Global Mobility in 2016: Assignee Age Groups

Today we focus on another key trend in global mobility in 2016, the changing age group of those being sent by companies on international assignments.

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Assignee Age Groups

We now have 3 generations working together in the office and there is a fine line in finding a balance for them all. To suit all ages, more types of moves are necessary and so companies need to be strategic in their approach. A one size fits all approach is no longer enough.

According to Brookfield roughly 1 in 10 of today’s international assignees is a Millennial. Most companies instead opt to send their more experienced employees who are at the peak of their career, those aged between 40-49 years. The younger generation of 20-29 year olds are the least likely to be sent.

However, we are now increasingly beginning to see some companies choosing to send Millennials on international assignments. There is a changing face of talent. According to Deloitte, by 2020 China and India are predicted to produce 41% of the world’s graduates and to send them out into today’s global workforce. Millennials are expected to make up roughly 75% of the workforce.

The companies who are involving the younger generation in their global mobility programmes tend to look at the bigger picture. These are companies who have talent management practices and who see the role of global mobility as aligned to the talent agenda. Brookfield suggest that these companies are sending almost double the number of Millennials and 10% fewer 40-49 year olds than other typical businesses. This is likely to be the way forward as assignments are viewed as the ultimate developmental opportunity.

We are likely to see a switch from international assignments being seen as for the experienced, to a way for the inexperienced to develop and learn. Companies need to define, develop and implement programmes that target the Millennials. International assignments are a way to create future leaders and shape the workforce going forward. Being younger, curious and less rooted, Millennials are often ideal candidates to be sent overseas.

The talent shortage can only be plugged by attracting and retaining Millennials as they are the future of the business. International assignments are what will attract them.

According to Crown, quite often when Millennials want this international experience, they are willing to do it without extensive support and so they have started the trend of self-initiated moves. Whilst they offer the full international experience, they do so without the full cost of a typical expatriate assignment, serving both the employee’s and business’ interests.

You can read our previous post on budget cuts here.

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