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Talent Mobility in a post-COVID world


With a rising death toll, record unemployment and entire industries being wiped out, the impact of COVID-19 can’t be understated.


From an economic standpoint, some companies/industries may have actually benefited from the global crisis we’re all in.  However, for the vast majority of us, this pandemic has been extremely disruptive.


With global travel being brought to a halt, companies freezing hiring practices and States enacting extended stay at home orders, the Talent Mobility industry has been severely hindered.


All of this disruption has left those in the Talent Mobility industry thinking about when it’s safe to start relocating employees again.


Or, with the online video conferencing technology that’s making us all more productive working from remote locations, will a physical relocation even be necessary?


Even when conditions start returning back to “normal”, perhaps this global crisis has caused an overall reluctance to accept an assignment that requires a relocation.


In these uncertain times, we asked our current clients to share some general perspectives on the overall effect COVID-19 has had on their mobility programs by participating in an in-depth survey. The data we collected has enabled us to shed some light on some important questions that a lot of us share in the Talent Mobility industry.


Here are some of our key findings…


Domestic Relocations

A decrease in overall relocation volumes with an increase in lump-sum-only benefit plans.

With full-service relocations on the decline pre-COVID-19, it’s not surprising that the global pandemic has caused organizations to postpone/eliminate high-cost relocations.  Our data showed a slight decrease in anticipated full-service domestic relocations and a dramatic decrease in anticipated full-service international relocations.


Across all anticipated relocations, our data also showed an increase in a migration to lump-sum-only benefit packages.  Just like the elimination of high-cost, full-service relocations, a movement to lump-sum-only benefit packages is most likely a cost savings exercise.  Although there may be extra burdens applied to the Transferee, organizations are seeing the value in moving towards programs that put less strain on their internal HR, global mobility, legal and compensation teams.


A small population of responses indicating an anticipated increase in an employee’s reluctance to relocate.


With the majority of states under some sort of stay at home order and countries under strict lockdowns, it’s not surprising to see low volumes of relocations taking place.  However, once countries/states start to reopen, and relocations once again become possible, will there be an overall reluctance to relocate?  The data showed that roughly 30% of our survey participants felt that there may be an increase in a reluctance to relocate.  Although this number is significant, I believe if we asked this same question a few months from now, we would see a lower figure.