FO R H R , G LO BA L MA N A GERS & RELOCATIO N PR OFESSIONALS
SECTION HEADING ÂŁ8
Re:locate Summer 2014
DIGITALNATIVES Are you ready?
Mobility flying high
Managing and mitigating risk
Spotlight on London lettings
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Contents 6 22
NEWS, ANALYSIS & EVENTS 4 Re:editor’s letter
Fiona Murchie looks at what’s in store this issue.
FEATURES 10 Re:technology
37 Re:news & analysis
Managing, and motivating, future generations of global leaders
How this key business concept can be applied to the relocation context.
Key industry happenings, personalities and comment. Celebrating the winners of the 2013/14 Re:locate Awards, with case studies.
HOT TOPIC 6 Re:enterprise
32 Re:value chain
POLICY & PRACTICE 24 Re:women leaders
Companies across the growth powerhouses of Asia Pacific are now promoting equality of opportunity.
Exploring the expanding international space sector’s changing frontiers.
GLOBAL MANAGEMENT 14 Re:Africa
Africa is on the up, with opportunities across its 55 countries for investors, diaspora and expats.
30 Re:local plus
Top policy elements, key drivers and learning points.
EMPLOYEE SUPPORT 58 Re:APAC education
Schooling options in Asia Pacific, where long waiting lists can affect relocating families.
22 Re:Asia Pacific
A snapshot of London’s residential lettings market, with advice for employers and their relocating employees.
Moving a child with SEN, including an update on the situation in challenging international destinations.
Risks faced by workers in today’s global economy, and how employers and employees can mitigate and manage them. The mobility scene in this key region for economic growth, including trends influencing relocation, plus property and immigration.
The political landscape following the EU parliamentary elections.
at relocatemagazine.com to download your FREE Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America digital magazines
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and GM professionals “andHRsector experts can work
Managing Editor: Fiona Murchie firstname.lastname@example.org Design: Nat Munckton
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his year, Re:locate celebrates its tenth anniversary. Watch out for news of exciting developments in the autumn! We are now truly global: our website reaches 27,000 unique users, who are viewing 80,000 pages in more than 145 countries a month.
With this in mind, we have opened the debate with global managers across our media channels, to examine the supply-chain, workforce and talent challenges they face. See our introduction to relocation’s value chain (p32), and find out how you can share market intelligence.
Over recent months, several key trends – which we will build on during the coming months – have become clear. In our rapidly changing environment, engagement, innovation and creativity are vital for managing global teams, and for motivating employees to move. See p40 for a flavour of the creative connections explored at the Re:locate Awards gala dinner. Our coverage of the award winners shows how HR, global mobility professionals and sector experts can work together to benefit the people they move, business, the economy and society. Within talent, women’s role is a very topical issue. Surveys show that the number of women undertaking international assignments has plateaued – and at a time when global experience is regarded as crucial to leadership development. We add to the discussion with a report on women leaders in Asia. A second theme we have explored over the past year is the challenge of working with a new generation of tech-savvy workers (see p10). When it comes to innovation, you can’t get more cutting-edge than the space race (p6). With particular skills shortages in science, technology and engineering, it is important to find ways of managing these challenges and improving mobility support. As the economic recovery takes hold, BRICS are out and MINTs are in – but my money is still on Asia Pacific for volume, and Africa and Latin America for challenge. See our ten-page focus on Asia Pacific, and our Africa feature, and sign up online for our new quarterly Asia Pacific digital magazine. Editions for Europe and Latin America coming soon.
Fiona Murchie Managing Editor
© 2014. Re:locate is published by Profile Locations, Spray Hill, Hastings Road, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JB. All rights reserved. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Profile Locations. Profile Locations accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. ISSN 1743-9566.
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PROFILE: THE SPACE INDUSTRY Worth more than $300 billion in 2013, the global space industry is continuing to expand, thanks to new entrants like China and India looking for a piece of the action. Mark E Johnson explores the changing frontiers of this cutting-edge sector.
Copernicus Sentinel-1environmental satellite
here are over a thousand satellites currently orbiting the Earth, each costing millions upon millions of dollars to build, launch and operate – and that’s before you even get to so-called ‘downstream’ businesses making use of space data. Or, to put it another way, space is big business. It’s continuing to get bigger, too. The global industry was worth $314.17 billion in 2013 according to The Space Report 2014, representing a growth of 4 per cent from 2012. Historically, the US has dominated the field, and it remains the foremost player, but a recent report from the Futron Corporation shows that it is the only nation to log a decline in competitiveness for seven straight years. The space industry is in a state of flux as competitors such as India and China dedicate significant resources to boosting their position in the field, while private ‘new space’ companies, such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, promise to shake up the way in which the sector operates. The UK, meanwhile, may be poised to take advantage of the industry’s continued growth and ongoing changes. “The space industry is one of the UK’s unsung success stories and very important to the growth of the economy,” Julia Short, a representative of the UK Space Agency, told Re:locate. “The total contribution of the space sector to the UK economy was more than £9.1 billion in 2010/11, and it is growing at a rate of around 7.5 per cent a year, despite the tough economic climate.” The Space Innovation and Growth Team, a joint body formed by government, industry and academia, said that it wanted the industry to be worth £40 billion by 2030, a sentiment echoed by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne recently. The UK space sector currently employs approximately 3,500 people who are directly involved in putting objects in space (compared with around 35,000 in Europe and 230,000 in the US), but if those involved with ground equipment, user terminals and other related activity are added, the number balloons to 25,000. The sector includes everything from building and operating spacecraft hardware, through infrastructure, to software applications that make use of data gathered in space. Because of the government decision, made some 20 years ago, not to fund scientific and research-based work in space directly, the bulk of the UK space industry is oriented towards commercial work. Satellite television is still the biggest part of the market, while non-satellite TV is also distributed via satellite networks, even if it is carried to living rooms via traditional masts or cables for the last mile. Similarly, the so-called ‘backhauling’ of bulk mobile phone traffic between masts is often done via satellite. Elsewhere in telecommunications, broadband is also a growth market for space. Satellite navigation has been an area of expansion. While it began with the US military’s GPS system, it has become a growth area in Europe, with increases of 10 per cent or
Working on the Galileo payloads at SSTL
more a year, thanks to the development of the Galileo system. Another growth area is Earth observation. This has been predominantly government work to date, with weather forecasting sitting at the fore. But, beyond weather, there’s a range of other markets on the horizon for Earth observation, says Richard Peckham, business development director for Airbus Defence and Space. “I’m expecting that to be the next mass market. Google Earth has opened people’s eyes – but of course, Google Earth is very old data,” explains Mr Peckham. “However, there will be a move in the next few years to start delivering much more real-time data.” In particular, there are many security applications, along with scientific applications for studying phenomena like climate change. Discussing the strengths of the UK space sector, Julia Short said, “UK research in space science and Earth observation combines with a strong industrial base to underpin a powerful and globally competitive set of national competences. The UK also has many smaller companies which draw upon the past heritage of UK technology, the country’s current deep skills and knowledge base, and its expertise in financing new ventures.” The bulk of the sector is made up of what are known as ‘downstream’ applications. “About 80 per cent of the sector is in the applications and services – that’s the people who operate the satellites and sell the services. Only about 20 per cent of it is actually building the satellite hardware,” says Richard Peckham. He expects this trend to continue, with infrastructure potentially dropping to 10–15 per cent. Getting down to the specifics of the government’s involvement with the space industry, Julia Short noted that it had “accelerated the commercialisation of ideas with the Satellite Applications Catapult and demonstrated its belief in the value of international partnership through the European
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Artist’s impression of the new ESA centre to be built at Harwell
Space Agency by dedicating £1.2 billion to ESA programmes over the next five years,” adding, “Government will continue work to deliver a regulatory environment that promotes enterprise and inward investment in the UK. “This response acknowledges the challenges of a global market, and the government will work with new entrants to ensure that inward investment means the creation of jobs and returns for the UK economy.” On the job front, the industry has its own particular set of quirks. When it comes to entry positions, Airbus is taking on hires with fairly generic maths, physics and engineering skills. While employers in many sectors might complain of a lack of these graduates, the perceived ‘sexiness’ of the space industry means that recruiters in this field have no such difficulty. Airbus gets hundreds of applicants for every graduate position. However, for the ‘downstream’ companies making use of satellite data, Richard Peckham says, things are not so clear-cut. “A lot of those companies wouldn’t even identify themselves as a space company.” An organisation like satellite navigation firm TomTom, for example, is more likely to see itself as a consumer electronics company, even though its product is dependent on data from space. At that level, companies are competing with any other tech business on a much more level playing field. Hiring more-experienced staff can be a trickier proposition, too. Mr Peckham says that getting staff with the necessary skills often means recruiting from the continent, and that, likewise, many UK workers are drawn across the channel. “It is one of those industries which is quite global – I’m thinking particularly of the infrastructure bit, building the satellites. It’s a mid-sized industry, so I think there’s quite a bit of movement that goes on.” While China and India are big up-and-comers in the global space sector, crossover with Western companies in terms of staff is not hugely common. These countries are keen to do as much as possible themselves, and the bulk of the talent is homegrown. Mr Peckham notes that the sensitive nature of certain military contracts is prohibitive for Airbus in hiring Indian and Chinese workers. This is not the case for all companies,
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however, and a few hires do get made from those countries. “At the moment, the UK is definitely seen as a good place to do business. There are now quite a few companies looking to set up here – new start-ups who can see there’s a lot going on. So there is going to be more demand, I think, for skilled people who can come in and deliver both the hardware and the application side. Some of them might be specialists, say in geology or farming, because there’s this interaction between the different skills.” It’s not sufficient for the industry to employ engineers who understand space: it also needs experts who understand the needs of those making use of the sector’s output. In that sense, it requires a very far-reaching skillset. Private manned spaceflight is the emergent trend that’s grabbing headlines, and it looks set to cause significant shifts in the industry. While the US is still leading the way, thanks in large part to the availability of significant amounts of venture capital over there, so-called ‘new space’ looks set for the UK, too. These ventures will start with the lower-risk operations, such as Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital flights, which will give (extremely wealthy) passengers a zero-gravity experience.
INWARD INVESTMENT ENTERPRISE
Heathrow Airport seen by British-built satellite, UK-DMC2
But there are individuals, such as SpaceX’s Elon Musk, who are talking about projects as ambitious as missions to Mars. Indeed, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department of Transport are actively looking for potential locations for a British spaceport, and considering how the right regulatory requirements can make Britain competitive. “I think there will be encouragement to come here, and there will be a market, so prices will come down,” says Richard Peckham. “And once we can get the launch cost down, that again will be a major growth trigger for the space sector. Cost is definitely one of the limiting factors at the moment. “Once you get much cheaper launches, suddenly you get more things that are economic to do in space.”
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DIGITALNATIVES Are you ready?
A recent survey revealed that leading companies found segmentation very effective in managing the varying needs of a multigenerational workforce. We set the scene and start to explore different approaches to managing future generations of global leaders.
ith talent shortages affecting profitability, according to PwCâ€™s annual survey of CEOs, forward-thinking organisations are very aware of the role technology can play in engaging employees across multiple generations. The rise of social media reinforces the desire for instant
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access to knowledge and communities in the workplace, as well as at home. But just as companies are getting comfortable with managing and relocating the Millennials, the Digital Natives have arrived on the scene. Is it all change for all demographics, or simply a case of being adaptable and using a step-by-step approach?
Meet the Digital Natives At the Worldwide ERC conference in Shanghai, Scott Bales provided a fascinating insight into the world of ‘Digital Natives’ – those born after 1992. A technology guru in the cutting-edge digital and mobile arena, he was chief mobile officer for Moven, the world’s first cardless bank. Digital Natives are a generation born into digital technology. While individuals from older generations recall organising, planning and interacting with one another without mobile devices, computers or the Internet, Digital Natives have been using these technologies since birth – leaving them with no affiliations to the ‘old days’. “They are the same, but different to previous generations. Where they differ puts them at a massive advantage over their elders, as they naturally master the mindset to leverage human elements through digital,” Scott Bales explained. The impact on organisations and those managing global teams will be enormous, and this thought-provoking session was well received by an audience eager to understand how to support future generations of mobile employees. As citizens, employees, employers and consumers, we will all be affected by the tech generation joining us in the workplace, being consumers of goods and services, and as citizens influencing government and policy at local, national and international level. We know the mobility industry and the organisations it supports are often addressing how to manage five generations of employees. Providing relevant relocation services and policies for Generations X and Y is already very much on the radar, with innovative new packages and delivery methods evolving all the time. The pace of change is one of the challenges. At home, we often use mobile phones or devices and technology that are far superior to those provided in the workplace. This is a frustration for all, and particularly the younger generations. As Scott Bales explained, “In a world where consumer technology has overtaken and excelled well beyond that of the enterprise, employees struggle to grasp why corporate technology, policies and controls prevent them from unleashing the potential of technology in the very place they are paid to be productive, the workplace.” In the relocation context, there is often a mismatch between the mastery of technology that gives a clear advantage in terms of accessing information instantly, but there is also the lack of knowledge and understanding, which can lead the inexperienced into potential professional and personal danger. As Scott Bales put it, “Digital Natives are in search of ‘Google culture’ in the workplace.” But seasoned HR, relocation management companies and destination service providers know all too well the pitfalls that can lie ahead. Tips for moving things forward include creating experiences, not policies. Engaging with ‘the front line’ is recommended. By finding a problem you are passionate about, you will break through boundaries, as
the power of innovation can be phenomenal. Find yourself a digital mentor and harness their expertise, and in return a wise head with first-hand experience can impart ideas and perspective to interns and management trainees. One step at a time is also a good policy. This is something we at Re:locate can help facilitate, by connecting those who have a clear understanding of Digital Natives with our readership. Scott Bales cited the growing trend for a new workplace culture where forward-thinking companies allow employees to bring their own devices to work. This enables them to manage time effectively and be more efficient. As he explained, “Digital Natives have an inherent understanding of digital technologies. They are part of a tech-savvy generation at the forefront of technological progress, and they want to be connected when they wish, from anywhere.” He highlighted that Digital Natives “want a flexible environment where they can have more avenues to be creative, to lead, and to share their knowledge without prejudice. They no longer believe in bureaucracy, but instead prefer a much flatter hierarchy.” However, in an increasingly compliant world, where global companies are facing ever-more-complex regulation, how can this be resolved? “It’s time for organisations to wake up. The Digital Natives’ generation is coming, and their needs will push the boundaries of your organisation,” said Scott Bales.
Millennial priorities revealed Ashridge Business School has produced a new report, The Millennial Compass, on behalf of the MSL Group. The research confirms that Millennials are focused on achieving through personal networks and technology, having a good work-life balance, and getting high levels of support from their managers. They don’t want to be tied to an organisation, a timetable or a hierarchy, and they’d rather avoid the stress they see their senior leaders shouldering. They may lack some of their predecessors’ relationship, communication and analysis skills, but are confident in their abilities to run business in a new way. A total of 1,293 Millennial employees from Brazil, China, France, India, the UK and the USA responded to the survey. The study found that what was important to them in their working lives varied by country, but several key findings emerged. Despite popular conceptions, the majority of Millennials surveyed, in all countries, described themselves as more ambitious than not. However, the report suggests that, as many employers have already discovered, “Loyalty doesn’t appear to be a particularly strong work value for Millennials. On average, 30 per cent of those surveyed worldwide intend to leave their organisations in the next year. Nearly half
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say they plan to depart after two years, leaving only 57 per cent still working for the organisations they’re with today.” This adds fuel to the argument in favour of aligning talent management with global mobility. There are also warning signs ahead for companies wanting to develop global leaders. As the report states, “While they have a strong desire for work-life balance, Millennials seem to be closer to their immediate families and friends than ever before. Even though they travel virtually in and out of their comfort zones all the time, they’re less eager to make a physical move. These trends could impact the future of international business as well as Millennials themselves, who may miss key career opportunities.” This evidence backs up the experience of the APACbased HR, talent and mobility specialists we reported on last year, who were struggling to persuade Chinese high-potentials to go on assignment, whether in their own country, the APAC region, or further afield. How Millennials see their relationship with their boss is also fascinating, and it is no wonder that organisations are anxious about the implications of managing this generation Says the Ashridge report, “When asked about the role their manager currently plays, most survey respondents chose ‘friend’. This answer ranked first in the USA, the UK and Brazil, second in China, and third in India. In France, Millennials see their boss as a peer.” It was also clear that Millennials with younger bosses felt more engaged. Youth appears to motivate youth, with the report saying, “Millennials with younger (Generation X and Millennial) managers believe their skills are better utilised than those whose managers are from the Baby Boom generation. “To demonstrate this point, Millennials in India are way ahead of other countries in believing their organisation harnesses their talents (75 per cent agree). China is second, at 63 per cent. Correspondingly, Millennials in these countries have the highest percentage of young managers.”
