You've Been Promoted to an International Job - Now What? New Cartus Survey Says be Prepared for Long Waits for Visas, Payroll Problems, and Housing Issues, All of Which Rank High on the List of Biggest Global Relocation Challenges

Number of transferring millennials has increased since 2013, while Gen X transferees are decreasing

Dec 01, 2015, 12:00 ET from Cartus

DANBURY, Conn., Dec.1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Whether it's a job relocation to the United States, the United Kingdom, or China, employees embarking on an international assignment likely have several things in common: namely, long wait times to obtain work visas; problems with payroll; and issues with housing, according to Cartus Corporation's just-released Trends in Global Relocation: 2015 Biggest Challenges survey. 

In the survey of 148 worldwide relocation managers, the top three challenges for relocation managers were cost control, compliance, and compensation issues. Waiting times for visas were named by 63% of respondents as the top issue relative to compliance with laws and regulations. Last year, the number-one immigration area in which companies were seeing an increase was the need for upfront planning, due to the length of time it takes to obtain visas.

"Multinational companies rely on a trusted partner such as Cartus for expert guidance to help them navigate through these issues and much more," said Matt Spinolo, executive vice president of Cartus. "Last year Cartus helped more than 171,000 employees move into or out of nearly 150 countries."

Depending on the destination country, the overall processing time for international work visas can take anywhere from three weeks to six months, according to Cartus executives.

"Senior management of multinational firms typically find that processes such as obtaining a work permit can be complex and lengthy, which can be challenging to the business, and often very frustrating for the assignee," said Spinolo.

Payroll Problems, Housing Issues Also Prevalent

One of the top challenges facing companies and their assignees is in the area of payroll. A key issue, named by just over half of respondents (51%), is currency fluctuation, which can affect employees' paychecks if mitigating steps are not taken. Other payroll issues noted by respondents included complications with payroll inflexibility in some countries, and differing home and host pay approaches within regions or countries.

When it comes to housing, 64% of relocation managers named high costs the biggest challenge for companies, by far.

Housing that is different or of lower quality than assignees expect ranked second (52%), while inadequate inventory (50%) ranked as the third-highest housing challenge.

Spinolo said, "These challenges highlight the need for multinational companies to set assignees' expectations up front, not only in the area of housing quality, but also in the need to be decisive because competition for limited expatriate-style housing inventory can be stiff."

Millennial vs. Generation X – Who's Getting the Job Transfer?

When it comes to who is being transferred, the number of millennials on global assignment has increased 3 percentage points in just two years (27% this year compared to 24% in 2013). The Cartus survey found fewer Generation X employees (those between 35 and 49 years of age) are going on global assignment, down five percentage points in 2015 (51%) versus 2013 (56%).

Finances Over Families?

Respondents indicated that finances outweighed family issues by a greater than 5-to-1 ratio. Although family issues remain important, cost control continues to be top of mind within most organizations.

HR managers pointed to the top three areas of concern:

  • Finances – rising costs are the top concern for HR managers and/or business partners.
  • Family issues – expats dealing with family issues that ultimately impact their productivity.
  • Failure of assignments – which cost the company time, money, and missed opportunities.

To request the 2015 Trends in Global Relocation: Biggest Challenges survey, click here. A summary of the survey is available here.

About Cartus
Cartus provides trusted guidance to organizations of all types and sizes that require global relocation solutions. This year marks the 60th anniversary for Cartus, which serves more than half of the Fortune 50 and offers its services in 185 countries, providing companies around the world with the full spectrum of relocation services, including language and intercultural training. Cartus is part of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. To find out how our greater experience, reach, and hands-on guidance can help your company, visit or click for more information.


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