Trends in European relocation

Ambitious organisations the world over are looking to Europe for new opportunities. Global relocation services provider Cartus reports findings from its recent surveys.

trends in european relocation
When considering the regions around the world that pose the greatest challenges for those managing international assignments, and for assignees and their accompanying dependants, Europe probably doesn't spring instantly to mind. In fact, each European country presents its own set of issues.Our 2014 Biggest Challenges Survey report found that the top five relocation challenges for those moving assignees into and around Europe were:
  1. Controlling relocation/assignment costs – 44 per cent.
  2. Housing – 35 per cent.
  3. Complying with laws and regulations – 29 per cent.
  4. Structuring compensation packages – 25 per cent.
  5. Finding suitable local candidates – 24 per cent.
If we compare these results with Cartus's 2013 findings, the number of respondents who cited 'complying with laws and regulations' was down four percentage points. 'Structuring compensation packages' rose by 7 per cent, and 'finding suitable local candidates' by 12 per cent.Cartus's 2014 Global Mobility Policy & Practices Survey report highlights mobility challenges encountered in specific European locations. Not surprisingly, Russia – along with the other three BRIC countries, Brazil, India and China – was listed among the top ten locations presenting challenges for both organisations and assignees currently and expected to continue to do so over the next two years. Respondents mentioned government requirements and language as particular issues.Indeed, for those moving to Russia, language can be a major hurdle. Nearly all transport, road and building signs are in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, and English speakers are limited in Moscow and even scarcer outside the capital city. A lack of familiarity with the language can make daily tasks such as shopping or paying bills quite challenging, so language and cross-cultural training is strongly recommended for assignees moving there.Although they did not quite make the top ten, Switzerland and Turkey were frequently mentioned as locations that raised mobility challenges for assignees and organisations. For those moving to Switzerland, the high cost of living and challenging compensation structure were particular issues, whilst those on assignment in Turkey experienced safety, political instability and infrastructure challenges.

Policy trends

The 2014 Global Mobility Policy & Practices Survey found that European countries featured heavily in organisations' permanent moves and localisation programmes. Germany, the UK and Switzerland were among the top destinations for assignees to move to permanently. The last two were also named in the top five places where organisations adopted a localisation strategy, with Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands reaching eighth, 11th and 13th places respectively.
Top locations for localizing strategies
The three main factors driving organisations to adopt localisation strategies were 'containment of mobility costs' (67 per cent), 'part of the globalisation strategy' (51 per cent) and 'career development opportunities in local markets' (39 per cent) – see next column.When looking at future global mobility trends, Switzerland has proved to be a popular destination. In 2012, it came eighth in a list of locations where organisations expected volume to increase over the next two years.This prediction proved to be correct, with the home of many multinationals reaching sixth place for volume in 2014. This is an interesting trend, considering that Switzerland did not feature at all in a list of future assignee volume predictions made in Cartus's 2010 Global Mobility Policy & Practices Survey report.Unsurprisingly, the UK remains a regular entry in the 2014 'predicted' and 'actual' lists, coming in third, after the US and China.
Actual and predicted volumes 2012 and 2014 – Countries listed as top destinations
For more Europe-focused articles, see the Autumn 2015 issue of Europe Digital Re:locate magazine. Click here to subscribe, or here to download as an app.For more Re:locate news and features on Europe, click here and for more on international assignments, click here