Jive talking The Ashridge research seems to confirm what US software developer Jive has predicted with the introduction of its ‘enterprise collaboration’ software platform, designed to capture the enthusiasm of both Millennials and savvy social-media enthusiasts of all generations. With echoes of the momentum to bring your own technology to work mentioned by Scott Bales, the platform gives large global players the ability to offer a flat structure, manage talent, drive innovation and keep their workforces, especially the young, engaged, motivated and connected, wherever they in the world. As Matt Tucker, Jive’s chief technical officer and cofounder, put it at a recent seminar to promote the company’s expansion in Europe, “People want better, simpler ways of getting work done.” This was also one of the drivers behind
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the company’s announcement of a partnership with Cisco, to enable connection in real time via WebEx meeting, chat or a voice call, without leaving the Jive platform. A powerful case study from Kim England, head of internal community and collaboration at Pearson, which employs 40,000 employees across 70+ countries, illustrated the power of the Pearson family and its employer brand in retaining a valued talent via Neo, its customised Jive platform. The system was quick to roll out, starting with 150 people in November 2011. This had increased to 18,000 users by the launch in March 2012. Kim England explained, “The people who came in early built the purpose. Later, as others saw how to use the platform and its benefits, even the cynical were converted. There was engagement from the start, with teams of ‘champions’ helping to roll out and build up the community.” Ms England admitted that this took a lot of thought and planning, which had really paid off by utilising a combination of technology and human connection. Now, there was a sense of community around Neo, which was “how people got their job done”, but it also provided lots of scope for conversations and knowledge sharing at all levels, as well as leads for customers and research and development. It has also proved a useful tool for helping to get new products to market. As Kim England said, “People feel part of the family; it’s not all about the money.” Her top tip was to ensure engagement by leadership from the top. Because Neo enables transparency, there is instant feedback from management, which inspires a different, better and empowered workforce that is also diverse and integrated. In Ms England’s experience, the biggest hurdle to adoption was middle management, as they needed hard evidence that Neo worked. This was where patience, training and a steady approach had paid dividends.
Supporting the business case Deepa Ramesh, talent manager for Millward Brown, a global brands and research agency with 88 offices in 58 countries, also extolled the virtues of the platform, which gave them the cutting edge they needed to drive creativity and share knowledge and intellectual property. Millward Brown’s platform, Greenhouse, supported the business case for social media with businesses, customers, partners and employees. The firm’s challenge was the huge amount of knowledge it owned, which it needed to share globally. Greenhouse has given Millward Brown a one-stop knowledge solution and improved community. Solving problems through knowledge sharing, cross-group and department collaboration, brainstorming, new thinking, and ideas which fuel thought leadership are just some of the ways in which the company uses it. Other benefits are in onboarding, launching campaigns and internal communications.
As Elisa Steele, VP of strategy and marketing at Jive, pointed out, brands that engage with their customer community can command a 23 per cent premium, as clients are looking to work with companies that invest in their people and culture.
Mobility policy: is flexibility the key? On the other side of the coin, Emma Trafford, head of client services at international relocation firm Robinsons, challenges both the stereotypes that exist for Generation X and Generation Y and some of the generalisations made when considering mobility policies. She argues that, in fact, many of Generation X and Generation Y’s needs are the same as those of other relocating employees, and it’s the way in which those needs are met that should be tailored, through things like communication style, feedback and recognition. Surely, then, Ms Trafford says, it would be better for firms to develop policies flexible enough to embrace all generations? Although you may need to make some assumptions in order to set the mobility policy boundaries, by breaking out of rigid policy provisions you can cater for employees’ desire to take control of their assignment. This should ultimately help to attract and retain the best talent. It is a good point, and one that needs to be aired. Millennials and Digital Natives are going to have to coexist with other generations of colleagues for some time to come, so equitable solutions for all are needed, and the more each can appreciate the other’s viewpoint, the better. The advancement of technology, with a step-by-step approach, must surely be the way forward. The global mobility community is certainly up for the challenge, and shows the flexibility which will ultimately lead to success. Technology, after all, is just another culture.
Becoming a successful digital enterprise Meanwhile, a McKinsey and Company Insight urges companies to stop experimenting with digital and commit to transforming themselves into full digital businesses with seven habits that successful digital enterprises share. These range from being “unreasonably aspirational” to ring-fencing and cultivating talent. “Digital talent must be nurtured differently, with its own working patterns, sandbox and tools,” says the report. As part of McKinsey’s growing e-commerce division in Silicon Valley, an ‘idea incubator’ helped increase online revenues by 30 per cent in 2013, outpacing Amazon’s rate of growth. This is exactly the kind of performance that a social-media-style platform, such as the Jive example, can help to nurture. McKinsey’s seven habits include continuous delivery and improvement and agility, supported by big-data analytics. Integrating data sources into a single system that is accessible to everyone in the organisation will really
improve the speed of innovation, it claims. As we know, across the global mobility arena there is a big drive for analytics and a joined-up approach to retrieving and sharing data. Deloitte’s winning entry for Re:locate ’s Technological Innovation in Relocation award (see p42) is a breakthrough that HR, global managers and their service providers have been waiting for. In March, a report from Deloitte University Press highlighted that “too much access to information” had turned us into “overwhelmed” employees. Nearly every company sees this phenomenon as a challenge to performance, but struggles to handle it. Information overload and the always-connected 24/7 work environment are undermining productivity and contributing to low employee engagement. The Deloitte report showed that 65 per cent of executives rated the overwhelmed employee as an ‘urgent’ or ‘important’ trend, while 44 per cent said that they were ‘not ready’ to deal with it. It concluded, “HR has an opportunity to lead efforts to manage the pervasive communications practices that overwhelm employees, simplify the work environment, create more flexible work standards, and teach managers and workers how to prioritise efforts.” “Simplifying business and HR systems and making them easier to use,” the report said, “can also make employees more productive. People no longer want more features in their enterprise software; they want ‘one click’ or ‘one swipe’ transactions. We call this the ‘consumerisation’ of corporate systems – which really amounts to valuing the time of a company’s employees as much as it respects the time of its customers.” Its authors added, “Studies show that people check their mobile devices up to 150 times every day. Yet despite employees being always on and constantly connected, most companies have not figured out how to make information easy to find. In fact, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of employees have told us they still cannot find the information they need within their company’s information systems.” In Deloitte’s most recent research on HR systems, ease of use and user interface integration were rated as the most important factors in driving user adoption. The survey also highlighted the urgent need to create more time to think and produce. If this all sounds familiar, that is a good thing. As ever, there are no easy answers, but the good news is that there are options out there – and, encouragingly, many to suit the complexities of managing global teams.
To keep up-to-date with the latest developments or register your interest in attending a Re:locate online technology showcase, visit
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Land of opportunity Africa is on the up, with abundant opportunities across its 55 countries for dynamic investors, diaspora and expats willing to adapt and respond to fast-changing business environments. Ruth Holmes reports.
For Africa news and articles, visit
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hether it was South Africa officially being welcomed into the BRICS group of newly emerged economies in 2012, or country after country, year on year, rising through the ranks of the annual World Bank series of Doing Business surveys, there’s no doubt that, in recent years – and particularly since the 2006 global economic crisis – perceptions of Africa outside its huge and diverse continent have been undergoing radical change. Along with surveys like global professional services firm EY’s annual Africa Attractiveness Index, Re:locate has been following Africa’s rise, and the mobility opportunities associated with it, for a number of years. While this period has been one of significant economic upheaval and volatility globally, we’ve witnessed consistently positive trends for Africa for both growth and business sentiment. The extent of positivity around inward investment to Africa, with its relatively young, fast-urbanising and increasingly educated almost-900 million population, saw the 500 global business leaders who responded to EY’s Africa Attractiveness Survey 2014: Executing Growth report rank it the second most attractive investment destination after the USA. What is more, 73 per cent of investors already there are confident of Africa’s attractiveness as an investment destination, compared with 39 per cent who have yet to invest. This suggests that, for companies on the ground, the reality is matching the ‘Africa rising’ rhetoric.
Where are the hotspots? Data from EY’s Africa Attractiveness Survey 2014 continues to show a twin-track growth story. North Africa has experienced further declines in the number of committed foreign investment projects this year, owing to a combination of continued political uncertainty and a general shift in investment focus from extractive to consumer markets. The Sub-Saharan region continues to drive growth on the continent, posting average annual GDP increases of around 4.7 per cent, according to World Bank data. The bank expects growth of 5.3 per cent this year and 5.5 per cent in 2016, supported by strong demand (domestically and internationally) and investment.
Although yet to usurp the most attractive – and established – South African business destinations of Johannesburg and Cape Town (first and second respectively), Sub-Saharan Africa is home to the third- and fourth-ranked centres, Nairobi (Kenya) and Lagos (Nigeria). These rising stars emblemise the shift of the growth axis in Africa from north and south to east and west (see Africa: a rising tide, in the Summer 2013 issue of Re:locate magazine), indicating the spread of growth and opportunities throughout the wider continent.
Technology, retail and finance key sectors A further indicator of the continent’s dynamic and changing economies is how the traditional foreign investment focus on the extractive industries and agriculture is today being pulled into the technology, media and telecoms (TMT), retail and consumer products (RCP) and financial services sectors, aided by widespread mobile network saturation. These three sectors, ranked first, second and third respectively, now account for more than half of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects among respondents to the EY survey. This year’s EY dataset is not only notable for the number of retail and consumer product FDI projects overtaking those in the financial services sectors, but also for the relatively few mining and metals FDI projects. This sector has long been associated with investment in the continent, but exited the top ten for the first time in the survey’s history, giving some insight into the shifts currently taking place. Recognising the extent of retail growth opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, international management consultancy A T Kearney this year launched the Africa Retail Development Index. This ranks the countries with the most compelling opportunities for development by time pressure, market saturation, country risk and market size. On this basket of measures, the top five most attractive retail opportunities are in Rwanda, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania and Gabon. Here, large fast-moving consumer goods companies like Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestlé and Diageo, are already present in the markets, tailoring products to domestic consumers. continues on p16
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SECTION HEADING AFRICA
Talent challenges From the perspective of global mobility and talent management, these economic shifts into new sectors present opportunities, as well as challenges. While generally the continent of Africa has the strength of numbers among its young population to fill the vacancies, the shift to new sectors and the rate of change, as well as historic underinvestment in human capital, mean that skills mismatches exist. These provide opportunities for both returning diaspora and expatriate workers, as well as for concerted and sustained employer recruitment and training programmes for high-potential graduates. The insightful and high-level panel discussion at April’s BOC Emerging Markets HR Conference in London – chaired by Dr Sujaya Banerjee, with Ola Ehinmoro, vicepresident of group talent management at Lafarge SA, Chidinma Lawanson, head of human capital management at Nigeria’s Diamond Bank, Frances Mensah Williams, CEO of Interims for Development, Kate Dikgale-Freeman, vice-chairperson of the South Africa Board for People Practices, and Sarah Fitzgerald, MD of Executives in Africa – discussed the challenges and approaches their companies employed to ensure that opportunities for growth were being maximised At Diamond Bank, Chidinma Lawanson revealed, part of the talent development strategy is a prestigious and intensive graduate training and onboarding programme. This introduces new recruits to the bank’s values, customer focus and interpersonal skills standards. Ola Ehinmoro, of Lafarge SA, also spoke of the challenges, financial and cultural, for returning diaspora, and of rotating high-potential leaders from newly emerging countries into development roles in emerged European destinations. Without careful management, including discussions around reasons for assignments, such programmes could meet with resistance, given homecountry opportunities and salary discrepancies. Noting how these talent management initiatives were paying dividends, Sarah Fitzgerald commented on how, in recent years, African nationals had been more likely to make it on to recruiters’ shortlists for senior and boardlevel roles than previously.
Relocation’s role As the shift to retail, fast-moving consumer goods and technology continues, it’s likely that assignees from these emerging sectors will join those from established sectors, like the diplomatic corps, technicians and professionals in NGOs and energy and extractive industries. Findings from the 2014 Brookfield Global Relocation Trends survey suggest that, for those among its current client base, assignee volume to the region remains relatively small – for the moment, at least. “Although
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there is a great deal of talk about Africa in general as an emerging continent, only South Africa shows a marked change, up from 15th position in 2013 to a joint fourth position in this year’s report,” the authors note. Kenya (19) features alongside South Africa and Angola (14) as one of three African countries in the top 20 emerging countries for international assignments. Crown Relocations is one of a number of relocation specialist and destination service providers which have relatively recently entered markets on the African continent to service mobile workers’ and their employers’ needs. Explaining why, Crown’s David Hollins said, “More businesses than ever are expanding into Africa, as they recognise its huge potential. An ever-growing population makes Africa a sizeable and very appealing market for retailers of many goods and services. Crown has seen such high demand in African nations that it expanded into the continent in 2009.” With the diversity of assignment types and durations proliferating, getting the right support is even more vital. Brookfield’s Global Relocation Trends survey reveals that, for its 159 respondents, between them representing eight million employees, five of the world’s top 20 most challenging destinations are in Africa (South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Angola and Mozambique). Cartus’s 2013 study Talent Management and the Changing Assignee Profile also shows that employers are grappling with low interest and high levels of resistance to African destinations, particularly Nigeria. Here, concerns around schooling, security and housing, as well as career, are prevalent. “Of course, there are challenges associated with a move to Africa,” says David Hollins. “Security, in particular, remains a big concern. In some areas, democracy is still in its infancy, and outbreaks of civil unrest are likely to continue over the coming years. “Government corruption is common, and areas such as Nigeria often experience violent outbursts of protest. Likewise, basic infrastructure problems can hamper development, including poor road and rail networks, which can limit public travel.” Mr Hollins adds, “Many of these challenges can be overcome with basic precautions and care, however. Africa remains a continent that figures strongly in the marketing plans of businesses across the world. A move there can be incredibly rewarding for the employees of these businesses, provided proper preparation precedes any relocation.” With the wider trend to push to localise on longer-term contracts, and talent and career advancement taking higher priority for assignments, having a clear employer brand, as well as assignees with an adaptable global mindset and purpose for being there, will be vital in ensuring that opportunities for all are realised in this dynamic and diverse continent.
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HEAL+H Reducing the risks
Workers in today’s global economy face a variety of health risks. With comment from experts, Louise Whitson considers how organisations and their employees can manage and mitigate them.
round the world, health has been hitting the headlines. From the Ebola virus in West Africa, to air pollution and bird flu in China, to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Dubai, it seems that every day brings employers based in affected areas and those managing international assignments – not forgetting employees and assignees - new cause for concern. This coincides with growth in the number of business travellers and expatriates being sent to countries with higher medical risks, according to research from medical and travel security services group International SOS. The study found that, in 2013, more than 40 per cent of medical cases occurred in countries classed as ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ risk, up from less than 25 per cent in 2010. In countries classed as extreme risk, 11 per cent of cases were due to cardiovascular disease, while another 11 per cent were attributable to infectious illnesses, including malaria and dengue fever. Of cases in Asia and the Middle East, 50 per cent were in high-risk countries, with assistance most commonly required in Indonesia, India, China and Vietnam. This compares with 29 per cent in 2010. Scott Sunderman, group CEO of global medical, security and travel assistance services provider Healix International, winner of Re:locate’s new Global Health & Wellness award (see p53), points out that, as companies look further afield for new sources of business and operational capability, even traditionally conservative professional services firms, which might once have sent people almost exclusively to major first-world cities, are starting to operate in remote parts of Africa and Asia.
