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Attracting and retaining talent – how benchmarking can help

According to ECA’s recent Expatriate Salary Management Survey, the greatest challenges associated with managing international assignments were attracting and retaining talent and motivating employees to be mobile. While findings from past surveys suggest this is no new revelation, there is good reason to believe that these areas currently represent as much of a challenge for global mobility (GM) teams as ever.

The challenge of attracting and retaining talent in today’s GM landscape

One of the major impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the business sphere has been an apparent reset in employee attitudes towards the terms under which they work. This is signposted by the Great Resignation, whereby employees in many countries around the world have voluntarily left their jobs in significant numbers, typically seeking out better pay and/or improved working conditions and job satisfaction in general.

While this concept is by no means confined to GM, the industry has certainly been affected. Lockdowns and travel restrictions were – and in some locations continue to be – barriers to mobility, while the emergence of remote working and virtual assignments has opened up new possibilities for the future of employment. This has led many expatriates, existing and prospective alike, to think differently about how and where they want to work.

Meanwhile, economies still recovering from the pandemic have been hit by a global cost-of-living crisis, adding a further layer of instability to an already volatile market for expatriate talent. Against this backdrop, GM teams may be concerned that policies and compensation levels that worked previously are becoming outdated and are finding that the battle to both fill assignment positions with the required talent and keep hold of existing expatriates is now especially tough.

How ECA’s MyExpatriate Market Pay reports help

To best prepare themselves to confront these challenges, it is important that GM teams have a clear understanding of how their position compares to their counterparts within the industry. In this respect, regular benchmarking of expatriate compensation policies and packages can be a useful tool to help strike the balance between competitiveness and cost-effectiveness.

ECA's MyExpatriate Market Pay reports offer a wide range of country-specific benchmarking information to help GM teams ensure that they remain competitive in the tussle for expatriate talent.

The MySalary graph included in every country report shows participants exactly where the salaries they pay their expatriates sit compared to the rest of the market in that country. They can also refine the comparison further by industry group and salary approach, allowing a clear assessment of their position to the level of detail they require. Each report also contains data on compensation and benefits policies, as well as a breakdown of individual salary and benefits values, enabling participants to compare packages as a whole.


Benchmarking with the data in the reports can have many practical uses. For example, comparing both average and individual salaries can help inform salary reviews, perhaps if a company suspects their existing pay levels are not competitive enough to retain key talent and they want to gauge an acceptable increase. Or when looking to attract a specific candidate for a business-critical assignment, a company may explore offering benefits outside their usual policy and the reports can help them identify a reasonable provision to push the move through.

Given the ongoing talent-related challenges, getting such decisions right is now particularly important for GM teams if they want to meet the aims of their mobility programmes. Equipped with the benchmarking insights that the survey reports offer, they are best placed to evaluate their current market position, justify decisions to both expatriates and company management and achieve their objectives.

Make sure you have this valuable information to hand, too. Take part in our annual MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey for free access to a personalised report for every country that you provide data for.


ECA’s unique MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey gathers data on expatriate salaries, benefits and GM policies from hundreds of multinational companies for more than 10 000 individual jobs, producing country-specific benchmarking reports that comprehensively illustrate the expatriate reward market in over 130 countries. The reports are free to participants and participation is not exclusive to ECA clients - any organisation with expats can take part. 

You can watch a recording of a 30-minute webinar we delivered on this topic last month, “Benchmarking expatriate pay – the key to motivation & retention in 2022”.

  Please contact us to speak to a member of our team directly.

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