The Changing Global Mobility Landscape


If 2020 was the year of change, 2021 could be the year of instability.

One thing is for sure, global mobility was thrust into the spotlight in 2020.  Organisations are looking to us to find solutions and different ways on how we can add value to all stakeholders.

We need to shine!

There has been change in just about every aspect of our global mobility landscape – the recruitment process, the corporate structure, the real estate operations and of course the people themselves both within the global mobility industry and those moving around the globe. In 2021, will these changes be sustainable? Are laws and regulations now out of date, or they might even be clashing with new processes. What pressure will these changes bring?  How will this debate in 2021 unfold?

The three most significant changes can be found in Corporate structure, the movement of employees and our domestic market here in Australia.

Most global organisations have reshuffled their structures. Some global mobility functions have centralised, some decentralised, some downsized or integrated into other divisions. Some organisations have super-sized their global mobility budgets to deal with employees stranded around the globe. While others have consolidated in another country in an attempt to streamline their processes. As global mobility professionals, we must keep abreast of these changes. Let’s explore innovative ideas together to present to stakeholders. Placing a high value our long-term relationships and be prepared to initiate new ones must be a priority so we can steer change and bring about long-term solutions.

Businesses have been thrust into new ways to engage with one another, but there are still positives to be found here.  Even though moving an employee internationally will be assessed much more closely for its ROI, organisations will still need some element of face to face collaboration, sharing of global ideas and exchange of intelligence if they are going to compete on a worldwide stage.  Some have predicted that employees may like more choice about where they work from, but duty of care, tax and risk to the corporate will still limit this. Flexibility in employees accepting international assignments could be improved because perhaps their partner can work remotely from another country could be another positive change.

Our domestic market in Australia has changed. There is definitely substance to the rumours that people are leaving the big cities and enjoying a regional or sea change. Our consultants in Sydney are also reporting a wave of cashed-up expats, returning to Australia and flooding the Northern beaches rental market. Enquiries in Victoria for people who want to move north to Sydney and Brisbane has increased as they feel disillusioned by local politics and the call for longer summer days. As a glass half full person, I also think this gives our local job market some movement.  Organisations are going to have to find innovative ways to attract candidates to Australia, and good onboarding and relocation experience should be one of those enticing carrots.

Global mobility professionals have to diversify. This year, 2020, was the year to realign, assess and tweak processes and offerings, 2021 will be the experiment of what is working and what isn’t. Building relationships across borders and oceans are becoming more straightforward, and we in the global mobility industry need to embrace this. TEMI has continued to give us this platform and help us network. We need to value and stay close to our clients to understand their new challenges and new processes. Work collaboratively and support each other.

Robyn Vogels is the Founder and Owner of Personnel Relocations, which has been providing global mobility support to corporate and private clients who are relocating to Australia since 2008.  As the co-author of Your DIY Move Guide books, Robyn is well placed to offer advice to anyone moving to Australia.  She regularly consults and offers her expert opinion to the media on matters relating to culture shock, rental trends and global mobility.  Robyn wants everyone to make the right start in Australia and offers a number of ways to support customers, from her books to her VIP Group and high-touch relocation packages, there is something for everyone.

Interested in contacting Robyn? You can reach her on +61 (0) 449 769 439 or at

About the Author:

The Employee Mobility Institute is Australia’s peak industry body specifically focused on global workforce management, including talent mobility. Its mission is to advocate, promote, represent and support the growth of the Australian / New Zealand Talent Mobility Industry.

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