Birds of a Feather: how Global Mobility has become as Proud as a Peacock

Updated: Dec 18, 2019



Like great flocks of migratory birds traversing transit routes, global mobility professionals have now alighted on Boston for the ERC Global Workforce Symposium, 16th - 18th October 2019. Amassing there from NA, EMEA, LAC, and APAC, thousands of relocation professionals will discuss the ins-and-outs of moving across borders.


In 2019 alone, Global Mobility conferences sponsored by the Worldwide ERC and EuRA have taken the global community under its wing and offered guidance about managing millions of individuals and their families abroad. From an eagle eye perspective, it’s as though the entire nation of France had decided to pack its things and move to another country - by 2016, there were over 60 million international transferees residing on assignment abroad with their corporation!


This growth has been driven by companies’ desire to remain globally competitive. Akin to the days of the Silk Road, a physical presence at an international hub, à la Rabban Bar Sauma of China sojourning to the West and Marco Polo of Italy in the East, is preferable to webexing across the globe. Dispatching talent on assignment unifies cultures, traditions, and engenders new business insights. Assignees are the new diplomats and act as international go-betweens both when they are on assignment and upon their repatriation.


But today, unlike the days of the occidental–oriental trade routes, there is no "as the crow flies" exchange. Assignments resemble the overlapping twigs of a global nest- where assignees migrate from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to Curitiba, Brazil, from Luanda, Angola to Houston Texas, or from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Singapore.


Once companies have identified the need for the assignment and have selected a viable

candidate- the logistical albatross around the neck begins and entails: securing a visa, preparing for the assignment, understanding employment laws, searching for and finding a home, moving personal items, relocating the family, discovering right-fit schools for the kids, and learning or coping with new language challenges. Behind these assignments is a gaggle of experts handling and supporting elements from real-estate to the special needs of children in order to ensure that the assignee and family takes to the assignment like a duck to water. With an exponential growth rate by 2022 there could be over 90 million transferees abroad, and that’s definitely something to crow about.


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