Family is pivotal in the success—or failure—of job transfers, according to Cartus Corporation's just-released 2014 Trends in Global Relocation: Global Mobility Policy and Practices survey of international mobility managers.
Respondents listed "inability of family to adjust" as the second most-cited reason (61%) for assignment failure, just two percentage points behind "changing business conditions" (63%). Even before a move, the importance of family cannot be underestimated: 76% of respondents rated "family/personal circumstances" as the top reason why employees turn down relocation assignments.
Stress can also occur in "split family" situations when the assignee and family live in separate locations during the assignment, with the employee traveling back and forth. The number of companies saying family members were always allowed to accompany employees on long-term assignments is down 14 percentage points in just two years.
"Increasingly, a family's happiness and ability to adjust are nearly as important to the success of a job relocation as the employee's own job performance," said Matt Spinolo, Cartus executive vice president. "The rise in split families is a trend we are hearing more about as companies trim costs and move employees to new locations that can pose infrastructure or security challenges."
Spinolo also pointed out that 50 percent of companies surveyed expect their mobility volume to increase during the next two years.
Cost Control, Talent Management, and an Expat Exodus
Cost control was named the top global mobility challenge by 75% of respondents. Overall compliance (at 62%) and immigration (57%) completed the top three.
Battling to contain costs, companies are nonetheless focused on identifying, preparing, and retaining top talent. Therefore, the assignment type expected to grow fastest over the next two years is "developmental," as 79% of respondents consider these assignments' main purpose to be leadership and development of management skills.
Despite the high cost of international job transfers, 61 percent of companies don't track the percentage of assignees who resign within two years of concluding their assignment; and 75 percent of companies don't track assignees' careers post-assignment.
The survey, Cartus' sixth on policy and practices since 2002, received responses from 172 international mobility managers representing more than 8 million employees. It was sponsored by the U.S. National Foreign Trade Council, UK-based Re:Locate magazine, and the Singapore Human Resources Institute.