Benefits remain an integral element of most international assignment packages, despite pressures on organisations to reduce costs. Our latest Benefits for International Assignments survey of over 400 multinational companies found that a high proportion regard them as essential for promoting international mobility and maintaining the health and wellbeing of assignees and families.
Even though the value of benefits such as housing, home leave flights and education for dependent children can easily amount to over half of the total remuneration package, there has been very little change in the benefits provided to long-term international assignees over the last four years. While keeping costs under control is a major priority and challenge for global mobility teams, the cost of a failed assignment is also high, so appropriate benefits provision is necessary to promote mobility and ensure assignment success.
The survey found that companies have looked to reduce costs by downgrading the flight classes permitted for home leave travel and removing non-core benefits such as domestic staff and club membership, while continuing to provide more essential benefits such as medical insurance. Differences in practice were found depending on the location of organisations' headquarters, with those headquartered in Asia and Australia tending to have leaner policies regarding host country housing assistance, for example. There is also clear evidence of an increasing number of companies allowing variations within their benefits policies to manage diversifying assignment scenarios.
Key findings from the survey are shown below.