As further evidence that leaders are nervous, multinational companies are planning to send fewer employees on global assignments this year. According to an annual survey of 180 corporations by Brookfield Global Relocation Services, more than two-thirds said they will decrease or, at most, maintain expatriate levels.
Interestingly, those that do relocate employees are increasingly turning to older and more experienced workers. Only 9% of expatriates in surveyed companies were 20 to 29 years old — the lowest in the survey’s 14-year history. The number of female expats is also down to 20%, from 23% a few years ago. And 49% of expats were accompanied by children (the historical average is 57%). Picking older workers with grown children eliminates at least one of the major concerns in relocation: finding decent schools.
One troubling issue emerges from the study. If companies are reducing expenses for international assignments in response to the current climate—as 68% said they would—how are they going to prepare the next generation for global leadership?
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