Critical Issues Facing Canada’s Relocation Industry
Several senior relocation professionals were recently asked by Perspectives, the journal of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council, to discuss and comment on “… critical issues facing the country’s relocation industry … and where mobility is heading in the next five years.” Among those whose responses were sought for the Council’s Summer 2015 issue was Cartus’ own Linda Lachapelle, our director, business development based in Montreal.
Biggest Relocation Challenges: Cost, Compliance, & Housing Issues
Asked to comment on whether the relocation industry is changing significantly, Linda said that it is, and she named the three top challenges mentioned most often in Cartus’ most recent Biggest Challenges survey: increased interest in controlling assignment costs; compliance issues; and housing-related issues, such as availability, pricing, and mortgage requirements.
She added, “These challenges are affected and emphasized by the increasing number of locations” where companies are sending their employees, and remarked that respondents to Cartus’ most recent Policy and Practices survey named 72 countries as “new” destinations for their organizations. Regarding talent management, she said, “… global mobility is increasingly seen as important to other company strategies,” and she quoted another recent Cartus survey in which 31% of respondents stated there is a close relationship between the global mobility function and their company’s other HR and talent functions, while 38% said their global mobility program was “critically important to achieving short-term business goals”; a further 63% felt global mobility “… was critically important to strategic global expansion.”
Companies’ #1 Concern: Cost Containment
Turning to the topic of cost containment, Lachapelle named it as an ongoing challenge that has been at the top of the list for mobility managers over the past several years. A key driver of increasing costs is the demand for flexibility; others include regional needs, changing employee needs, and changing employee expectations. She added, “We’re also seeing many companies departing from the traditional long- and short-term assignments that require home sale, prepping of employee and family for assignment with language and intercultural training, etc.” Instead, she continued, companies are once again using simpler, less expensive temporary assignments.
Asked to comment on the relocation industry’s future, respondents indicated decreased interest in finding and training local talent, Lachapelle said. This could indicate an awareness of the importance of training for their current employees, or the difficulties of finding talent locally.
Last, according to survey respondents, technology solutions to various relocation problems will only increase, due to expectations of Millennial employees; and expansion to emerging nations will continue, as well.