Winning the war for internationally mobile talent

Winning the war for internationally mobile talent

How the Global Mobility Function can help

By Jannie Aasted Skov-Hansen and Paul Vanderbroeck

The most recent trends in mobility research, for example Santa Fe’s Global Mobility Survey  , show the opportunity for the Global Mobility function to take up a more strategic role. The pool of mobile employees is increasingly becoming fluid, unpredictable and diverse. Prof. Reiche of IESE business school therefore states that Global mobility professionals need to adjust to these various needs in order to attract, enable and retain talent.

On the one hand, the Santa Fe survey confirms two important trends: a substantial increase in self-initiated expatriation as well as in the number of female expatriates. In our view, this shifting profile of the mobile population hides another important development: more International Career Couples. Those who initiate their expatriation often are dual career couples. As a result of the Erasmus programme and international MBA programmes, couples from different nationalities are formed and after graduation pursue an international career together. Women expatriates often have a career partner.

On the other hand, the same survey shows that organisations are trying to solve the dual career challenge by offering short-term assignments without expatriating the whole family. Whereas this may make people internationally mobile, it does so at the expense on putting a burden on the individual and the family. What is more, it does not offer a long term solution over the course of a career.  So rather than solving the mobility challenge, organisations try to work around it.

We doubt whether this is really the way to go to grow talent for international responsibilities or whether this is really sufficiently attractive for talent who explicitly want to move internationally.

At HWAG we are developing ways to allow International Career Couples to be successful and be internationally mobile. In our view, there is definitely an opportunity for the mobility function to become a strategic partner. Those who manage to deal with these new strategic challenges successfully will be able to win the war for internationally mobile talent for their organisation. By providing innovative solutions that meet the expectations of this more diverse talent pool, such as International Career Couples, rather than “work-around” solutions.

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