SINGAPORE – The events that took place in 2020 have raised questions regarding global mobility and employee salaries for business planning 2021, according to Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International.
ECA International is the world’s leading provider of information, software, and expertise for the management and assignment of employees throughout has some predictions for the new year that Regional Manager has put forth.
1. Virtual international assignment will continue to be commonplace in the absence of employee mobility
Virtual International Assignment, is the practice where an employee performs a role for a company or entity in one country while being based on another, is likely to continue to be adapted in 2021 as the border restrictions will remain.
Furthermore, it is an appealing and cost-effective alternative to the traditional long-term assignment.
However, Human Resources (HR) must be prepared to implement a concrete and competitive policy due to the uncertain environment in 2021, alongside understanding potential costs and compliance issues.
2. Junior and even middle-level employees may no longer be needed in their host countries
It is most likely to repatriate individuals who perform senior or C-levels roles were among the first to return via ‘green lane’ travel arrangements, which may have come into effect in recent months.
Moreover, the ability of many repatriated employees to perform their host country duties while at home during the pandemic has led companies to re-evaluate how to deploy and engage such employees in the future.
However, for companies operating in multiple regions (such as Singaporean companies with operations in other ASEAN countries) and companies operating globally, this means the employees may remain at headquarters and may send their employees to regional hubs instead of in-market locations.
3. Oversight of the steady of corporate travel will increase greatly
Even though the travel industry may gradually recover in 2021 as COVID-19 vaccines are promised, significant oversight is needed from the HR teams to ensure the overseas assignees are certified to travel.
The HR team needs to carefully select a list of trusted partners such as airlines and hotels for business travelers, review the applicability and efficacy of crisis responses and compile valuable advice for employees such as wearing masks while present in the host location.
4. Housing costs will continue to fall as employee mobility declines
In meantime, housing rental costs for expatriates are likely to continue to fall due to employee mobility which is predicted to remain subdued in 2021.
Beside, the rates for other types of accommodation, such as short-term serviced condominium and hotel accommodation are likely to remain subdued in 2021 as well due to lower demands.
5. Rates of salary increases will rebound in 2021
According to ECA international’s recent Salary Trend survey, the majority of business respondents are confident about economic recovery and a pay increase for their employees in 2021.
However, the economic downturn can cause a long-term impact on salary growth rates, workers may not see the rates of annual salary grow to return to pre-Covid-19 levels despite the expected rebound.
To sum up, the promise of vaccines within the next few months paints a positive outlook for the world in 2021 and the HR team must also implement an agile global mobility policy to respond quickly to changes in the travel landscape while safeguarding their assignees.