What Does It Mean To Be Globally Mobile?

A summary from the Perth Chapter on 10th November, 2016.

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What Does It Mean To Be Globally Mobile?
Perth Chapter Meeting event summary - 10th November 2016

For the final event of 2016, the Perth FEM community explored the question “what does it mean to be globally mobile” from a number of different perspectives. Perth based employers shared their insights relating to talent management, and the inclusion of global mobility in company strategy in the face of a market downturn.

Natalia Roldan - HR & Administration Manager, Total E&P Australia chaired the session (hosted at the offices of Total E&P Australia).

The panel consisted of:

  • Barry Bloch - Chief Operating Officer Project Support, BGC Contracting
  • Benoît Mengin - Deputy Director Ichthys Project Coordination, INPEX
  • CarolineHickson - Director International Executive Services, KPMG
  • Catherine Milliner - Health, Hygiene and Wellbeing Manager, INPEX
  • Frédéric Aubé – Ichthys Project Accounting Manager, INPEX

Natalia did a great job as facilitator, keeping the discussion flowing smoothly, involving attendees as well as the panellists. The panellists shared their personal experience of being an expat on topics ranging from managing family transition during multiple assignments, to owning your career, and staying competitive in the international market. In addition, the latest mobility trends from recent cutting edge research in this area was presented by Caroline Hickson of KPMG.

Among the interesting trends were the decrease in number of female expatriates in the last five years. Average length of global assignments remained at 2-3 years. She also pointed out that spousal support still ranked highest on married expats must-have list. Then provided a broad overview of the international assignment policies and practices used in the market today.

Of the employers surveyed, 42% offer project specific global expatriate assignments, 36% offer developmental and training expat assignments and 19% offer their employees the option to request their own expatriate assignment.

The variety of options available illustrated that employers are not limited in the ways in which they structure their international assignments.

  • 28% of employers have employees located in 11-25 different countries across the globe, with 5% having employees based in more than 50 different countries.
  • 96% of employers surveyed provide their employees with long-term stay assignments, the average length of which is 2-3 years

Barry Bloch talked about his own personal experience as an expat, as well as his professional involvement in mobilising large numbers of people – for example, when he worked at Rio Tinto which had a worldwide employee number of 35,000 at that time, they calculated that they moved 5,000 of those staff annually (one-seventh of their workforce). He recounted stories about moving pets; the challenges facing families with high school aged/teenage children, tax domiciles … and why it was absolutely crucial for HR to get the whole talent -Invitation-Expatriation-Repatriation process expertly carried out

Catherine Milliner shared her experiences with moving medical personnel globally, her observations of cultural and ethnic differences and in her current role, how she tries to bridge cultural gaps between the expat French and Japanese and the local Aussies.

Bernoit Mengin and Frederic Aube gave interesting insights and shared lots of personal stories about their expat experiences.

The discussion concluded with each panellist expressing what they thought were the most important ways to improve the global mobility experience. Barry Bloch said it was essential for companies to appoint experienced and highly expert global mobility coordinators.

We received excellent feedback from the participants.

Further reading, view KPMG’s Global Mobility Policies and Practices Survey

Want to know more about the Perth Chapter Meeting or receive updates on future events? Please email Aysegul Kayahan

Aysegul Kayahan

Director, Relocation Specialists

Aysegul Kayahan, managing director of Relocation Specialists in Queensland and Victoria has been in the global mobility industry since 1993. Aysegul started the Forum for Expatriate Management community in Australia in early 2012, with chapters in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. From February 2015 to January 2017, Aysegul was appointed to the role of global chair of Chapter Leads for the Forum for Expatriate Management.