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Employers reveal biggest mobility challenges in 2023

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Work-related travel on the upswing

With international travel making a strong comeback, an increasing number of employees anticipate work-related journeys, be it long-term assignments, permanent relocations, or short business trips.

Employers echo these expectations, as indicated by Cartus’ pulse survey report on the global mobility program for 2023. The survey revealed that 37% of respondents anticipate a rise in relocation volumes this year, with 36% expecting to move between 100 and 500 employees. The report emphasizes the ongoing significance of mobility for businesses, though it also highlights the emerging challenges posed by remote work, self-initiated moves, and compliance for business travelers.

The survey asked employers about their top global mobility priorities for 2023, and three key areas emerged. First and foremost, employers prioritized enhancing the employee experience, likely driven by the difficulties faced by employees in 2022 due to supply chain disruptions, complex immigration requirements, and a lack of affordable temporary accommodations worldwide. Second, program optimization ranked high on the agenda, with mobility managers seeking tech-based solutions to streamline mobility delivery. Lastly, compliance came in third place, reflecting the growing need for employers to navigate both local and global laws while offering mobility and flexibility to employees and future talents.

Karen Wilks, Vice President of Strategic Growth at Cartus, observed that the top three priorities for employers are interconnected, but she acknowledged the challenges involved in addressing them. Wilks highlighted that improving employee experience while overcoming hurdles like supply chain slowdowns and escalating costs would be an uphill task.

David Pascoe, Executive Senior Vice President of Global Talent Mobility for EMEA and APAC at Cartus, emphasized the pivotal role of relocation in many organizations, which has put increased pressure on HR and mobility professionals. These professionals struggle with limited resources and the complexity of supporting assignees and meeting the diverse needs of the business, especially with the rise of distributed workforces and the management of remote work requests.

Cartus’ Remote Work Landscape pulse survey report found that 25% of respondents estimated spending up to 40 hours per month managing remote work requests. To address challenges like remote work, cost containment, and talent competition, implementing robust solutions such as integrated technology or partnering with relocation services providers becomes crucial to ensuring the productivity and overall success of HR and mobility teams.

Regarding the biggest mobility challenges in 2023, employers identified three key areas: rising costs, talent availability and deployment, and the evolution of mobility to include remote work and self-initiated moves. While travel expenses have increased, employers are seeking ways to reduce costs and offset market hikes. Additionally, attracting key talent remains a concern, and offering choices and flexibility aids in retaining top employees. To support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), mobility policies need to be reviewed proactively, and inclusionary language should be incorporated to foster a sense of belonging among employees.

Karen Wilks highlighted the growing importance of mobility professionals in shaping mobility policies to align with DEI priorities and provide positive relocation experiences for employees. Cartus’ Mobility Matters podcast, which focuses on optimizing the employee experience, will explore a range of topics related to creating an inclusive workplace, from cultivating belonging to promoting true inclusion. Wilks emphasized that mobility policies are closely tied to DEI principles, supporting a diverse range of employees and their families throughout the relocation process.

With global mobility gaining momentum, Cartus looks forward to engaging in valuable conversations with experts from the mobility industry and beyond, ensuring that listeners of the Mobility Matters podcast gain actionable insights for their day-to-day roles.

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