesses with under 1,000 employees, demonstrating that is, understandably, still the largest global players that have the largest global mobility requirements. Is this because smaller businesses have no need for global mobility activities, or are there other factors such as cost or lack of skills that are holding them back?

“It’s clear that organisations that want to advance in the current business landscape will succeed by giving global mobility professionals a seat at the top table, and making the sector a core pillar of their corporate strategy.”
Sebastien Deschamps – CEO and Co-Founder, ReloTalent

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