Sharp rise in expatriate workforce expected in coming months

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sharp rise in expatriate workforce expected in coming months

Many organizations establish offices in foreign countries to take advantage of opportunities in emerging markets. Although some companies hire local workers to perform essential functions, a large proportion of international firms employ expatriate professionals, especially for management roles. Expatriates can be a significant driver of economic growth, as after staying in serviced apartments and corporate housing upon arrival, some foreign nationals choose to invest in property in their new country of residence. In the future, the number of expatriates being sent to foreign countries could increase dramatically due to the changing needs of global organizations, reports Business Standard.

The changing workforce
According to a report conducted by Mercer, an American human resources (HR) and financial services firm, approximately 70 percent of international companies are expected to substantially increase their expatriate workforce in 2013, with short-term assignments predicted to see the greatest growth. In addition, more than half of companies polled indicated they planned to also bolster their long-term expatriate staff by the end of the year.

"International assignments have become more diverse to meet evolving business and global workforce needs," said Phil Stanley, Asia-Pacific global mobility leader at Mercer, as quoted by the news source. "Relatively low pay increases in some regions and pressure to attract and retain talent have spurred many companies to embrace a wider range of global mobility strategies to incentivize their high performers. Mobility and HR directors now face great complexity in the number and type of international assignments that need managing."

Skills gaps
According to HR Magazine, one of the primary reasons many companies plan to expand their expatriate workforce is the lack of suitably qualified individuals in countries where they have bases of operation, particularly in the technology sector. The highly specific nature of certain projects, and the management experience necessary to oversee such initiatives, was also a motivating factor for many companies.

As the landscape of the global economy continues to shift toward heightened productivity and maximizing return on investment, it seems likely that the need for skilled expatriate professionals will increase during the coming years. Organizations that want to send their best and brightest workers overseas may want to investigate alternatives to their current accommodation strategies, such as serviced apartments. This type of housing offers expatriates the comforts of home at a competitive rate, and may be much more suitable than corporate suites at chain hotels, particularly for workers on short-term assignments.