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He adds, “Energy and mining companies used to dominate in terms of exposure to high-risk locations, but now we see manufacturers, FMCG companies, non-government organisations and inter-government organisations doing business in these places as a matter of routine.” Inevitably, this is leading to an increase in the number of expatriates needing medical assistance from Healix. The group is finding, however, that conditions on the ground have not progressed in most instances. Scott Sunderman explains, “Even in relatively developed parts of the world, expatriates may struggle to adapt to the standard of medical care available. This is especially true in areas such as post-operative support, where the quality of nursing care may be poor – and often non-existent – and language issues may prove problematic.” It’s important, therefore, that employers manage employees’ expectations and have appropriate medical evacuation plans in place.
Reducing and managing risk The challenges for employers sending employees overseas are reducing risk wherever possible, managing any remaining risks, and – crucially – convincing employees that they are valued and will be looked after. To reduce risk, planning and preparation, by both employer and employee, are crucial. Healix has found that a well-thought-out plan to assess and prepare employees will provide both an understanding of the risks that the employer is taking by sending an employee (and possibly also his or
Healy, believes that, as well as choosing an international medical insurance plan that meets the specific needs of their staff, employers should consider the add-on tools their insurer makes available as part of the insurance package, which can help employees to manage most aspects of their health.
her family) overseas, and a better-supported workforce. Risks, Scott Sunderman says, can be both financial – a chronic medical condition that needs to be supported in a high-cost country can lead to substantial unforeseen expense – and physical – an individual with a chronic medical condition who travels to a country that cannot adequately support that condition will be placed at significant risk. An employer who understands the risks of sending an individual to a given location will be able to make a considered judgement about the cost and benefits of the assignment. “By properly understanding factors such as pre-existing medical conditions,” Mr Sunderman adds, “the employer can take steps to prepare its workforce before international assignments. Even very basic issues, such as gaining access to prescription medication in a foreign country, can prove to be problematic, and can destabilise employees and their families. Most potential issues can be easily fixed prior to departure, making the employee feel well supported, and increasing the chances of a successful assignment.” The risks of not properly assessing and preparing employees include the potential for unforeseen costs, breaches
of an employer’s duty of care, and, of course, the cost and operational implications of failed assignments.
Empowering employees International health benefits provider Aetna International was shortlisted in the Global Health & Wellness category of the Re:locate Awards. Its general manager for Europe, David
Aetna’s web and mobile tools, for example, include mobile apps that allow members to locate nearby providers, book appointments, and obtain directions. Mobile technology enables claims to be submitted via smartphone. Providing information, says Mr Healy, is also important. “The more knowledge employees have of their healthcare options, the less risk they are likely to face when working overseas. A staff member in a remote location needing urgent treatment, for instance, will benefit from understanding quickly where to find their local treatment centre.” Asked what steps employees can take to help ensure their own wellbeing while on assignment, David Healy says, “Employees will naturally differ in their approach to health and fitness, and moving to work abroad can often mean additional stresses from a new job and settling into a different environment. Employers typically want to encourage staff to stay healthy, and may look to provide local support and information on healthy eating and other important considerations.” Technology plays a key role in delivering wellness advice and information for Aetna’s members. The company provides health-related information via dedicated applications for smart devices and through the member portal on its multilingual website. Healix’s Scott Sunderman advises, “Expatriates should ensure they complete a medical assessment and follow advice. It’s critical, for example, to ensure that vaccinations are up-to-date, and to take malaria prophylaxis in malaria-affected zones.”
Avoiding disease When it comes to the risks of the current well-publicised outbreaks of serious diseases like Ebola and bird flu, David Healy says, “Dealing with natural disasters and outbreaks of disease can be highly stressful and worrying for expatriates. Employers should check that their insurance provider is willing to help in these situations and can provide sufficient support.” International employee assistance programmes (IEAP) can support members in cases of disaster or serious infectious disease. Explains Mr Healy, “IEAPs can assist with a variety of topics, ranging from eldercare and childcare to legal, financial and relationship issues, and workplace conflict. They can also help members navigate difficult situations
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like disease outbreaks, whether from a practical perspective or to help deal with the emotional fallout. “If members are worried they will be travelling to a high-risk area, they can call the IEAP for advice.” Scott Sunderman says, “Employees should follow advice in terms of personal hygiene, and avoid contact with potential sources of infection, such as, in the case of bird flu, chicken carcasses in wet markets. Employers should ensure that they have up-to-date infectious-disease response plans that link to their business continuity plans.” However, he cautions, it is vital to keep a sense of perspective. “Many of these highly publicised pathogens are not particularly contagious and impact relatively few people. It’s important that employers and employees do not lose sight of the more common – and yet less wellpublicised – diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever.
Air pollution in China Of course, it’s not just disease that can affect the health of those travelling internationally: environmental factors can also pose a threat, particularly in emerging economies, as was demonstrated at the Worldwide ERC APAC Summit in Shanghai, during a session which highlighted the health risks posed by air pollution in China.
Yi Zhong, China health project leader for General Electric (GE), explained that, while air pollution was a concern, she viewed smoking as the biggest challenge to health in China, where smoking-related deaths exceed a million per year. GE’s Health Ahead programme, she said, encouraged employees to take responsibility for their own health. Sammi Chen, IM adviser for BP, felt that pollution could affect the ability of companies in China to attract and retain foreign staff. To counteract this, organisations most commonly offered simple guidance, such as advice on reducing exercise on days when pollution was high. Paying a hardship allowance was another alternative. Ms Chen also emphasised the importance of communicating to expats that their employer cared about their wellbeing. Providing monitoring of indoor pollution was an option, as was installing air purifiers in apartments. Requesting indoor and outdoor pollution testing before a lease was signed could also be considered.
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A special introductory registration rate is available for corporate HR delegates. Explore such specific topics as immigration and tax challenges in Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia; inflation and the impact on compensation packages; how to budget for assignments; unique cultural challenges; labor law and risk management; understanding Mercosur and how SLAs can help define clearer roles and responsibilities. Learn more and register today at www.WorldwideERC.org/latam14. RAISE YOUR VISIBILITY: Secure a sponsorship or exhibiting opportunity! Contact Manu Lizzio-Hashime at firstname.lastname@example.org, or +1 703 842relocatemagazine.com 3427.
mobility Taking the temperature As the global economy picks up, mobility and talent are high on the agenda of organisations based in Asia Pacific, says Fiona Murchie.
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MANAGING ASIA CHANGE PACIFIC
or me, one of the most fascinating sessions at any of the Worldwide ERC summits is the Global Thought Leaders’ Dialogue, because it takes the temperature of a region at a specific time. There is nothing better than hearing people on the front line describe what is impacting their daily work and what is driving the success of their businesses. The discussion panel at the Talent Mobility in APAC Summit, held in Shanghai, didn’t disappoint. Moderated by Pandra Richie, of Long & Foster Companies, chairman of the WERC board, the panel consisted of Claire Yao, mobility manager for APAC at Corning, Shanghai, Maureen Jeganathan Arm, of Johnson & Johnson, Singapore, and Greg Morley, VP of human resources, Hasbro, Hong Kong.
Global activity in the year ahead Asked to comment on global activity for the year ahead, Maureen Jeganathan Arm said Johnson & Johnson was seeing more movement, especially in the Asia region, as well as intra-regional transfers into developed areas. Activity consisted of outbound moves from China to the US and EMEA, as well as in-region mobility to Singapore, with lots of moves into China. Greg Morley was generally pretty hopeful. Hasbro’s focus was on profitability and driving revenue, and relocation was a small part of that. On the whole, the company was doing shorter assignments rather than long-term ones, the former being seen as a better investment for the organisation and the development of talent. They were by no means all at senior level; there were many more middle and junior management moves. Hasbro was being more proactive and managing packages according to different requirements. As Hasbro was relatively new in China, Mr Morley felt it was too early to consider exporting talent from there, but this may be contemplated in a year or two. Currently, the company was bringing in talent from outside to fill gaps, and recruiting high-potential personnel for a number of months on short-term assignment. In China, assignments were typically shorter and more targeted on developing talent, but there had to be flexibility, with a change of emphasis mid-term if necessary to meet business needs. Claire Yao highlighted the rise in mergers and acquisitions, together with advances into new markets. For her, it was all about assigning the right people at the right time. This avoids labour costs if the business need doesn’t turn out as expected, she argued, and gives flexibility and resilience. A robust case for filling a role by local or international talent needed to be made. If local talent was the solution, a clear timeline was needed for the succession plan. If international talent was opted for, the case for a local package must be investigated. Ms Yao noted an increase in short-term assignments. Commenting that China was becoming expensive compared
with other parts of Asia, especially as regards tax, she expected to see more moves within Asia. It was her opinion that companies were evaluating China with a view to seeking alternative Asia Pacific countries in which to operate should the Chinese economy suffer a setback. She expected to see more moves, but all within the Asian family of countries.
The thorny issue of compliance Greg Morley explained that compliance was part of Hasbro’s company culture. As a manufacturer of children’s products, it had to have high ethical standards, safety was of paramount importance, and therefore compliance was non-negotiable. He could understand that, from a vendor perspective, the company’s standards could seem unreasonable, but this was simply the level of compliance at which they had to operate. Maureen Jeganathan Arm reiterated this point, saying that, as a drugs company, Johnson & Johnson, too, had to uphold the highest standards of compliance. Acknowledging the need for tracking, from a compliance perspective, of tax, immigration, social security, health and personal safety requirements, Claire Yao voiced the frustration felt by many end-user expatriate employees and business travellers and their mobility managers. When would there be one platform to consolidate all this tracking, and who would provide it?
Growing mobility professionals of the future Maureen Jeganathan Arm saw the mobility function evolving and aligning more closely with the “talent space”. She saw the skills of partnering business, reading data, and asking the right questions about mobility as being crucial. Greg Morley believed that mobility professionals were people with a flexible mindset who were outgoing explorer types. He saw the need for better advocates of the profession. Part of the solution, he felt, was mentoring programmes, speaking at universities, and raising the profile of the profession above being seen as purely administrative. Just as the banks were aggressive about recruiting talent early, a compelling vision of global mobility professionals was needed, with a career path that reflected the importance of their impact on people’s lives and business growth. Claire Yao raised the point that, although mobility professionals spent a lot of time dealing with details, it was important to focus on the big picture when talking to executives and business leaders. “If we want to elevate ourselves to business partners or consultants, then we must learn to behave like consultants,” she proclaimed. Ms Yao went on to assert the value of connecting with other mobility professionals, both HR and supplier vendors, and the importance of working together on what we want our industry to become.
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WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS Leadership diversity in newly emerged Asian economies Across the Asian growth powerhouses, high female participation rates are vital to ongoing growth and productivity gains. How are companies building bench strength and promoting equality of opportunity for women? Ruth Holmes investigates.
he story of women’s work is remarkably similar the world over. In the high-growth-potential, newly emerged economies of Asia, just as in Western economies, the female talent pipeline slows to a relative trickle once family responsibilities take hold. The reasons are manifold, interconnected and, again, strikingly similar everywhere, taking in pay, industry sector, perceptions, culture and social expectations. Global initiatives like the ongoing United Nations (UN) campaigns and International Women’s Day keep the issue high on the agenda and provide a springboard for national, regional and corporate initiatives. Employers are also taking the lead, recognising the widely researched and rehearsed business case that better business decisions are made by more diverse and genderbalanced boards.
Gender balance benchmarking As in the longer-established emerged economies of Europe and North America, companies in newly emerged economies are struggling to harness the benefits of full diversity in
24 | Re:locate | Summer 2014
the workplace. This could have negative consequences for long-term growth and productivity. Benchmarking data from the UN’s quinquennial report into women’s social, economic and political roles highlights the scale of the issue, globally and across the major Asian economies – home to many of the world’s fastestgrowing economies. The figures indicate where male and female labour-force participation and representation at management level diverge – and where gender pay gaps take hold. They also pinpoint where companies looking to enhance gender balance in the workplace can look to mitigate the trends and build sustainability into the business.
A snapshot of Asia According to the UN’s Statistics Division, China, Malaysia and Hong Kong have some of Asia’s highest female participation rates (see Table 1, p26) across the region. These three countries also take the top spots for the highest proportions of female leaders in junior, middle and senior management respectively.
By contrast, at around 29 per cent, India has one of the lowest female participation rates in Asia. Women here also make up a small minority of people in corporate leadership roles, with just 9 per cent of those in senior management being female. Despite the differences in participation and attainment rates, all these fast-growing Asian economies follow a broadly similar pattern to many established emerged economies. The proportion of women in junior, middle and senior management declines with seniority. Even for top performer Malaysia, the balance between men and women swings from +3 percentage points at junior management level to -21 percentage points at senior level.
Engineering a solution: Essar Group’s approach Indian multinational infrastructure, telecoms, mining and energy conglomerate Essar Group is responding to the diversity challenge. Employing over 75,000 staff in more than 25 countries, its businesses rely on highly qualified people with in-demand skills in technical and engineering disciplines.
Recognising the need to reinforce the talent pipeline and the potential longevity of new engineering graduates’ careers, the group is making a concerted effort to encourage the retention of female graduate workers. At April’s BOC HR Emerging Markets Conference in London, Mumbai-based Dr Sujaya Banerjee, Essar’s chief talent officer and senior vice-president for HR, spoke with passion and insight about the issues and the company’s approach. She described how Essar is mixing high-impact practical interventions, including mentoring of high-potential women, with education initiatives designed to shift attitudes around gender in the workplace. “Large numbers of women are coming through the professional ranks and training, but not staying to reach middle and senior levels. The challenge is to get them to grow into senior roles,” Dr Banerjee explained.
The potential challenges Sujaya Banerjee outlined the social, filial and infrastructure challenges specific to India, which together stymie attempts to rebalance female retention rates and representation at
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senior levels. “Many professional jobs are in urban areas. Often, working parents have no families locally to support them. Crêche facilities are also not viewed positively, so there is no blueprint or infrastructure for working families. “The problem is also social in nature, around the traditional expectations of women and the role they are expected to play. In Asia, in particular, there is an expectation on the part of parents that their children will look after them in their old age. Often, this onus falls on women and limits their ability to take up career opportunities. “High-potential women in India are also concerned about the personal sacrifices they may be making in terms of forgoing having children for their career, and the role of their parents in decision-making,” said Dr Banerjee. Despite this, she continued, “There is great enthusiasm among young female graduates to work, including in our remote plants and refineries in challenging locations.” “We take great care with the onboarding and induction process, emphasising personal safety and including parents, to reassure them that their daughters are very well taken care of. But often, just as we have invested in all that, female graduates are getting married and moving on for personal reasons.”
Changing perceptions The focus of Essar’s approach to gender diversity is, therefore, on challenging gender perceptions in the workplace. A lack of female trailblazers often means that the motivation for women to return to work is low, playing in to wider social expectations and the traditional role of women, explained Dr Banerjee. To address the issues, Essar is “going all out to hire women” by “changing the ethos” around gender in the workplace and sending the message across the business that women can lead. Its starting point was a series of guided panel discussions in 2012. These focused on the family and social pressures women faced at each career stage – including “self-esteem associated with marital status, protecting one’s independence and self-worth across life transitions” – and started a conversation that is now helping to shift perceptions and alter attitudes. “The panels were based on the underlying premise that women often do not have enough role models around them who have successfully broken the Indian mould of women as homemakers,” says Dr Banerjee. “This dialogue is so important for getting women in the organisation to take themselves seriously as regards their role in the company, and to sensitise people who are leading women to the issues.” Out of these conversations came the gender-diversity and inclusion initiative You Are Precious, Girl – a high-profile and ongoing branded programme of training and events. It
encompasses a range of issues, including assertiveness and safety, managing career transitions with filial challenges, women in middle and senior management roles, building a personal brand for women leaders, and networking effectively within the organisation. The April 2013 edition of Essence, the company’s glossy corporate magazine, was dedicated to women working at Essar, showcasing their success stories and underlining their important contribution to the company’s success. One particularly high-impact success, and a measure of how seriously Essar takes gender diversity, is that it now has a power plant staffed and run entirely by women. This reinforces the message that women can lead, and provides important skills, experience and networking opportunities for up-and-coming female leaders. As a result of this strategy, 27 per cent of junior to middle managers at Essar are now female, securing a more genderbalanced talent pipeline into senior roles. Reflecting on the success, Dr Banerjee concluded, “What’s most important is the dialogue that we are encouraging in the organisation among both men and women, to allow women to take themselves more seriously and have the ambition. “This is a common challenge most emerging markets are dealing with more and more. People need the support around it, and the resources. HR and learning and development professionals have an important role to play in creating the culture for this, and for people to be retained, and at Essar we have a great record to show for our ability to retain them.”
