Multinationals bump up stakes in expat benefits

bump up stakes in expat benefits Multinational companies are making their
expatriate benefit packages more competitive, according to a William M Mercer
survey. The survey of 200 companies worldwide shows that eight out of 10
companies now recognise that mobility premiums and hardship grants are
essential to the success of assignments.

The allowances range from 30 to 40 per cent of gross base salary for certain
destinations deemed to be difficult locations, such as Algeria, the Democratic
Republic of Congo and China.

Yvonne Traber, co-author of the survey and a senior researcher at William M
Mercer, said, "The expatriate environment is becoming very competitive as
individuals are often placed on assignments where they are in contact with other
expatriates. Inevitably they compare conditions and discuss who has the better
deal. It can be a huge loss of investment for the company if these individuals
leave while on assignment."

To combat this problem, about 20 per cent of companies said they pay part of
the mobility premium at the beginning of the assignment and the remainder on
repatriation home.

More than three-quarters of the companies surveyed recognise the importance
of spouse support in the success of their expatriate programme. But the survey
shows that 69 per cent of respondents are failing to grant cash allowances to
support spouses.

Traber predicts there will be an increasing number of young people going on
expatriate assignments, as junior employees are generally more mobile and consider
these opportunities as part of their career development.

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