More UK staff to head overseas

Travel insurance

An independent survey of HR professionals commissioned by white label IPMI solutions provider Collinson has found that UK businesses are planning to send more staff on long-term international placements over the next three years. Forty-six per cent of respondents said that they expect the next few years to see more of these assignments taking place, with 13 per cent of these expecting numbers to rise between 10 and 20 per cent. Fifteen per cent of respondents, meanwhile, expect to see the number of international assignments decrease, while 37 per cent expect no change.

The survey also found some demographic shifts, with 31 per cent of respondents reporting an increase in the number of staff members aged younger than 34 being sent overseas – more than double the percentage that reported an increase in the number of staff members aged over 45 being sent on such assignments. Peter Sewell, Regional Director for UK, Ireland and Northern Europe at global mobility consultant Crown World Mobility, put these shifts down to both political drivers – including the shadow of Brexit – and sociological ones: “These statistics are interesting because they highlight a world of global mobility which is changing. The days of long-term international assignments being only for middle-aged western expats on big bonus packages are long gone. These days millennials see working abroad and experiencing different cultures as integral to their cross-culture competence and general development. Corporations see it as a way to identify and develop managers early. In that sense, international assignments are becoming an important part of talent development and talent retention. The challenge for corporations, on an increasingly tight budget, is how to ensure assignees are safe, supported and successful while they work abroad, especially when sent to challenging locations. A big part of this is managing travel risk effectively and planning for every contingency.”

“What is clear,” added Lawrence Watts, Commercial Director at Collinson, “is that the IPMI market is enjoying heavy and sustained growth as companies seek to protect staff working abroad and prevent international assignments failing, which comes at enormous cost. Insurers need to capitalise on this and ensure they offer a comprehensive range of IPMI services to stay competitive.”