As we thankfully begin to see an exit out of the global pandemic of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, what have we learned, adopted, and innovated within our industry? What are the key trends moving forward for the rest of 2021 and beyond?
A quick review of 2020…
The global mobility industry pre 2020 and Covid-19 was a highly effective industry estimated to be around $31.5 billion in 2019. However as we all know, it experienced like many other industries, an obvious slow down as the pandemic hit. This gave way to revaluation of mobility policies, with reviews being made to ensure companies responded effectively to the new set of circumstances. Adoption of new practices, and a strong lean towards innovation to circumnavigate new obstacles, mainly the need for services to function virtually. This changed not only the way those in Global mobility worked and collaborated, but the way for nearly every working individual worldwide.
Transport and logistics was one of the worst hit industries globally. The repercussions of which meant new approaches, behaviours and ways of conducting the entire relocation process needed to be harnessed. If we just take Immigration as an example, with continual changes to cross border travel, government legislation, delays, new health requirements and quarantines, companies needed to continually create new, country specific, policy instantly.
Many companies chose to put their relocation programs on hold, shortened them, and perhaps even questioned whether they met the companies’ objectives anymore. They also potentially questioned if the objectives themselves had changed or whether a long term assignment would now become a permanent transfer, subsequently avoiding reassignment or repatriation costs.
What’s next… 2021 and beyond?
All these questions, changes to policy and problems to overcome, thankfully, look like they will fast become something of the past. However, the adaptation of either, existing practice or adoption of new practice, within our industry arguably will remain. As we see the rollout of vaccines worldwide, so to, are we seeing a resurgence of business and an explosion of activity in our sector. Several workforce and global mobility trends – both those that existed and those created this last year – will naturally influence mobility decisions and talent management, but what are they and how, potentially, will they do so?
The remote workforce comprised of 15% of the working population pre-Covid, during the pandemic this number increased to 100% temporarily. With some large tech companies announcing they will not return to offices until Autumn, whilst some employees will be permitted to work remotely permanently; the increase in employees living where they would like could see business travel bounce back rapidly.
Increasing number of International assignments in to Australia, Singapore, Japan, India, China, Western Europe and the US are driving the relocation market.
New Market Expansion
Expansion into new markets due to lack of local talent and an increase in mergers and acquisitions is key to future growth of the industry, as we see Fortune 500 organisations establish new presence and expand operations in India, China, Brazil, and South Africa.
The ‘Boomers’ generation are leaving the workforce – on average 5000 a day in the US – either through redundancy or opting for early retirement. Therefore mobility will be a key tool to fill these roles, manage existing talent and ensure the right talent is employed, at the right time and location.
Generation Y is arriving to the job market. According to Price Water Houses’ ‘Managing Tomorrow’s People’ 80% are willing to work abroad.
Adoption of new technology
Communication and corporate support has become easier with the adoption of technology – those technological solutions once marginal are now mainstream. With service providers offering technology that has adapted to new policy, behaviour and demands, it has paved the way for more flexible offerings and transparency.
Maturity of Adoption
Maturity in technology adoption presents a promising future for the industry, as innovation coincides with a workforce increasingly comprised of those engaged with tech or Generation Y and younger!
Finally, with the industry forecasted to grow to 3-4 percent to $33.5 billion this year, the future is bright for those in Global Mobility!