Table 1: Percentage of women in workforce – Asia snapshot Country
Female labour market participation (%) 2010
Percentage of women in junior management
46 Percentage of women in middle management
Percentage of women in senior management
9 Source: UN Statistics Division
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KEEPING UP WITH
IMMIGRATION CHANGES The fast-changing immigration landscape can be a minefield for those managing relocations and international assignments. We bring you a handy checklist of some of the latest enforcement trends in the Asia Pacific region.
n informative session at the Worldwide ERC summit in Shanghai was presented by Berry Appleman & Leiden’s (BAL) Christina Karl, managing director, Asia, Megha Banerji, APAC immigration manager, and Tim Denney, managing director, Australia. The speakers provided a mine of information for organisations sending international assignees to Asia Pacific, and highlighted some of the potential immigration pitfalls for those sending employees to the region on business trips. Recent key enforcement trends covered in their very practical session were: Increased use of biometrics in foreign identification cards •M alaysia plans to introduce a new biometric card by the end of the year Increasing requirement for justification for foreign hires • I ndonesia has added a new company representative interview to the step requesting approval of the foreign employee’s position • Vietnam has added annual position ‘demand’ approval for jobs held by foreign nationals • India is increasingly requiring proof of local job advertisement as part of employment visa applications Personal and payroll tax information is now part of work visa document requirements • The Philippines requires employees to have a Taxpayer Identification Number before a work permit application can be filed Exit requirements are also being added •M alaysia requires Professional Visit Pass holders to obtain ‘exit memos’ before allowing them to leave
• China now requires cancellation of work and residence permits •A ustralia continues to require that the authorities are notified within ten days of a 457 visa holder ceasing employment in Australia Countries are improving immigration recordkeeping • Immigration databases are being integrated with police and government intelligence agency databases • The in-country registration requirements are made more relevant by providing authorities with accurate location of foreign nationals • Passport security is improving, with governments shifting to passports with embedded microchips, to ease border passage • The Philippines is requiring all its citizens to convert to the new-style passport by the end of 2015 Efforts to reduce fraud in work visa applications •S ingapore has added verification requirements for education certificates obtained in China • A Philippines Department of Justice investigation found an employer that had falsified information for more than 70 Chinese nationals in order to obtain work visas, which has resulted in new restrictions on Chinese nationals entering the Philippines for work • Australia has enhanced the enforcement regime by permitting Fair Work Ombudsman Inspectors to audit sponsoring companies Information courtesy of BAL. For the latest immigration updates and practical advice, check out relocatemagazine.com
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TOP TIPS FROM PROPERTY EXPERTS IN ASIA PACIFIC
A number of useful insights into the property and serviced accommodation markets in Asia Pacific emerged from Worldwide ERC’s recent conference. Fiona Murchie reports.
n expert panel came together at the Worldwide ERC conference in Shanghai to highlight key property issues affecting relocation in Asia Pacific. Sue Latina-Cohen, of the Australia-based Toll Group, warned that expatriates would find that Australian realestate agents were not “warm, friendly and welcoming”, and there were established practices that needed to be followed. Vacancy rates are low, and the pressure is on when looking for property. Ms Latina-Cohen revealed that 18 per cent of housing was being bought by the Chinese for investment, and this was putting pressure on the lettings market. When it comes to renting, the system protects the landlord and owner, and it is important that companies sending expatriates to the region understand this. Diplomatic clauses are difficult to negotiate, and often only apply after 12 months. When a property is leased, it must have a condition report. This is extremely detailed, and the employee has to see it and sign it. The exit condition report is taken very seriously, and employees cannot be allowed to opt out, as any dispute may go to a tribunal. Joshua Han Miller, of Asia Pacific Properties, said that, in China, the agent often represented both tenant and landlord, there was no regulatory body, and estate agents did not need to have a licence as they did in Hong Kong and the USA.
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It is also important to understand how an agency employs its agents. This may be either on base salary plus commission, which can vary from 10 to 50 per cent, or on an all-commission rate of perhaps 70 per cent, which can drive a quick sale and influence the behaviour of the agent. Landlords often market their properties with multiple agents. Charmaine Baptista, of Writers Relocations, in India, reported on a volatile real-estate market where all cities were different. Demand exceeded supply, and expats’ desire to live in ‘pockets’ also pushed up prices. Ms Baptista pointed out that it was important to bear in mind that most landlords didn’t live in the area, which could slow things down. Most property is let unfurnished. The turnaround time for lease vetting and signing can be time-consuming. The authorised signatory of a lease must be in the city and present at the time of registration, and it is imperative that the expat knows this. Charmaine Baptista advised HR to conduct regular market surveys on rental prices, in order to set accurate budgets. Streamlining the lease approval procedure was also recommended, preferably using a standard company lease.
Serviced accommodation thriving I took the opportunity of meeting Craig Ryan, managing director of Oakwood Worldwide’s APAC region, for an insight into the serviced apartment market in Asia Pacific.
Oakwood is an established brand known and trusted in the relocation marketplace, certainly in the UK and Europe and its home base, the USA. It has done much to establish its credentials as a safe accommodation haven for international corporate clients keen to ensure the safety and security of their expatriate populations around the world. One of the few truly global serviced apartment brands, Oakwood is now setting its sights on further-flung, more challenging destinations, where its credentials for providing secure, trackable accommodation that ticks all the compliance boxes should stand it in good stead. The world is changing, and, while top-of-the-range accommodation with flexibility is still high on agenda, the bigger corporate clients are looking for solutions across their destinations. The one-size-fits-all solution, even with a number of inbuilt brands, is no longer enough for companies sending teams to Africa, India and other parts of Asia Pacific, as well as the traditional expat and business traveller destinations. Watch this space to see how Oakwood and other global players address today’s requirements from industry sectors like oil and gas, mining, infrastructure and technology, which are pushing into new markets and territories. The solution appears to be to offer clients greater choice and more customised solutions in key markets around the world Oakwood has just signed a corporate and serviced apartment joint venture with Mapletree Group that aims to open more than 100 new properties around the world over the next five years. The joint venture will draw on Mapletree’s expertise in Asia and Oakwood’s strengths in Europe and North America to more than triple the number of branded Oakwood buildings across the globe. Bill Foltz, Oakwood’s chief financial officer and architect of the joint venture agreement, says, “Mapletree saw the opportunity for investment into the corporate and serviced apartment sector and wanted a global platform and worldclass brand to grow their portfolio. This was a unique opportunity for us to align with an investor who has the size and capability to allow for rapid expansion of our brand.” Before the announcement of the joint venture, Oakwood was already well established in the Asia Pacific region, with a growth agenda. It is looking to double its current branded portfolio of 28 properties in the next three to five years. Key locations for potential development include Singapore, Sydney, Chennai and Beijing, as well as other first-and second-tier cities in China, and Hong Kong. Craig Ryan told me that two of the company’s biggest markets were Sydney and Singapore, and, while Oakwood does not currently have a branded presence in either market, it provides access to properties in both cities through its vetted supplier network of more than 325 apartment providers in Asia Pacific. An Australian himself, Mr Ryan commented on the position in Australia, confirming the intelligence supplied
by the Global Serviced Apartment Report 2013/14 that the country is seeing corporate customers doing business outside major city centres, gravitating towards regional and suburban hubs where government infrastructure is supporting industry growth and development. This, in turn, is driving demand for extended-stay accommodation. Serviced apartments in Australia now represent 25 per cent of the total accommodation market, up from just 10 per cent in 1999. This figure will rise to 30 per cent in the coming years. Craig Ryan agreed that serviced apartments were in high demand and short supply in Australia. He added, “We continue to expand our supply chain network across the Australian and New Zealand markets. There is definitely a great opportunity to expand our inventory for this market, as we continue to see an increase in both inbound and intercountry corporate travel.” In tandem with its development plans for branded property, Oakwood continues to expand its supplier network throughout Asia Pacific. It can currently provide clients with access to more than 400 properties across the region, which enables it to deliver accommodation solutions for both short-term and extended-stay requirements in most cities in Asia Pacific. Of course, there are plenty of serviced apartment providers already well established in the region. The Ascott Limited, for example, is continuing to grow rapidly, having secured contracts to manage its first property in Burma and its third in Wuhan. Recent new openings have been in Kuala Lumpur and Suzhou. Frasers Hospitality is on target to double its presence in China to 23 properties within the next two years, strengthening its presence in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as key second- and third-tier cities. With the growth of fifth- and sixth-tier destinations in China, there is plenty of scope for development. Project teams need basic accommodation in these cities, while more established cities provide the more luxurious apartments required by busy executives and families on the move.
For Asia Pacific news and articles, visit
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APPROACH According to a recent survey, Asia Pacific is leading the way in the use of formal Local Plus policies. We explore the top policy elements, key drivers and learning points.
t the WERC Shanghai conference, Phil Stanley, APAC global mobility CEO of Mercer, presented an illuminating overview of the Local Plus alternatives currently being used in Asia. Mr Stanley drew on Mercer’s comprehensive survey of the international assignment policies and practices of around 750 companies, conducted between March and July 2012, together with its Alternative International Assignments Policies and Practices Survey 2013, which included around 320 participants, of whom 23 per cent were from Asia Pacific The data makes it abundantly clear that, as those working in the global mobility profession know, the majority of organisations are increasing their use of expatriate staff. In the Asia Pacific region, whilst the situation is more finely balanced over the use of long-term assignments, with 51 per cent of respondents noting an increase, 38 per cent noting no change, and 11 per cent seeing a decrease, the rise in short-term assignments is significant. A 70 per cent majority of organisations recorded an increase in short-term assignments in the region, with only 1 per cent seeing a decrease and 29 per cent recording no change. The picture of locally-hired foreigners was telling as regards demand in the workforce, and fairly equally balanced, with 51 per cent of organisations seeing an increase and 49 per cent reporting no change. Against this backdrop, organisations in APAC were more likely to use ‘localised’ packages, but the Mercer 2013 Alternative International Assignments Policies and Practices Survey showed a definite growing trend towards Local Plus solutions. In answer to the question ‘why Local Plus?’, the survey reveals that this approach is mainly being used in Asia Pacific for permanent or indefinite transfers, for internationally hired foreigners or those localising from an expat package,
for certain assignment locations or position levels, and for locally hired foreigners. As a region, Asia Pacific is leading the way in having formal Local Plus policies in place. The top five Local Plus elements are tax preparation assistance, housing allowance, relocation services, enhanced medical benefits, and dependant education assistance. In Asia Pacific, the most important drivers for the Local Plus approach are cost reduction and equity with local staff, followed by market competitiveness and the need for simpler administration. The APAC countries with the highest number of employees on Local Plus are China, Singapore and Hong Kong. Phil Stanley urged his audience to look beyond the obvious cost-savings equation and balance goals of simplicity, lower cost objectives and country requirements. As he pointed out, a global policy must be clear but flexible, and the challenge in Asia Pacific, as in other regions, is finding the right mix of approaches. Those operating in Asia Pacific can help keep the data fresh and relevant in this fast-evolving region by contributing to the Alternative International Assignments Policies and Practices Survey, which remains open at www.imercer.com/aia. The Worldwide Survey of International Assignment Policies and Practices is an ‘evergreen’ survey, and can be accessed via www.imercer.com/wiappsurveylogin
For international assignments news and articles, visit relocatemagazine.com/
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Where’s the value? The concept of the value chain, well known in the business world generally, is rather less so in the relocation and mobility context. Yet its potential for identifying opportunities for improvement has huge value for organisations relocating employees, and for their service providers. Andrew Fearne, professor of Value Chain Management at Kent Business School, explains.
he tough global trading environment in which the majority of companies are competing continues to fuel the pursuit of sustainable business models. International companies face stiff competition, and it is essential that they deploy project teams quickly and efficiently to get the job done. Leading-edge companies of all sizes see providing international experience as imperative for the development of future leaders. In either case, managing and retaining talent is crucial to the business, and it is usually the responsibility of HR managers or HR mobility specialists to organise domestic relocations or international assignments. Today’s management teams, however, ensure that no stone is left unturned as businesses look to reduce their costs, shorten their response times and add more value – without compromising their commitment to compliance or corporate social responsibility, of course. For most firms, this means using their assets more efficiently and extracting more value wherever possible. The challenge that the majority struggle with is the inevitable trade-off between cutting costs and differentiation – doing more and/or better with less. Getting this right can give a business a genuine source of competitive advantage, but getting it wrong can be disastrous, and invariably results in a ‘race to the bottom’ in which everyone is a loser in the long run. In the relocation scenario, this can lead to disaffected talent who may leave to join the competition.
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This represents a real challenge for service providers in the relocation and global mobility sector, as customers expect and demand better service at more competitive rates. The problem is that few companies understand where the value is added in the complex global relocation supply chain. This often results in employers cutting corners, to the detriment of their employees, and service providers investing in areas that, at best, are necessary but add no value, and, at worst, are wasteful and should be cut altogether. This is the conclusion that students from Kent Business School reached following their analysis of the relocation supply chain as part of their MSc in Value Chain Management, the results of which will be published in the autumn. Kent Business School is the only academic institution in the world teaching this discipline, which is so vital to supporting economic growth. The course is taught by academics from a variety of disciplines, all of whom are internationally recognised experts, and the content is informed by research undertaken within the Centre for Value Chain Research (www.kent. ac.uk/kbs/research/research-centres/cvcr/).
Strengthening the chain Value Chain Analysis (VCA) is a diagnostic process designed to identify a chain’s strengths and weaknesses and highlight key areas for improvement, with the aim of making each
member of the chain, and the chain as a whole, more competitive. It begins with the final consumer – the relocatee, expatriate or international assignee – and determines what is important to them in the relocation process – that is, what they value. This is a real blind spot for most companies, with service providers perceiving what they do as adding value, and managers perceiving the very same things as targets for cost cutting – a view that drives the business and procurement departments. HR is often caught in the middle, understanding the value but without the metrics to prove its case. For those service providers whose activities are necessary but do not add value in the eyes of the consumer, the focus should be on increasing the efficiency of existing operations and finding new services to offer that do add value. For those who provide services that the consumer values, the last thing they should be doing is cutting costs in their delivery and development. Rather, they need to up the ante on their marketing communications, to reinforce the perceived value of the service they are offering. For managers – the gatekeepers of success and drivers of value creation and efficiency gains – systematic cost reduction without consideration of the impact on relocatees (in terms of their satisfaction and ability to perform their role) can result in short-term budget savings but longerterm loss of employee commitment and, ultimately, reduced levels of their own customer service and satisfaction.
