Reflections on the Quiet but Steady Rise of Global Domestic Mobility 08.29.2023 | Laura Levenson

Over a decade ago, when I took one of many international business trips to better understand, firsthand, the everyday life challenges of a typical expat, I was not expecting to uncover so many concerns faced by people moving domestically. One assumes it will be easy when there’s at least one common “official” language spoken, a national culture, and one monetary currency, but the differences from place to place, within the man-made boundaries of any country, can be vast and complex.

Back then, individuals were deeply rooted in their local communities and didn’t contemplate domestic relocations for career growth. Likewise, companies were far less modern in their approach to moving people. The more generous employers provided an allowance to cover basic costs, but they mostly relied on and expected people to work with family and friend networks for any assistance they needed, as resources that could be most trusted. Leveraging friend and family networks for the services people need in these circumstances – such as finding a new home and proper school for the kids –   also reflects deeply embedded cultural norms in a vast majority of countries around the world.

As companies have expanded their global footprint and brought in global talent to fill leadership, managerial, and technical roles from other countries, so too has the need increased for local talent to assume these roles over time.

Domestic By Necessity

In the past 8 years or more, for companies with a global presence, domestic mobility has risen in status as a recognized talent segment, and in turn, companies have undertaken a more formalized approach to supporting this population of movers.

This movement was only accelerated by the global pandemic which brought international travel to a screeching halt. The world’s major economies were forced to look inward for solutions to the talent crunch across all industries. Ever since, the growth of domestic mobility has continued at a quiet, steady pace, with many companies increasing their investments in this sector and stepping up their support.

A lot has changed since 2015, and while moving within a country still presents many of the same concerns and obstacles as it did 8 years ago, new challenges have surfaced. Moreover, attitudes held by companies requesting their talent to move — as well as their relocating candidates — have shifted greatly.

Diving Deeper into Domestic Mobility

Our latest research explores several facets of the rise in domestic mobility, including the driving forces behind growth in this sector, and the many ongoing and new challenges companies face in filling critical roles. Now more than ever, Talent Management and Mobility leaders are looking squarely at the reluctance to relocate, identifying the specific obstacles, and responding by bolstering their mobility programs. Most notably, they’re replacing case-by-case and reactive responses with a codified set of guidelines.

One trending approach is evident: with increasing domestic volume in multiple countries, companies with a global footprint are transitioning from global oversight to localized development of guidelines and oversight of programs and processes. By adjusting their lens, employers can offer programs that more realistically and practically align with local norms and the needs of individuals and families who are uprooting themselves for long-term career objectives.


In light of this trend toward increasing domestic volume in multiple countries, our deep-dive into country-specific best practices and recommendations started with five countries in 2015 and now extends to 12 (Australia, China, India, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE).

Interested in learning more? Stay tuned for our next blog featuring the top takeaways (and country-specific insights) from our recent 2023 Global Domestic Policy and Practices Survey, and the soon-to-be-released Full Report of findings. And don’t miss our upcoming sessions at the Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium (Boston) and Weichert’s Webinar Series in October.

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Written by Laura Levenson


Laura Levenson is a Practice Leader in Weichert Workforce Mobility’s Advisory Services group. She has worked in management capacities for workforce mobility and Big Four firms, and is well-versed in bringing clarity to the most pressing global talent deployment challenges. She brings over 25 years of experience to her role and is a frequent speaker on the mobility conference circuit.

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