Expect some strong views and challenging advice at our APAC Summit

Don’t be afraid to re-think your strategy - listen to your gut - says a leading academic

FEM welcomes Yvonne Maria McNulty, Senior Lecturer, HRM Program at Singapore University of Social Sciences to our much-anticipated panel discussion: How Will Global Mobility Look in the Asia Pacific Region in 2028?

Yvonne is a highly respected academic with strong opinions, and we speak to her ahead of the FEM APAC Summit, coming up in just two weeks on 6 September. If you haven't already, there's still time to register and have your say too. Here's a taster of what's to come... 

How long have you been involved in the Global Mobility sector?

18 years.

What changes have you seen in that time?

The trend towards localisation of expatriates, local plus and locally hired foreigners. In the academic world we refer to them as self-initiated expatriates.

What do you think are the three greatest challenges facing Global Mobility professionals today?

  1. The model is no longer about assigned expatriates sent abroad by the company on a full package. The consulting firms still operate on this model, which explains why many are struggling to stay afloat. The Big 4 are no better. The biggest challenge facing the industry is the need to shift their strategy to the individual as the client, not their company as the client.
  2. (Lack of) diversity is a massive problem; the talent pool of white western males is rapidly shrinking. There is an urgent need for global mobility to expand the talent pool not just to LGBT and women, but also to single parents, families with special needs children, other races and ethnicities (e.g., Asians), and regional talent mobility.
  3. Duty of care has never been more important than it is today. Expatriates – whether assigned or local – are getting into trouble with the law or in their personal life (divorce) at an increasing rate. While I do not advocate that companies step in and play a ‘parent’ role to bail out those in trouble, I do believe that a strong duty of care policy is needed so that the expatriate understands who is responsible for what.

Why do you think (this issue) is such a challenge for Global Mobility and why is it important that the audience understand more about the debate?

On 1 above, if the model/strategy does not change, the company will not survive. We are already seeing this with the consolidation of the global mobility industry worldwide. While it is called ‘consolidation’, that is really just a benign word for ‘the strategy is not working’ and the companies concerned are no longer profitable. Agile companies understand these changes and are adapting accordingly – and surviving. It floors me that others are still holding on too tight to the old company-as-client model. In my view, it is a flawed strategy.

What is the one message you hope delegates take away from your session?

Ignore the consulting firms, if they are still hammering the company-as-client model to you; that is not the way mobility is evolving. Ignore anyone that tries to scare you with the failed assignment argument; the data has never (ever!) been reported accurately in industry and it is nowhere near as high as anyone suggests or would want you to believe. Don’t be afraid to re-think your strategy. Listen to your gut; you know your mobile population better than anyone.

Who would you recommend attend your session?

Mobility managers looking for a fresh, honest, non-marketing spiel about real mobility in Asia. I speak the truth, hard as it may be sometimes to hear.

Which particular session are you most interested to attend?

Anything that is focused on duty of care, diversity and localisation.


Join Yvonne and the rest of our panel at our opening discussion at 08:35 – 09:05 on 6th September in Singapore. 

Register to attend the FEM APAC Summit here

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