The reality is that employees, like consumers, are heterogeneous – they have different values, and value different things – which is why effective market segmentation and service differentiation are so important as a starting point in the pursuit of sustainable competitive advantage. The identification of perceived value from the consumer’s perspective enables companies to identify where value is added in the supply chain or service delivery process and determine the appropriate resource allocation. The effective flow of information between service providers, facilitated through collaborative trading relationships, is a critical success factor, and can be assessed through surveys and interviews with key stakeholders in the supply chain/ service delivery process. The resulting diagnosis maps the service flow, information flow and relationship strength from beginning to end, highlighting, along the way, areas for improvement. The methodology is taught as part of the MSc in Value Chain Management and applied to a live supply chain, with the aid of a facilitator or champion. Previous projects have looked at the supply chains for mangoes, from Queensland to UK supermarkets, the maintenance of railway carriages, potted plants, and the delivery of short breaks for families with disabled children. This year, we have been looking at the complex world of global relocation, with the support of Fiona Murchie and the Re:locate team. The students have completed their data collection and presented their initial findings, and
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are now designing the improvement projects. The results will be presented in the autumn via a number of Re:locate media channels. In the meantime, we are widening the pilot study. Until 31 July, the Re:locate website will be hosting two global surveys, one for assignees and one for businesses. We would like to encourage as many organisations as possible to participate, on both the corporate and supplier side. Please also encourage your employee and expatriate community to take part. The more global information we have, the more market intelligence we can feed back, which will help promote the
success of global mobility and the growth of your business. The data will be analysed by me, and the key findings will be reported exclusively by Re:locate. For further details, please contact Andrew Fearne at Kent Business School (email@example.com) or Fiona Murchie at Re:locate (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Take part in the surveys at
Relocation value chain: initial diagnostics of information flows and relationships Information Services
Tax Transport To Transport Within
By Kent Business School postgraduate students, summer 2014
34 | Re:locate | Summer 2014
KEY Strong relationships Basic relationships Weak relationships One Way Flow 2 Way Flow
SECTION HEADING EUROPE
EUROPE & THE UK The post-election political landscape Following the recent EU parliamentary elections, the startling rise of anti-EU parties has been preoccupying the politicians and Brussels bureaucrats. David Sapsted reports.
n the UK, France and Denmark, right-of-centre anti-immigration parties topped the recent EU parliamentary polls. In Greece, the hard-left Syriza movement, which opposes EU-enforced austerity measures, took top spot, while the Eurosceptic Five Star movement came second in Italy Even in Germany, which remains the most avowedly proEU nation, the Eurosceptic Alternatives won seven seats. In fact, although Eurosceptics have doubled their representation in the European Parliament, the make-up of the Strasbourg assembly will remain firmly in the hands of pro-European centre-right and centre-left groupings. But in terms of national politics, the results could have far-reaching ramifications as mainstream parties attempt to come up with their own anti-immigration, anti-Brussels legislation in a bid to win back the votes they have lost. This, though, could be a mistake, according to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who told the BBC that it was time to make the case for Europe more loudly and “confront and expose … reactionary forces” such as the UK Independence Party and the National Front in France. “We are confronted by what I think are these very reactionary forces. We have to take on and expose the fact these parties have no actual solutions to the problem of the 21st century,” he said. Mr Blair said that Europe had to “get away from this notion that the whole purpose is to diminish the power
of the nation state, and recognise that Europe works best if nation states come together and cooperate on matters where they need the collective weight of Europe to prevail”. On immigration, he said, “You have to deal with those parts of the immigrant community who are rejecting the idea of integrating into the mainstream. However, to allow that to trend into anti-immigrant feeling is, in my view, a huge mistake. “You look a little bit beneath that UKIP façade and you see something, in my view, pretty nasty and unpleasant. You take London: what a great capital city. Why is it a great capital city? Precisely because it has got a mix of different people. “By all means have rules and controls, but the idea that the problems of Britain are about immigrants is a backward and regressive step. I think we should contend every inch of that argument.” However, a Downing Street spokesman said that current UK Prime Minister David Cameron had been telling fellow European leaders that they must “heed the views expressed at the ballot box that the EU needs to change and to show it cannot be business as usual”.
For Europe news and articles, visit
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EuRA on trend t is interesting to see that what was once a European event now attracts members from as far afield as Africa, Brazil, India and China, in addition to the USA and Australia. EuRA’s members include relocation service providers from 86 countries. This reflects the changing nature of relocation, the drive for growth globally, and the importance of emerging markets in the relocation picture. With a theme of ‘diversify, specialise, personalise’, the association’s latest conference responded to the challenge of the times and showed its commitment to change and innovation.
As well as being aware of oneself as a cultural being, there is a need to apply cultural knowledge and practise cultural skills, not to mention understanding the work dynamic in the office or manufacturing plant. This is the reality that DSPs have to be aware of when they are supporting an international assignee, which is why EuRA places so much emphasis on the value of cultural intelligence in its training. EuRA is known for its training and quality assurance accreditation. The Managing International Mobility training programme, delivered via a mixture of online and face-to-face modules, is highly regarded within the industry. Via Oxford Brookes University, EuRA also offers an online programme in intercultural coaching skills. It is these initiatives, plus the EuRA Global Quality Seal, which help to give members the tools they need to meet the challenges of global growth.
Culture the key to success
Finding innovative solutions
In the world of relocation, there is no room for cultural ignorance, as Dean Foster, of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions, pointed out. A cultural expert with many years’ experience of operating in the global mobility environment, he presented a lively session on intercultural support for the 21st century. The fast-moving world he described is the challenging environment in which EuRA members operate across continents. Today, the clients supported by DSPs work in virtual multicultural teams. When they go on international assignment, they expect to move seamlessly between China, Dubai and Amsterdam, and to maintain their working relationships and personal networks across borders. They have their own unique personal and family issues, as well as professional needs. Dean Foster sketched out a world in which those going on assignment had to be mindful of cultural competences. In their professional roles as international players, assignees are required to be global managers, which demands a juggling act: balancing goals and achievements, implementing global strategies, and being masters of both people-management skills and the bottom line. They are often answerable to many bosses – perhaps a faraway HQ as well as their local office. Very often, they need to acquire new skills.
A fascinating session highlighted how the chameleon-like DSP is able to diversify to cope with changing markets. The economic climate in Europe since the recession has thrown up some innovative solutions. Michele Par-Pereg, of RelocateYourself, described how using technology had brought a new way of working with a traditional market. She had been encouraged by the response from corporate HR, who were receptive to innovations that helped them to deal with new or growing trends such as lump-sum payments. Isabel Cudell, of Moving-ON, based in Portugal, described how her organisation had diversified into the growing student market. By incorporating technology, they had been able to deliver a budget service that capitalised on their considerable knowledge of property sourcing and tenancy management, and had come up with an innovative solution to meet the needs of admissions teams with a housing problem. The art of personalising your service and putting yourself at the heart of your marketing strategy was powerfully portrayed by a truly global panel. Ira Lemmetyiinen, of Antares Relocation, in Spain, Marta Roff, of Maputo, based in Mozambique, Kim Ngoc, of DSP Relocations Asia, and Beverly Sunn, of Asia Pacific Properties, provided engaging insights into how they had grown their businesses.
Attended by a record number of delegates – 670, from over 50 countries – this year’s EuRA conference was held in Edinburgh.
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NEWS & ANALYSIS
Keep up with daily news on relocatemagazine.com
Relocation survey highlights role of families
Family plays an increasingly pivotal role in the success, or otherwise, of a job transfer, according to Cartus Corporation’s 2014 Trends in Global Relocation: Global Mobility Policy and Practices survey of international mobility managers. ‘Inability of the family to adjust’ was the second-most-cited reason for assignment failure, just behind ‘changing business conditions’. Even before a move, the importance of family should not be underestimated: 76 per cent of respondents rated family or personal circumstances as the top reason for employees to refuse relocation assignments. Stress can also occur in split-family situations, when the assignee and family live in different locations during the assignment.
Said William Sheridan, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, “As multinational corporations increase their assignments to challenging locations in areas such as Africa, China, the Middle East, South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent, we see more unaccompanied assignees or those who do not have young dependants, due to the lack of social amenities available there.” The top three mobility challenges identified by the survey were cost control, overall compliance and immigration. The majority of transferees were in the 40+ age group, “supplanting a younger population that was more prominent in 2010,” according to Cartus.
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Powerhouses of the future The MINT countries are set to be the economic powerhouses of the future – but what is it that makes them special? David Hollins, regional general manager of Crown Relocations, explains. One of the key drivers behind the economic potential of the MINT countries is their emerging demographics. In the coming decade or two, all four will see a significant increase in working-age population, as well as potentially double-digit growth. Geography is also important. All the MINTs are close to key global trading locations. Mexico is particularly well positioned, being between North and Latin America. The potential of the MINTs is great. One option could
be for the countries to establish their own political and economic group in much the same way as the BRICs did ten to 15 years ago.
Similarly, the challenges in each relate to governance and infrastructure. However, it’s quite possible that these can be overcome by developing their populations through education.
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Respondents were very aware of the importance of nurturing and retaining top talent, with 79 per cent expecting the fastest-growing assignment type over the next two years to be developmental.
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AWA R D S SPECIAL This year’s Re:locate Awards were bigger and better than ever! Find out what makes a winner – and how this year’s special guest entertainer and host made mobility magic …
Contents 42 Technological Innovation in Relocation 43 Best Managing or Growing Talent Initiative 44 Inspirational HR Team of the Year 46 Relocation Service Provider of the Year 48 Global Relocation Service Provider of the Year 49 Best HR & Supplier Strategy or Team 50 Best Property Provider or Solution 51 Financial Support & Innovation 52 Immigration Team of the Year 53 Global Health & Wellness 54 Excellence in Employee & Family Support 56 Best International Destination Services Provider 57 Relocation Personality of the Year
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he winners of the Re:locate Awards 2013/14, which recognise and reward talent from across the relocation and global mobility spectrum, were announced and presented with their trophies at a special black-tie event held in May at the Institute of Directors, in London’s Pall Mall. In a year that saw the highest-ever overall standard and a huge increase in overseas entries, this sparkling event was the social and networking highlight for everyone involved in relocation, as HR professionals and suppliers from across the industry came together to celebrate excellence in this diverse and increasingly high-profile field. Nearly 200 guests networked the night away as they awaited the announcement of the winners. Between them, the 12 awards recognised individuals, teams, policy and innovation, with a choice of categories for HR and service providers. The high-calibre shortlist reflected the many different types and sizes of organisation involved in relocation. Speaking before the gala dinner, Fiona Murchie, managing editor of Re:locate, said, “With increasing
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globalisation, the need for mobility is also growing, so it’s no surprise that this year saw hot competition across all categories and continued growth in international entries. “Our four new categories for 2013/14, which covered the key areas of immigration, financial support, health and talent, were very well supported.” She added, “It’s clear that, when compiling their submissions, many entrants took inspiration from the judges’ comments on previous years’ winners and our series of awards newsletters and webinars. This is resulting in a year-on-year rise in standards, which explains why these awards have become the ultimate recognition of excellence in all aspects of relocation, in the UK and around the world.”
THE EVENING UNFOLDS … Setting the scene for the celebrations was a champagne reception in the elegant Waterloo Room, accompanied by jazz from the Robert Reid Trio. Host and guest speaker John Simonett joined guests to celebrate success and good practice in all aspects of
relocation. Having enjoyed a varied career as psychologist, sportsman, businessman and magician, he was perfectly placed to reflect and reinforce Re:locate’s key themes of engagement, creativity and innovation, motivation, and making connections, which he did through an after-dinner speech that entertained and informed in equal measure, skilfully combining the latest thinking from neuroscience and psychology with real-world business applications. And, as a Gold Star member of the Inner Magic Circle, John Simonett was able to make some very special mobility magic through feats of memory and clever illusions which had many guests still asking “How on earth did he do that?” some days after the event.
MOBILITY ‘SHOULD TOP BUSINESS AGENDA’ In her introduction to the awards presentation, which was hosted by John Simonett, Fiona Murchie highlighted the importance of HR and global mobility professionals working together to shape the future and deliver better working lives and relocation experiences, for the benefit of the people they moved, business, the economy and wider society. Pointing out that the effects of global growth would be felt by all organisations, not just those currently doing business in emerging markets, she highlighted some of today’s hottest business topics. These included women’s role in business and leadership, managing the new generation
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of relocatees (see technology feature, p10)), and the latest up-and-coming relocation destinations. Fiona Murchie emphasised the role of the Re:locate media in helping to solve the people management issues that were at the top of companies’ agendas globally, and to inform, support, and help businesses to make connections and grow. “We are all operating in a growing area in a niche market,” she concluded. “It’s key to your success to stay informed of the wider issues and use your voice to communicate with the wider business world. “Start the conversations tonight, and let’s put global mobility issues at the top of the business agenda, where they should be.”
Annie Panton received a special award for the major contribution she had made to the relocation profession in the UK over the last 25 years. Annie has held a senior post at Black Horse Relocation, worked in relocation as a project manager, trainer, mentor, and business consultant, and contributed to the industry by designing and delivering training initiatives via the ARP and its EARP. Congratulations, Annie!
S UP P ORT ED BY:
THE RELOCATION USERS GROUP
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SECTIONAWARDS Re:locate HEADING
TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION IN RELOCATION
n a category that was, as always, hotly contested, highprofile Big Four professional services firm Deloitte took the technology award for its Global Employer Services (GES) Data Analytics for Mobility system. The technology is underpinned by a 14-strong team that supports the firm’s GES Tax Practice of 700 employees in the UK. Explaining the thinking behind the development of Data Analytics, partner Scott McCormick points out that mobility leaders typically have poor access to reliable, insightful information related to their mobility programmes. Decisions are based on inaccurate data, and departments spend considerable amounts of time creating limited, but time-intensive, management information for business units. “Our analytics and reporting tools enable on-demand reporting based on far higher levels of integrated, accurate assignment data, often using data which has been captured by Deloitte for other purposes – for example, in the provision of payroll or tax services,” continues Mr McCormick. “This allows leaders to access, understand and interpret their programmes, ultimately enabling them to improve return on investment in internationally mobile employees. We save clients significant management time wasted on generating individual Excel-based reporting.” Describing Data Analytics as “very powerful in aiding a business to question its key planning issues on ROI”, the awards judges highlighted the system’s role in enabling HR to have a more strategic and financial discussion with the business. They added, “This is a valuable tool in running the expat programme in the business entity context. Finance directors require this information for all aspects of their
business planning and assessment, and this tool will now apply the same criteria to the mobility programme.” The uses of Data Analytics are numerous, Scott McCormick points out. They include everything from informing the design of a strategic change programme, through enabling different parts of the business to take ownership of their role in the mobility cycle, to optimising processes. The assignee lifecycle can be followed on everything from a general to an individual level, allowing intervention in cases where failure is likely, and offering potential to improve the assignee experience. Data security is built in. Says Mr McCormick, “Ondemand reporting and analytics create efficiency in production of management reporting by distributing access to data based on a security model which grants permissions based on role.” The launch of its analytics practice nearly three years ago has benefited Deloitte as well as its clients, by enabling it to create a new career path for creative and technologyfocused employees in more than 14 markets globally, as well as the UK. This aids recruitment in a crowded graduate and GES talent market. Scott McCormick says, “We are delighted to be recognised by Re:locate as innovators in technology. The award is fantastic recognition of a strategic move by Deloitte into the creation of market-leading analytics tools for mobility and reward professionals around the globe, and provides us with significant value in reaching out to new clients and new opportunities.” www.deloitte.com
Brookfield Global Relocation Services
Cornerstone Relocation Group
Peregrine Immigration Management
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Consider It Done London
BEST MANAGING OR GROWING TALENT INITIATIVE
f global mobility is all about optimum talent deployment for maximum return on investment, it’s fitting that the first winner of this new award, by building a talent pipeline and growing its business, shows how the mobility sector is living its values. Global relocation services provider Cartus’s EMEA internship programme is run from Geneva, London and Swindon. In Cartus’s two UK bases, the programme is a partnership between the company and the University of the West of England. Its aim is to raise the profile of opportunities in the sector among undergraduates, and to nurture the next generation of relocation professionals. Since the first programme, in 2012, 18 students – eight in 2012, and five in both 2013 and 2014 – have taken up paid internships with Cartus. The programme has already translated into a permanent full-time role for a member of the class of 2012, and, inspired by their experiences in 2013, two more interns have signalled their ongoing interest in the sector, seeking a place on the 2014 programme. By linking new skills and talent to the business, the programme is delivering clear financial and resource benefits, too. Designed, coordinated and led by Cartus’s EMEA Learning and Development team, the programme is underpinned by support at senior leader level. In this way, its strategic relevance, as well as accountability for performance, are woven into, and cascaded across, the business.
