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back to index backGLOBALtalk August,  2006


Globalization: foreign postings on the increase

Companies are sending more managers abroad than ever, but minimising their costs, reports The Economist. According to a recent survey by Mercer, the number of international transfers from headquarters has increased at 38% of firms over the past 2 years. Yet expats, now often referred to as international assignees” or secondees,” are getting fewer allowances than in the past, notes the magazine. To cut costs, many firms are only expatriating employees without families. Others are offering expats commuter” assignments that involve working abroad during the week, especially in Europe. As a result expats now tend to be under 30 or over the age of 50, with women accounting for 13 percent, up from 8 percent 5 years ago.

In a reversal of the foreign posting trend, managers from developing countries are increasingly being sent to developed countries for a spell at head office before being promoted. Having locals in top jobs can be a major competitive advantage in some countries. Yet finding local employees to replace expats is often tough and the latter are sometimes unwilling to train their successors, warns the magazine. In a sign of the times, more managers are being posted abroad without the guarantee of a job to come home to. Yet despite harsher conditions and fewer perks, foreign postings remain an attractive path to career advancement, the magazine concludes.

Source: Egon Zehnder InternationalGAI


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