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Workforce Mobility 2021: Moving Talent in a VUCA World (Part 2) 02.3.2021 | Avrom Goldberg

VUCA global mobility

In the post-COVID world, corporate global talent mobility managers worldwide are facing an amplified state of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity).

In part two of this three-part series (you can check out part one here), we examine another question at the forefront of these managers’ minds as they navigate new methods, practices and realities that have emerged through the pandemic.

Will global mobility volumes recover and if so, when and to what extent?

Three factors will determine the ultimate answer:

1. The restoration of global business travel.

Cross-border mobility is naturally dependent on borders being open to business arrivals and staying open.

2. Any changes to the drivers of global mobility.

Since inception, global mobility drivers have largely remained constant:

  • Opening/developing new markets
  • Knowledge/tech transfer
  • Company culture transfer
  • Talent shortages
  • Talent/leadership development
  • Special projects

A more recent addition, one that has gathered pace in the past decade or so, is the phenomenon of employee-initiated moves that respond to the desire for employee flexibility and reskilling.

As a point of reference, a PwC study published in December 2020 and drawing on over 300 corporate respondents found that:

45% of respondents expect to have the same number of assignees in a post pandemic world as they did pre-pandemic.

38% expect to have fewer assignees in a post pandemic world.

17% expect to increase their number of assignees in a post pandemic world.

3. The extent to which companies pursue the development of virtual assignments as an alternative form of global mobility.

This topic, of course, has been hotly discussed since last summer. It is also deserving of its own post, which will constitute part three of this series.

In the meantime, file all three factors here under Uncertainty.

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Written by Avrom Goldberg

A widely-recognized expert on global talent mobility, Avrom is the Senior Vice President, Global Client Services for the EMEA, APAC and LATAM regions. He has written extensively on Asia Pacific mobility trends and best practices for such publications as China Staff magazine, HRM China, Human Capital Hong Kong, Bo Le Journal for Strategic Management, Mobility magazine and HR World. Avrom was twice distinguished by The Forum for Expatriate Management, having won the EMMA award for “Outstanding Contribution to APAC Global Mobility” and “Global Mobility Professional of the Year.”

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