To maximise returns for the business and ensure interns receive high-quality insight and experience of what Cartus and a career in relocation can offer, interns are posted to teams for specific projects. An important added benefit is that this frees up assignee-facing teams during the busy summer months to focus fully on client support. One particularly significant example of the return afforded by Cartus’s approach is a project by the intern posted to the supply chain management team. Tasked with reviewing the team’s referral database and indentifying potential opportunities, the intern was able to identify new referrals and improve the process for the future. Overall, the judges were impressed by the successful growth of the programme, commending it for being an interesting example of talent development which introduced new ways of working and clearly linked to benefits for assignees, interns and Cartus. They added, “The interns are given satisfying work, and they clearly flourish and enjoy their roles, as they return to join the company. This suggests an effective programme that gives realistic previews of the world of a relocation consultant.” Ian Payne, managing director and executive vicepresident of Cartus, said, “I am delighted by the success of the programme so far. When we set out, we wanted our intern programme to bring vital support to Cartus teams over the busy summer season. As a company, we also wanted to contribute something to employment opportunities for young people.” www.cartus.com
Shortlisted Newland Chase
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INSPIRATIONAL HR TEAM OF THE YEAR
ING Investment Management India
NG Investment Management India’s award-winning People First initiative caught the attention of Re:locate last year, when the company’s VP and head of HR and communications, Rajesh Manik, spoke at an emerging markets conference about the potential for HR to add value. Besides its transactional role, HR is expected by boards and CEOs to drive transformational initiatives and offer a strategic perspective, Mr Manik said. He spoke passionately about exploring new avenues to raise the bar of HR value and delivery, building organisational themes, and working on innovative HR concepts and practices. Under his leadership, the HR team of two clearly rose to the challenge of making ING India’s Best Place to Work, at a time when employee satisfaction and attrition were challenges in an industry that needed high-knowledge workers in a competitive environment. This goal was achieved in 2012, after less than two years. In his role, Mr Manik came up with a winning formula for building engagement across the workforce. ING’s people-focused initiative was described by the judges as “a fascinating case study addressing employee engagement in a challenging cultural context”. The initiative to become an employer of choice and India’s Best Place to Work, they said, demonstrated a massive team effort and investment in people, with inspiring communications and a comprehensive benefits programme. The team had also addressed employee development. All this was set within the dynamic environment of changing lifestyles and technology. Sponsor
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Overall, the panel found, this was an excellent example of what HR teams could achieve in an international context. The ING team’s first step was to look at best-practice examples of employee engagement from around the world and compile the findings into an employee engagement model. Experts were brought in to explain the key engagement drivers exhibited by the best employers globally. Employees were then grouped into nine teams from across functions and locations, based on the nine top engagement drivers. A leader from junior or middle management was chosen for each team, and a Best Place to Work (BPW) management committee was set up. While the initiative was driven from the top, with the leadership team acting as mentors and playing an essential role in building engagement and retention, it was, says Rajesh Manik, “an all-out people initiative led by employees, in partnership with HR and management”. To embed innovative practices into HR initiatives, the engagement drivers were aligned with nine core people practices. HR, with the management and BPW teams, worked to transform the nine HR practices throughout the employee lifecycle. Initiatives now impact not only employees, but also their families. Results include employees being inspired to participate in business strategy, fitness and lifestyle changes, employee development, an enhanced benefits programme, and corporate social responsibility programmes, as well as happy customers, and, of course, the Best Place to Work accolade.
Re:locate SECTION AWARDSHEADING WINNER
Employee relocation without the culture shock. We’re already immersed in your next emerging market. Cartus is already at home in up-and-coming locales where businesses are finding new footholds. Because it’s important for your assignee to arrive with their feet on the ground, we’re their trusted guide for housing, schooling, and transportation. And that’s just for starters, We also provide expert language and cultural training to connect them with their new communities more quickly. If you’re looking for information on new emerging markets, we probably already have what you need. Take a look at our videos and other tools by scanning the code below, or emailing us at email@example.com.
Want your assignee to succeed in emerging markets? Scan now. www.cartus.com | connect with us ©2014 Cartus Corporation. All rights reserved.
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SECTIONAWARDS Re:locate HEADING
RELOCATION SERVICE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR
IPM Global Mobility
PM Global Mobility impressed the judges with a detailed and informative entry showcasing a niche, all-round service from a quality, value-for-money independent specialist provider. Led by managing director Alan Bentley, IPM has established an offering that bridges consulting services and practical aspects of assignment remuneration, payroll, taxation and benefits, assignment management and vendor management services, including immigration and destination services, freight, culture and language training. The company provides relocation support to a range of organisations and their assignees. As well as multinationals with an established global workforce, clients include organisations expanding into overseas locations or experiencing a surge in global mobility from emerging markets. Long-term relationships are central to its success, as is ongoing investment in training and development. IPM now has a subsidiary company in Denmark to service its expanding Scandinavian client base, and an office in Aberdeen that supports oil and gas industry clients. Its recently opened London office serves organisations headquartered in the capital. What makes IPM a winner? The judges highlighted innovation, teamwork, service, use of resources, and evidence of an ethos of inclusion in a flat structure, as well as the passion, pride and loyalty of the staff. Key to innovation, they said, was investment in Cloud technology, which enables IPM’s consultants to provide quality service while improving efficiencies and productivity.
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Another notable innovation was helping one client to limit the impact of tax and make substantial savings by paying benefits such as housing rentals direct to the supplier, rather than to the employee. To maintain service-level agreements and provide consistency, a senior IPM staff member is assigned to each client, and regular face-to-face review meetings are held. Ongoing client research provides the feedback necessary to ensure that service levels are met and KPIs maintained. Operations teams are trained across the client portfolio, so they can act as a complete resource, whether to assist in times of high volume or to achieve ongoing objectives. An out-of-hours service is provided at no extra charge. To reduce waste, IPM has set up an internal resources management committee, which ensures that new initiatives are created, to the benefit of the company, its clients, and the wider world. It has received Bronze, Silver and Green Environmental Awards. IPM does not intend to rest on its laurels. It recently completed the government-sponsored Growth Accelerator programme and launched a three-year business strategy to support its ambitious growth plans. Of the benefits of entering the Re:locate Awards, Alan Bentley says, “The award programme has allowed us to reflect on the progress we’ve made and recognise how far we’ve developed. It’s provided us with a showcase for our services and enabled us to demonstrate how our culture of outstanding customer service adds real value.” www.ipmglobalmobility.com
Shortlisted Cornerstone Relocation Group
Mobility Services International
Interdean Relocation Services
TTA Relocation Management Consulting
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Corporate Accommodation Solutions
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GLOBAL RELOCATION SERVICE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR
Brookfield Global Relocation Services
n their entry statement, the Brookfield team emphasised that they strove to understand clients’ relocation needs and facilitate a seamless move for them and their families, to create mutually advantageous partnerships. The company prides itself on providing the personal touch in an industry that can be isolating, seeing its clients and their employees as an extension of itself and its success. This approach seems to be working. The awards judges praised Brookfield’s focus on high-quality delivery, consistency, and creating cost savings for clients, and its impressive 98 per cent client retention and 95 client satisfaction ratings. Ensuring cost-efficiency for clients brings benefits for all concerned and is a major driver. The entry cited a case study where centralised expenses payment had resulted in substantial savings for a biotechnology company. Brookfield works to maximise revenue share by creating cost savings for its clients, suppliers and itself through increased use of its supply chain. Teamwork and innovative solutions to clients’ business were demonstrated when one client needed to move more than 30 assignees within three months, in order to set up a new business division. However, the client’s HR team was not large enough to offer its full attention to all the new assignees. Responding to the challenge, Brookfield strengthened the team with three of its own consultants, who operated from the client’s office. Brookfield worked, both internally and with the client, to achieve the successful relocation of all the employees. Sponsor
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High on Brookfield’s agenda is reduction of risk for clients. This is well demonstrated through presentations and a range of communications that convey the message about privacy, IT security, anti-corruption and managing compliance not only to their own clients but to the industry as a whole, and, perhaps more importantly, to the wider corporate community. Companies new to doing business in challenging locations are the ones which benefit most from increased awareness of risk and compliance issues. Brookfield’s education of providers within the supply chain, its rolling out of bestpractice models across the industry, and its support of relocation industry bodies are all part of the ethos. Thought leadership is high on the agenda,and the work behind its annual Global Mobility Trends Survey , now in its 19th year, did not go unrecognised by the judges. As well as providing much-needed data covering demographics and destinations, the analysis of changing policy and benefits and recording of subtle policy changes all help to chart the bigger mobility picture, to the benefit of all. In addition, the expert knowledge of Brookfield’s client services team is shared with wider audiences in a range of resources that promote best practice and raise awareness of the global mobility industry. “We are thrilled to have the visibility this award provides, in the EMEA region and worldwide,” said Brookfield’s Mike Gorski, “and our employees have been invigorated through knowing their hard efforts are being acknowledged and appreciated worldwide.” www.brookfieldgrs.com
Shortlisted Cornerstone Relocation Group
Mobility Services International
Interdean Relocation Services
BEST HR & SUPPLIER STRATEGY OR TEAM
Crown World Mobility and Novartis Pharma
n an inspiring example of partnership and outsourcing excellence, Crown World Mobility and Novartis Pharma’s implementation of a new global mobility strategy won them the coveted award for Best HR & Supplier Strategy or Team. The entry described how Crown and the global mobility team at Novartis transformed the mobility offering on time and to budget, delivering significant service enhancements for assignees. Crown already had a relationship of trust with the Baselheadquartered global pharmaceutical firm, built over ten years in three countries. However, Novartis’s new approach to global mobility saw Crown greatly extend the scope of its partnership to become the provider for 2,500–3,000 Novartis employees annually across 140 countries. Launching a new global mobility strategy within two months and significantly expanding the delivery partnership was clearly a challenge, not least given the cross-border regulatory and compliance requirements. The two teams achieved their goal by working seamlessly together, communicating closely, and continuing to build trust. Crown undertook a major recruitment drive and joint training exercise to establish new service centres in Connecticut and Singapore. It also doubled the size of its Basel centre and created a new team in Hong Kong dedicated to expenses management. Each of these supports Novartis’s new strategy aimed at achieving global compliance, total cost capture, reduced internal labour charges, and reallocation of costs back to local entities.
“Our global mobility team has had the attention of, and access to, senior levels of Crown staff, and the team has been adaptable to our needs and processes,” said Jane Harris, head of global mobility services at Novartis. “The regional teams bend over backwards to work as an extension of our team, and the work to date has been really impressive.” In what the judges praised as a diligent and well-written entry, Crown described how it also reviewed Novartis’s existing vendors and suppliers, evaluated costs and implemented new partnerships to provide additional value and control costs. This successful new partnership is a winner, too, among assignees, with destination service provision satisfaction rates of 96 per cent. Novartis’s new assignee expenses procedure, developed by Crown, is a further example of excellent service provision. Assignees now receive reimbursements one to two weeks after submitting claims – an improvement on the previous two months. Commented the judges, “This entry shows a major challenge in terms of the scope of the involvement with the client company increasing dramatically … It also shows excellent teamwork, as the two organisations worked together to manage the huge increase in volume of work with successful outcomes within a very short period.” Shân Norman, Crown’s VP of client services, says, “We are delighted to have won this award and to be recognised from within the industry as a provider that works so closely and effectively with our clients.” www.crownworldmobility.com
Shortlisted AgustaWestland and Interdean Definitive Immigration Services Reckitt Benckiser and Weichert Workforce Mobility
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BEST PROPERTY PROVIDER OR SOLUTION
he judges described serviced apartment provider Skyline Worldwide as “a new company that has doubled in size, offering a first-class service, with innovation and creativity as its core values”. Skyline’s entry, they said, was bright and breezy, full of energy, with very good supporting material. They praised the company’s attitude to its staff, which it viewed as assets, ensuring product knowledge, fast delivery and a caring approach. Launched in 2009, Skyline was well placed to take advantage of changes in corporate business culture when budgets were cut and spending on travel was falling. It could offer a high-end product at attractive prices, thanks, in part, to low overheads and carefully limited operational costs. This, believes Sabrina Carparelli, head of sales for EMEA, is the key difference between Skyline and its competitors, and the reason for its impressive growth. Skyline’s submission demonstrated the company’s innovative and creative approach through a case study on a Fortune 500 client specialising in security software. Historically, the client’s HR, travel and global mobility departments had managed their own accommodation programmes. Skyline centralised the accommodation requirement and initiated a unique tool, SkyLINK, which provided a single, easy-access platform for bookings. The system enables real-time reporting and allows corporate HQ to track its mobile workforce. This was a solution that ticked all the boxes for an organisation with a wide-ranging business, a complex structure, high volumes of employee moves, and varied accommodation needs. Shortlisted Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living Onefinestay The Apartment Service
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Cutting costs while retaining the quality of its offering is always high on Skyline’s agenda. When it looked as if a long-term financial-sector client would have to stop using serviced apartments because of increased immigration costs, Skyline was able to offer nine two-bedroomed apartments on a yearly basis at reduced rates, saving the client 50 per cent and providing the required accommodation. Says Sabrina Carparelli, “We focus on the relationship with our clients, and on long-term partnerships. That is how we are able to deliver high-value business based on trust and quality of service and delivery.” At a time when young people are keen to gain work experience, it is encouraging to see an organisation that is willing to impart career-enhancing knowledge and skills. Skyline operates its own internship programme in areas such as finance, marketing and operations. Three students are already benefiting from the scheme, and there are plans to develop it further. Skyline is clearly committed to investing in corporate and social responsibility – another aspect of its entry that impressed the judges. Learning-disabled and disadvantaged children in Birmingham have benefited from its initiatives, and the company, whose owners are Brazilian, also supports Action for Brazil’s Children. Skyline, Sabrina Carparelli says, has set its sights on creating a truly modern and holistic business, where commercial gains and local community benefits need not be mutually exclusive. www.liveskyline.com
FINANCIAL SUPPORT & INNOVATION
ommercial foreign exchange provider Halo Financial scooped the award for suppliers of specialist financial support – one of four new categories. Financial issues are a key concern for relocating employees and their families, as well as corporate clients. The judges found that, in addition to giving a good account of the services Halo provided and including very positive customer feedback, the team had carefully considered how they could make the business more efficient. They added, “Halo takes a thought leadership role via blogs and articles, and seems to have grown rapidly over a short period.” Founded in 2005 by Gavin Herridge and David Johnson with the aim of changing the impersonal nature of the foreign exchange (FX) market, Halo offers a comprehensive range of services to individuals and businesses. Areas of knowledge and experience include overseas property, emigration currency planning and exchange services, currency audits, risk management solutions, and money transfers. Halo’s head of marketing, Mark Ram, emphasises the company’s commitment to a personalised approach that understands the client’s needs, simplifies the seemingly complex FX market, and provides bespoke solutions, maximising savings in currency transactions and boosting bottom-line outcome. This, he says, has helped both individuals and businesses with relocation and overseas transactions. Each client’s currency exposure, timeframe, risk profie, view of the market, and cash flow are taken into account. Halo’s team keeps clients informed of market fluctuations and rates, even after their initial transaction is complete.
