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CINDEX is a membership network of some of the largest French multinational companies with the aim of sharing best practice on international mobility strategy and policy. In 2017 it was estimated that its members collectively managed around 46 000 expatriates in more than 170 countries.

In addition to regular meetings and workshops, CINDEX carries out surveys among its members to allow international mobility experts to share information on the profile of their mobile population and to compare their programmes. 

CINDEX has conducted its Expatriate Remuneration and Benefits Survey approximately every three years since its foundation in 1980. The primary objective of the survey is to establish the latest trends in expatriate compensation and policies for long-term international assignments, allowing CINDEX members to compare their practices with those of peer companies using both qualitative and quantitative data. 

Prior to the survey being run again in 2017, feedback from CINDEX members suggested there should be a change in focus from the previous survey: a greater emphasis on differences in global policies throughout the assignment lifecycle and more in-depth analysis of the value of remuneration packages for expatriates in certain countries.

Due to ECA’s extensive experience in conducting expatriate policy and remuneration surveys on a confidential basis, CINDEX partnered with ECA to run their survey of its members in 2017. This included:

  • Redesigning the survey questionnaire in consultation with CINDEX’s survey working group of members
  • Detailed analysis of the participants’ responses
  • A personalised report for each participant allowing them to easily compare the salary and allowances of their expatriates with those of the other participants across different home-host location combinations 
  • The presentation of the results to CINDEX members, providing additional insight on differences between industry groups, with the wider global market drawing on ECA’s extensive database from other mobility surveys and with the previous survey.

Given the substantial participation of CINDEX members in the survey, the majority of which are in the CAC 40 (French stock index), the results have given a good snapshot of the current status of mobility among major French multinationals. The participants can therefore confidently benchmark themselves against peer companies, both in the values of their assignees’ compensation packages and in their policies. 

A key finding of the survey is the increase in the proportion of companies operating a segmented global mobility programme, which echoes the results of ECA’s Expatriate Salary Management Survey. Segmentation allows companies flexibility in choosing the most appropriate compensation approach for each specific assignment profile, rather than trying to apply one standard method to all cases. 

The results also identified what factors influence the choice of compensation approach, such as job role and assignment location, as well as the most common features of each approach, providing an overview of how modern mobility programmes are structured in many leading French multinationals. 

The survey conducted with ECA in 2017/2018 proved to be very valuable. By collecting thousands of data points from participants, the survey results gave us robust ground to benchmark our practices against other multinational groups. It is widely observed that expatriates in most countries are connected with expatriates from other companies, and are curious to compare their packages and benefits. Often the concerns they raise with their mobility team are focused on their perceived disadvantages rather than on a global and fair picture. The aggregated data and benchmarks as well as the individualised reports made available from the survey help to set the record straight by reaffirming objectively the overall competitiveness of our policies.

- Patrick Micheau - Group Director, Compensation and Benefits, International Mobility at Air Liquide

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