Clients can opt to receive daily currency insights, with reports interpreting the latest economic data and global events affecting the FX market. They can give feedback and earn rewards for repeat custom through the Halo Ambassador Programme. Halo has built relationships across different sectors, including overseas property. Mark Ram explains that it exceeds clients’ expectations by: staying in touch and advising them on the best time to trade – or, crucially, when not to; informing them of likely changes in the market, whether in their favour or against it, thus helping them to maximise returns when making money transfers; and telling them of preferential rates offered by partner organisations on a range of services. The company has positioned itself as a thought leader on the foreign currency implications of overseas expansion and relocation, founding director David Johnson’s articles having featured in a variety of international business and financial publications. This recipe seems to be working. In 2013, Halo exceeded its target of 200 positive reviews on feefo.com, and received a top customer-service rating. It was awarded Gold Trusted Merchant status in January. Following the awards presentation, Gavin Herridge commented, “Winning a Re:locate award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our team. We know that finance can be a daunting topic for many, so we aim to make the process of foreign exchange easy to understand.” www.halofinancial.com
Shortlisted ExpatRide International Global Tax Network
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IMMIGRATION TEAM OF THE YEAR
Smith Stone Walters
s awareness of the challenges employers face when dealing with immigration and visa issues grows, immigration rises ever higher on the global mobility agenda. Our first winner of this new category, Smith Stone Walters (SSW), was established in 2001 and is now the largest UK inbound immigration consultancy, with a team of 47 based in the key international locations of New York, Hong Kong and Mumbai, as well as the UK. The judges commended the company for “a confident and well-crafted entry that covers a range of issues, showing realism and excellent service delivery through examples and testimonials that bring everyday stories to life”. They praised the team’s understanding of the role of immigration within relocation, demonstrated through helpful, practical examples and reinforced by impressive client references. SSW provides end-to-end UK immigration management for some of the world’s largest corporations. It also supports a number of small start-ups establishing operations in the UK. Services are bespoke, and a specialist compliance team helps clients meet sponsorship obligations. Director James Walters says, “Our approach of staffing global offices with UK immigration experts has raised the client service bar considerably, and is an innovation unmatched by any of our competitors. We have employees who can converse in 18 languages, and our global offices allow us to operate across different time zones.” Mr Walters point outs out that, in addition to immigration expertise, many SSW employees have experience of working
in related areas, including relocation, HR and the Home Office. Indeed, he says, it is the staff who are the firm’s greatest asset. They include caseworkers who understand the stresses of relocating to a foreign country and so can empathise with clients and offer assistance from a unique vantage point. A happy assignee, James Walters believes, means a happy employer, as provision of excellent immigration services reflects well on corporate clients within their organisations. The immigration landscape is constantly evolving, so service providers must be agile and adaptable. Mr Walters cites the example of an increase in the number of applicants requiring biometric appointments. SSW ensured it could continue to obtain in-person fast-track appointments for its clients by introducing new internal processes and doubling the number of its representatives. Technology also has a role. Says James Walters, “The implementation of our bespoke IT solution, Smarter Immigration Manager, is an example of how using technology can save time. It offers real-time information and the facility to upload documents securely, track visa application status, and retrieve information throughout the duration of an international assignment.” Of SSW’s win, Mr Walters adds, “We are proud to be chosen as the inaugural winners of this category, beating a number of other first-rate immigration companies. “This award goes a long way to recognising our employees’ professionalism, dedication and positive, can-do attitude.” www.smithstonewalters.com
Shortlisted Laura Devine Solicitors
Mobility Services International
Pearl Law Group
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GLOBAL HEALTH & WELLNESS
global provider of medical, security and travel assistance services wowed the judges with an innovative health screening programme showcased by what a panel member described as “one of the best entries I have judged since the inception of the awards”. International Medical Screening, from Healix International (see health feature, p18), allows employers to assess the health risks facing their global workforce and any relocating dependants, and ensure that they are suitably prepared before going on assignment abroad. The judges found that the programme made a valuable contribution to maintaining the wellbeing of assignees and supporting their healthcare provision. Group marketing director Janice Buffett explains, “Evaluating health risks associated with sending an employee overseas has historically involved costly medical examinations by doctors who generally lack an international perspective and an understanding of the occupations involved. “By combining our international medical risk assessment software with the knowledge and expertise of a team of doctors and nurses who all have extensive experience of international medicine, we have been able to develop a unique and innovative service for employers relocating employees and their families abroad. “We can assess medical risks in terms of the role being performed, the destination location and length of stay, the quality of local healthcare, and the family unit as a whole.” Screening can help employers to understand the potential medical costs associated with assignments in high-cost or
high-risk locations, so they can make informed decisions about staff deployment. It supports them in their duty of care by ensuring that employees and their families are well prepared for assignments overseas, and not placed at unreasonable health risk. Healix provides around 12 million screenings a year to clients that include the British and New Zealand governments. Relocatees access the service online or by telephone. A sophisticated analytics programme assesses existing medical conditions, medical history and lifestyle factors. Where appropriate, automated clearance is given and the HR department notified. If health issues are identified, Healix’s medical personnel provide appropriate support. This can include ensuring that prescriptions fit the drug regimes of the new country, and addressing diet or allergy issues. Setting up the service was not without challenges, Ms Buffett points out. “We developed the concept by questioning the status quo. At times, we needed to be very educational when breaking down processes that had been ingrained within corporations.” The judges agreed, commenting that Healix had changed the way in which corporate wellbeing was handled. Delighted with this recognition, Janice Buffett says, “Winning this award shines a light on the innovative nature of our screening service and is a great accolade to our dedicated team of professionals working to ensure the wellbeing of our clients’ global workforces.” www.healix.com
Shortlisted Aetna International
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EXCELLENCE IN EMPLOYEE & FAMILY SUPPORT
Elite Executive Services
very Elite Executive Services consultant knows exactly what it’s like to undergo a relocation, because they have all gone through the process themselves. According to the judges, this high-calibre submission exuded a unique understanding of family needs and a commitment to working flexibly (often outside the normal working day), with a genuine empathy running through its core, largely owing to the previous experience of Elite staff. Elite was established by Kathy Nunn (see education feature, p58) to provide specialist services to both corporate and private clients making domestic and international moves in Australia, India, the UK, South East Asia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. The company’s truly end-to-end service stood out for the judges. Elite makes contact well before clients move to their new destination, and helps with every detail along the way. “Elite’s efforts are highly supportive of the family,” said one of the judges. “Elite has taken them across a significant threshold in their lives – a mark of personal and lasting development.” One aspect of the service that impressed the judges was the programme of networking events and socials provided for clients, which allow families to make friends and business contacts in their new destination. Kathy Nunn believes that this is also a great way of monitoring the company’s performance. “Assessing how someone has settled can be difficult,” says Ms Nunn, “but our free networking events give us a good opportunity to get a feel for this. These events vary from
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coffee mornings, to city tours, to attending a major event in the city, to meeting at a Farmer’s Market. They are a huge point of difference.” Elite has demonstrated its ability to move with the times. It has embraced the ways in which clients choose to communicate, and has evolved to meet their needs. Alongside developing an online Facebook community, it has developed a mobile app for Australia to support relocatees, who can now receive and manage information on any aspect of their relocation. The Elite team has worked together for many years, and the judges were impressed by its well-honed collaborative approach. Elite has developed a slick reporting system which ensures that each consultant and everyone in the office is clear about how each job is progressing. In fact, it has sought to go one step further by demonstrating commitment to new technology through the development of an online ‘tracker’ that enables the client to access progress reports. Clearly, the aim is to ensure that relocatees are productive in their roles as early as possible. Kathy Nunn is well aware that a failed relocation can cost up to five times salary, and understands the importance of a well-planned and supported relocation. “This award is highly sought-after, and it is a huge honour to have won it. For us, it means recognition of all the hard work our team put into looking after our assignees, and it is something which will continue to motivate and excite us for a long time to come.” www.eliteexecutiveservices.com.au
Shortlisted AIM Resources
Holland Park Tuition & Education Consultants
Brookfield Global Relocation Services
Management Mobility Consulting
Workforce Mobility Strategy. Optimised.
After a series of acquisitions, one of the world’s leading science companies wanted to optimise its global workforce mobility program. We helped elevate their game, building eﬃciency across continents, harmonising policies and identifying two million dollars in savings along the way. And while we can’t guarantee million dollar savings every time, we can promise to show you faster, easier and more cost-eﬀective ways to deploy key talent to drive your global business strategy, so that your company achieves more with every move you make.
weichertworkforcemobility.com | +44 (0) 1293 813810 relocatemagazine.com | 55
SECTIONAWARDS Re:locate HEADING
BEST INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION SERVICES PROVIDER
The Relocation Bureau Ireland
uring its 25 years of outstanding performance, the Relocation Bureau, which offers relocation and immigration services both into and out of Ireland, has supported thousands of assignees and their families from all corners of the globe. “A company that goes all out to solve issues and cares about its clients,” one judge remarked about this year’s winner of the coveted Best International Destination Services Provider award. The overriding feedback from the judging panel on the Relocation Bureau’s strong entry statement was the passion that shone through. “An enthusiastic and positive company offering great customer service,” commented one member. Staff have an average of ten years with the company, and many have experience of living overseas and have undergone the process of relocation themselves, making them acutely aware of the sensitivities necessary to assist and oversee this life-changing process for their clients. The team deals with everything from property, education, banking, visas and work permits to tracking down a lacrosse club for one Texan family making the move to Dublin. It was this personal touch that leapt out for the judges. In one standout example, a team member managed to turn a potentially volatile situation around, stepping in when a property agent became obstructive and rude during an already fragile relocation. “Our consultant realised that the pressure of the move to a new country with a young baby, together with meeting this difficult agent, was proving very stressful for the assignee’s wife,” explains managing director Francine O’Byrne. The
Shortlisted Elite Executive Services Management Mobility Consulting TTA Relocation Management Consulting
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consultant managed the delicate situation expertly, not only smoothing over the property transaction but also helping to create an atmosphere so calm and relaxed that the client even became excited about her relocation to Dublin. Back at the office, the Relocation Bureau runs a tight ship. A polished operation involving regular management reviews of all policies and quality management systems ensures that business goals and objectives are met. Clients and consultants alike are kept informed of the progress of every project through the use of central electronic records, newsletters, Facebook networking and a password-protected website. Francine O’Byrne believes that the company is well placed to face the evolving challenges ahead and, in particular, the growing requirement to meet the language needs of nonEnglish-speaking clients caused by the increasing number of international assignees moving to Ireland. “We now offer clients and assignees the choice of letting agreements translated into a selection of languages,” she explains. “This really helps to speed up the process, particularly when HR or Legal are involved in the signing.” What does winning the award mean to the team? “All the hard work of providing support to our clients is being acknowledged at an international level,” says Francine O’Byrne. “It is a global business, and we are very proud to be acknowledged as one of the best. It has given all our team great encouragement to continue to provide a high-quality service at all times, despite the challenges.” www.relocationbureau.ie
RELOCATION PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Mona Radwan, Global Relocation Consultants
uests at the Re:locate Awards presentation waited with bated breath to discover who would take the 2013/14 trophy for Relocation Personality of the Year, the accolade that celebrates outstanding achievement and contribution to the profession or industry. Described by her team as “a true inspiration who is always prepared to go the extra mile”, our winner, Mona Radwan, founder and president of Cairo-based Global Relocation Consultants, is one of the relocation industry’s outstanding figures and a true trailblazer. The reaction in the room confirmed that she was a very popular choice. Having started work as Egypt’s first female estate agent in the 1970s, Mrs Radwan entered relocation 20 years ago and subsequently established Global Relocation Consultants, which became the Middle East’s first relocation company. Today, it is the most experienced destination services provider in the region, and has an impressive reputation. Mona Radwan was the first Arab Muslim woman to become a member of the European Relocation Association and Worldwide ERC, and produced the first Middle East country guides for relocatees during the 1980s. Not content to rest on her laurels, she continues to attend seminars and training sessions, obtaining her GMS designation from Worldwide ERC last year. Her referees included representatives of some of the biggest names in relocation. One of them described her as “a true pioneer in the industry and a thoroughly deserving recipient of this important accolade”, adding, “She is not only a font of knowledge and true expert in a region which
has moved increasingly to the forefront in global mobility, she is also a wonderfully generous personality who supports the industry tirelessly by participating in many different forums, always representing her region and her industry with impeccable professionalism and passion.” Another commented, “We have worked with Mona’s company for some years. She has always taken a personal interest in developing our working relationship, and has helped us above and beyond our expectations on a number of occasions. “Her company operates in a location which has seen significant challenges during the past few years, and she has always maintained a consistent and positive approach to helping us advise and make the right recommendations to our clients during these difficult times.” Summarising Mrs Radwan’s contribution to relocation, the judges said, “Mona is someone who promotes her region and broke ground by being its first woman estate agent. She is a true professional, who cares about her staff and shows great loyalty to them. “In short, she is a superb role model, not just for women but for everyone working in relocation.” Speaking after the presentation ceremony, Mona Radwan said, “I was so touched by the kind words of my referees and the judges that I was completely speechless! I must thank our partners for giving us opportunities to achieve success, my team, who nominated me for the award, and, of course, my family, who allowed me to travel and pursue my career.” www.grconsultants.org
Shortlisted Asma Bashir, Newland Chase
Peggy Love, Dwellworks
Brynne Herbert, MOVE Guides
Shân Norman, Crown World Mobility
relocatemagazine.com | 57
ASIA PACIFIC INTERN A rapidly changing landscape Recent growth in the international school sector has seen an unprecedented rise in schools teaching an English-language curriculum in Asia Pacific. However, long waiting lists – and large deposits – can still be a headache for relocating families. Rebecca Marriage investigates.
espite a recent rise in the number of schools in the Asia Pacific region teaching an English-language curriculum, relocating families with school-age children can still face endless waiting lists, and hefty deposits may be required to secure a place at a quality international school. China now has well over 400 international schools. Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore have seen a significant growth in numbers, and Burma is experiencing some early interest from major international school operators.
China While many international schools are still not permitted to accept Chinese nationals, some have licences to do this, and, with 200 million school-age children and two-and-a-half million US-dollar millionaires among the growing middle
58 | Re:locate | Summer 2014
class in China, the demand for a quality international school education is at its highest level for decades. Consequently, China’s international school sector is predicted to see even further growth, which, according to the International School Consultancy Group (ISC), a research group that collates data on the world’s international school market, is likely to dwarf all other countries in the world. Currently, 80 per cent of the demand for places at international schools comes from wealthy local parents who want their children to receive a quality, English-speaking education in order to access the best options for university and higher education. Dulwich College was the first British independent school to recognise the growing demand and has had a school in the country for over a decade. Dulwich College Shanghai opened with 26 students in 2003, followed by Dulwich College Beijing in 2005. A decade later, the Dulwich family of international
ATIONAL SCHOOLS schools has close to 6,000 students, over 1,000 staff, and seven colleges in six cities in three Asian countries. Last August, Dulwich College opened its first international boarding house at its campus in Suzhou, which is proving popular with expatriate families who have children but are required to travel extensively with their work. Harrow International Beijing followed in 2005. Wellington College Tianjin opened its doors to students in 2011, and Wellington College Shanghai is due to open in August. Wellington Tianjin was the first overseas partner school of Wellington College in England. “It is a very special partnership,” says Murray Fowler, master of Wellington College International Tianjin. “Whilst we were not the first British school to establish a branch in China, what is genuinely different about us is the strength of our link back to the UK. This manifests itself in core aspects of our ethos, regular pupil exchanges – in both directions – staff visits and inspections, collaboration between academic departments and Houses, and an internship programme for UK pupils.” Alongside the opening of new international schools, some interesting developments in China’s international
school market are making inroads into meeting the rise in demand for school places. The Chinese government has approved the formation of Chinese-foreign cooperation programmes to create international schools that will enrol both Chinese nationals and foreign students. Developers are looking to create schools that are Chinese owned and run, that cater for Chinese students, and that teach (entirely or in part) in English. continues on p60
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SECTION HEADING EDUCATION
Alongside China, ISC has identified several countries in Asia with growth potential. These include Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
Malaysia In 2012, the Malaysian government removed the 40 per cent cap which, until then, had restricted Malaysian nationals from attending international schools. Many schools in the region have reported growing demand from local families, and the number of international schools has grown significantly in just a few years. There are now 128 English-medium international schools in Malaysia. However, despite the rise in demand from the local
We visited most of the other international schools BSB was the school we liked the best.” Brann family from Australia (who chose BSB Primary for their children)
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• 1,300 students fro m ages 1-18 yea rs • Approximately 70 nationa lities • British-based curri culum up to age 16 • Frenc h/English bil ing ua l education ava ilable across eight Yea r Group s (ages 4-13) • On ly school in Be lgi um IB Diploma and BT to offer A Levels, EC • Outstand ing acade mic results • Extraord ina ry choic e of extra-curricular activities
population, established schools, such as the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), the first fully accredited international school in Malaysia, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, seek to preserve a truly international identity. Julia Love, director of admissions at ISKL, explains that it plans to maintain a 25 per cent cap on any nationality for this reason.
Hong Kong Demand for quality international school places still far outstrips supply in Hong Kong. From figures released by ISC, it becomes clear that global businesses there, dependent continues on p62
for Excellence in Employee & Family Support (see p54). Director Kathy Nunn believes that preparing a family for the difficulties they may face, and helping them to understand flexible alternatives, can help. “Many families must wait for a spot at their school of preference,” says Ms Nunn, “but there are certainly ways of ensuring that children have the opportunity to continue their education. The PSNFC schools [private schools which offer non-formal curriculum] can be a good alternative. Lessons are tailored to suit students, and this means that they do not lose ground while they are waiting to get into the school of their choice.”
Singapore on employee mobility, are seriously concerned that they will not be able to recruit expatriate staff with families. Hong Kong’s leading international schools are operating at full capacity, and many have waiting lists. Several schools are already expanding or have plans for expansion, and a number of new school developments are in the pipeline. Expansion and development of international schools in Hong Kong are controlled by a government tender process which last year saw a staggering 40 organisations bidding for a couple of sites for new schools. However, this is still not enough. Australia-based Elite Executive Services, whose clients include both corporates and individuals moving within, and to, RELOCATE the AsiaMAGAZINE Pacific CS region, won this1 year’s Re:locate award OUTLINED.pdf 6/3/14 7:43 AM
In Singapore, there are strict government restrictions on the number of local students able to enrol in most international schools, which, as a result, are populated mostly by children of families relocating to the region. There are currently 73 international schools in Singapore, between them catering for almost 52,000 predominantly American, British, Australian and Indian students. The Singaporean government manages the availability of international school places according to demand from inbound relocating professionals. Owing to the rising numbers of expats entering Singapore, several new schools have opened recently, some existing schools are expanding, and more new school developments are proposed. Dulwich College is one such school, and plans to open its doors to students in Singapore in August this year.
Dulwich College is one of the schools venturing into the new market for international schools and expatriates that is opening up in Burma (Myanmar) ahead of a predicted economic boom. In collaboration with Yoma Strategic Holdings, a business corporation with a number of interests in Burma, Dulwich will oversee the development of a $40 million premium educational facility in the Thanlyin Township. Yoma believes that the influx of expatriate families into the country will drive demand for high-quality international education while supply is limited. The British Schools Foundation, a not-for-profit international school group, announced earlier this year that it would be opening a new school in Rangoon (Yangon) in August. The demand for a good-quality education from both expatriate families and local nationals in the Asia Pacific region indicates that the English-medium international school market is likely to see significant growth into the foreseeable future. However, until supply matches demand, and with good schools filling up quickly, families will need extra support and guidance to find the right solution.
For education news and articles, visit
LONDON LETTINGS WHY PLANNING PAYS
HOME COUNTIES Market snapshot:
64.3% 4+ bedroom house
LONDON Market snapshot:
1 hour or less
or 2-bedroom 1 apartment
6 weeks 10% $22,600
30 mins or less 31
12 6 weeks 85% $30,000
A strong residential lettings market in many parts of the UK, including London, is coinciding with an increase in inbound international assignments and a surge in overseas investors. Fiona Murchie considers the implications for employers and their relocating employees seeking to rent in the capital.
he launch of Knight Frank’s 2014 Global Corporate Lettings Review, which analyses the demand for prime residential accommodation, was timely. Tim Hyatt, head of lettings, explained corporate relocation trends in London and the UK against the backdrop of the global picture. His audience were savvy relocation professionals, most of whom were fully aware of the implications of international markets for their businesses. However, it is all too easy for those in relocation, both on the corporate side managing domestic relocations and on the destination service provider side, to be dismissive of global implications for their businesses, especially if their organisation does not operate in overseas markets. But times are changing rapidly. Property, in some shape or form, underpins a successful relocation, domestic or international, and changing patterns of work and the increase in business travel and projects make it essential for those responsible for managing people to understand how accommodation can impact on budgets, the efficiency and speed of doing business, and the motivation and engagement of employees on the move.
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For any organisation moving staff into or around the UK, for whatever reason, there is no escaping the fact that global influences on the property market are everywhere, whether you are a retailer moving a store manager from London to Newcastle, a pharmaceutical company consolidating in a new location as part of a global strategy, or a defence organisation with a need for high security. Weekly commuters are on the increase, as are long-haul business travellers, including those financial-sector workers who jump on the train at Edinburgh and do several hours’ work on their laptops before reaching London for their City meeting at 8.30 am. It is all in a day’s work, as is employers’ preference for flexibility and keeping overheads down by allowing employees to work from home for two days a week and spend three days in the Bristol, Birmingham or London office. A recent survey by Savills reveals that, outside the capital, moving for work is a key driver. It is, therefore, particularly important to pay heed to what is going on in the property market outside London and the South East – not only that, but to go back to basics in supporting relocating employees and their families by giving them the support they crave but
or 4-bedroom 3 apartment/house
or 3-bedroom 2 apartment
1 hour or less
1 hour or less
30 mins or less 31
12 or 24
in a style and form that are of value to them as individuals. That means making use of technology, including online support, apps, and so on. As various reports are highlighting (see technology feature, p10), it is common for employees and their families to be using technology, including mobile technology, and social media in their private lives, and they want the same instant access when it comes to homefinding. Already, various systems are combining technology with the personal touch. We will be covering some of them in future issues of Re:locate magazine and on the website.
Residential lettings market No one can have failed to notice that this has been a strong year for residential lettings, driven by London and the Home Counties – a trend Knight Frank’s Tim Hyatt considered likely to continue until mid-2015. The market’s strength has been explained, in part, by overseas investors from Hong Kong, Singapore and Russia wanting to get up and running in the UK. Mr Hyatt predicted minimal rises in rents over the next quarter, but with demand for corporate rentals remaining strong. This may be good news for the residential lettings sector, but it is bad news for those supporting corporate relocations, who face heavy competition from the investor market. Demand for the best properties is coming from a variety of tenants. London acts as a magnet for high-net-worth individuals from around the world, who prefer to rent a home when they first move to the city, and therefore compete with corporate expats. Investor groups are also seeking accommodation, as are overseas students from wealthy families, who are competing with senior executives for properties in the £400 to £650 per week range. The typical student in this category, Knight Frank’s Jemma Scott explained, is a hardworking MBA. However, on the horizon are some big new London developments, such as those at Tower Bridge and King’s
64 | Re:locate | Summer 2014
Cross supporting the city, and, towards West London, the controversial Earls Court development. It is, therefore, important to re-educate clients about the desirability of new locations that can offer them the lifestyle, amenities and convenience they require, on the fringes of what were expat havens but now have skyrocketed in price and are heavily oversubscribed. Managing expectations is essential as companies continue to press hard on budget and ROI. From the agent’s perspective, it is all about the value added and understanding the importance of the relocation corporate client, whose numbers are picking up again as London rises in importance as a global hub. Relationships built up over many years need to be sustained on both sides of the equation.
Corporate Lettings Review: key findings The Knight Frank report confirms that, as companies look to expand their global operations and strengthen their foothold in existing markets, demand for corporate relocation services has risen. Its authors looked at the link between immigration – the number of Tier 2 visas issued in the UK has increased by 17 per cent – and the number of lets to corporate tenants, which has risen by 7 per cent in London. Driven by the corporate market, 63 per cent of lettings in London are to international tenants. Only 13 per cent of these are on company leases; the rest are rented to individuals working for a company. Properties are let to 70 nationalities, but North American tenants still predominate, driven by the financial markets and technology industries. While demand for corporate accommodation is up, cost remains a big issue, with housing budgets generally lower than before the financial crisis. Knight Frank sees this as being explained partly by cost control but also by the growing trend for personal leases in cases where individuals see the opportunity to make savings on their
housing budgets. On the plus side, Knight Frank reports an increase in landlords’ willingness to negotiate on price in order to minimalise void rental periods and secure good corporate tenants. It notes that international assignees are more costsavvy than in previous years – something that destination service providers will also have noticed. The report also notes an increase in preference for serviced apartments, owing to the convenience, flexibility and cost-control impact of this turnkey approach. There has been a shift away from the dominance of the financial sector. It now accounts for only 12 per cent of UK visa approvals, while 42 per cent of Tier 2 visas are for individuals relocating to work in the information and technology sector. The professional, scientific and technical sectors account for 18 per cent of all UK visa approvals. Employment figures reinforce the trend, with financial services jobs down by 2.3 per cent at the end of 2013. This contributed to a 2.3 per cent fall in prime London rents during the year. However, the predicted pickup in employment is likely to impact on residential rents, with 2 per cent growth forecast in London for 2014. Said Jemma Scott, “2012 was the year of insurance, and 2013 the year of technology. This year, the finance sector is on the rise again, with Japanese, German and British banks all active.”
New London hotspots The commercial property market is also part of the picture. While the West End and the City continue to dominate, there are new business clusters emerging which offer employment opportunities and residential schemes, as the Knight Frank report reveals. The redevelopment of King’s Cross has drawn flagship tenants Google and BNP Paribas. The huge development around the iconic Battersea Power station is finally coming to fruition after many years, with the US and Netherlands embassies relocating there and indications that the Chinese embassy will join them. The combination of office, residential and retail is an obvious lifestyle draw that could quickly attract to the area those on international assignment. The northern fringes of the City are also seeing expansion on the commercial and residential fronts, particularly among London’s growing creative industries The message is clear: make sure your clients understand the importance of planning ahead!
For property news and articles, visit
SECTION HEADING EDUCATION
RELOCATING a child with special educational needs Rebecca Marriage takes a look at recent changes to provision for special educational needs in England, and suggests points to consider when helping a family to make an international relocation with a child with special needs
arents of children with special educational needs (SEN) often have to battle to get the support they need for their child. When moving between areas in the UK, the process becomes even more challenging. The UK government recognises this, and is updating its system of support in England. For families moving overseas, the situation becomes even more uncertain, with little to no regulation and consistency of integrated support in some international schools. According to recent statistics, more than a fifth of children in England have some form of special educational need. The government considers children to have SEN if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. All state schools in England are required by law to ensure that help is provided for children with SEN, and every local authority has a responsibility to support the children living in its area. But, by their own admission, the system of support available for children with SEN through the network of local authorities in England is very complex. Teachers, health workers and social care workers often work separately to meet the particular needs of the child. Parents very often
have to battle to confirm that their child even requires extra help and to be provided with what is currently known as a statement of special education needs, an official record of the specific needs and requirements of the individual child. It can take years for parents to get an acceptable level of provision, so for them to up sticks and start again will be a not-insignificant task, and the ability to get it right for these families could be a deal-breaker when it comes to accepting a new assignment. This year, the UK government has announced that it wants to make the process easier for parents. From September, there are plans to introduce a single assessment process for education, health and care, which would result in replacing SEN statements with an â€˜education, health and care planâ€™ for children and young people aged 0 to 25 years with SEN. Parents would also be provided with their own personal budgets, to allow them to choose the best services for their family.
Best practice It is important that parents of a child who is currently receiving assistance in a mainstream school have continues on p68
66 | Re:locate | Summer Spring 2014 2014
SECTION EDUCATION HEADING ACS film
continues on p66
More than just a school Families just know when a relocation works. Whether you are a mom or dad, toddler or teenager, HR or relocation professional, from Texas or Tokyo, when all the pieces come together, it can deliver one of life’s most rewarding experiences. ACS understands the complex needs of globally mobile families. We have partnered the relocation industry since 1967 to build international communities for families on the move. Our campus-specific Admissions, Housing and Transport experts work closely with parent-assisted Welcome Teams, International Groups, Parent/Teacher Organisations and Buddy programmes to create a smooth, seamless and happy transition. That is why each year literally hundreds of families from more than 70 countries make ACS ‘the’ social hub to their educational and lifestyle needs. To find out more about us, and our world renowned programmes, please visit www.acs-schools.com. Alternatively call either ACS Cobham +44 (0)1932 869744, ACS Egham +44 (0)1784 430611, ACS Hillingdon +44 (0)1895 818402. ACS schools are non-sectarian and co-educational (day and boarding) for students 2 to 18 years of age.
relocatemagazine.com | 67
documentation of everything that is being provided, to enable the new school and authority to make similar provision. A visit and an interview with the headteacher and the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) will also be indispensable. For example, at Marymount International School, an independent girls’ school in London, the learning resources and enrichment programme co-ordinator, Sandra Forrest, is always included, at the earliest possible stage, in the admissions process of students who might need SEN support. “I work very closely with families before they even enrol at Marymount,” says Ms Forrest. “They send the relevant documentation to me when they apply, and I write a report for the headmistress and the admissions director outlining exactly what the student requires in the way of support, and whether or not we can provide that support. If they enrol and are accepted, an IEP [Individualised Education Plan] is developed in conjunction with the families before the student starts school, and is sent to teachers before the student enters their class.” In some cases, though, a mainstream school, no matter how well intentioned, will not suit the child’s needs, and parents will need to investigate a school specialising in the provision of education and care for children with specific learning difficulties, and to cope with particularly demanding emotional and social issues that can arise.
INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAMMES AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES FOR 3-18 YEAR OLDS
The International Community School is an independent school located in central London. We offer all three International Baccalaureate Programmes (Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma), as well as long term English Language Courses for students aged 3-18 years old. The combination of our welcoming community, a focus on personalised learning, our innovative use of ICT and exciting Travel & Learn programmes, makes ICS an excellent choice for the international community.
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020 7935 1206 | ADMISSIONS@ICSCHOOL.CO.UK | WWW.ICSCHOOL.CO.UK AUTISM ACCREDITATION
Lucia Santi is head of the Holmewood School in London (THSL), an independent co-educational day school for students with high-functioning autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and language, communication and social pragmatic difficulties. “Our aim,” says Ms Santi, “is to enable every child to flourish by encouraging and building upon their unique strengths and interests. In addition to academic achievement, the focus at THSL is on every child’s social, emotional and personal development. This is supported by ensuring each child strengthens his or her independent and living skills, which are key to building confidence and self-esteem.” It is possible that a family could be entitled to an element of funding for the provision of specialist teaching in a school designed around meeting the needs of children with SEN. The local authority will be able to advise.
Moving overseas However, for parents of SEN children moving overseas, the situation is even more complex. “International schools are not generally bound by local or national law in regards to special education and learning support provision,” says the European Council of International Schools’ (ECIS) SEN guidance. “Often, schools do not write learning plans for their students.” The ECIS has, in fact, attempted to address the problem by creating, and offering its member schools access to, an International Individual Learning Plan (IILP). The IILP is a document which was developed by the ECIS to record how individual students with learning difficulties were supported at international schools. According to the ECIS, it is “a detailed plan that sets targets for students to achieve and dates for reviews to see what progress has been made”. “A well-written IILP can allow for good communication at the school level between teachers, learning support
specialists and parents, and for the transfer of information between international schools, reducing educational time lost,” says the ECIS. Prospective schools should be able to talk through with parents their system for target setting, monitoring and recording the progress of children with SEN. Reports of a lack of SEN provision in Middle East schools may cause anxiety to parents. Following a damning inspection report by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority, which identified a weakness in the provision for children with SEN in the independent school sector in Dubai, the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau has increased the focus on special needs assessment in its updated inspection guidelines. Schools must now demonstrate that they can meet the needs of all students, including those with learning difficulties or special talents. Schools in the region teaching the International Baccalaureate or British Curriculum were found to have the best SEN provision. Parents will need reassurance that the school they choose will meet their child’s needs. Properly accredited international schools are a good place to start. ISL Qatar, an international school based in Doha, is an International Baccalaureate World School, as well as being one of the first schools to open as part of the Qatari Supreme Education Council’s Outstanding Schools initiative, and takes its
We understand you. Whichever language you speak. ISL is a diverse global community where the rich mix of cultures and languages combine to provide an outstanding primary through IB Diploma education for each child. With educational excellence as our driving force, we integrate your mother tongue and other languages into the curriculum from a young age, nurturing the global competencies critical for success at universities worldwide.
responsibilities to all students extremely seriously. “ISL Qatar prides itself on being one of a small number of international schools that provide learning support across the school as part of its access and diversity agenda,” says head of school Chris Charleson. “This forms part of our philosophy to maintain a broad and diverse population of students who can enjoy counselling, language support and special needs support, allowing them to access the mainstream curriculum.” No matter which school parents choose, they should ask about the individual staff who will be helping their child and, ideally, meet them, in person or via video conferencing. Providing honest information about the child’s needs is also vital. Marymount’s Sandra Forrest explains that working very closely with families during the transition is a key to success. “SEN support needs to be individually tailored and flexible in order to be effective,” she says. “This ensures that students who require support for SEN can make as smooth and successful a transition as possible.”
For education news and articles, visit
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Area: West London, Berkshire, Surrey
Tel: (0086) 10 6454 9000 (Main Reception) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.dulwich-beijing.cn
Contact: Xiu Xiu Sun Tel: +44 (0)20 3405 2877 Email: email@example.com Website: www.sacoapartments.com Area: National & International
SPOUSAL ASSISTANCE/ CAREERS Profile Locations Contact: Fiona Murchie Tel: +44 (0)1892 891334 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +44 (0)20 8949 0571 Website: www.marymountlondon.com
SACO The Serviced Apartment Company
Dulwich College Beijing
Area: UK & Worldwide
Area: National & International
Area: London, South East
DT Moving Contact: Tim Daniells
Wellington College Contact: James Dahl Tel: +44 (0)1344 444013 (Admissions Office) Email: email@example.com Website: www.wellingtoncollege.org.uk Area: Berkshire, UK
Area: Beijing, China
Industry jobs at: relocatecareers.com
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