Page 1



Re:locate Section heading

Spring 2013

Tapping into the next generation Managing the new generation of globally mobile employees London post-Olympics

Emerging markets

Still ahead of the global game?

Honing your strategies for international success

This issue sponsored by:

1 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

Section heading

Global Employee Banking

Internationally mobile Arranging banking facilities for your relocating international employees has never been more straightforward. Our dedicated Global Employee Banking team can really make it easy. We can even have accounts open before your employees arrive in the country.

ThatÕs one thing off your list Helpful Banking Contact us to Þnd out more about how we can help Call us on +44 (0) 1245 355628 quoting NWRL or visit 2 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

Contents 12 44


News, Analysis & Events Re:editor’s letter 4

Features 32 Re:serviced apartments


Re:news & views



Re:book club

54 Re:technology

Fiona Murchie looks at what’s in store this issue. Key industry happenings, personalities and comment. Reading to keep you informed – share your views.

58 Re:awards

Announcing the shortlist for the 2012/13 Re:locate Awards.

Hot topic 8 Re:hot topic

Are providers keeping up with demand in relocation hotspots worldwide?

Re:emerging markets

Challenges for HR, their relocation supplier partners and globally mobile employees. Innovations to make HR and relocation professionals’ jobs easier, plus technology solutions for the global-mobility supply chain.

Policy & Practice 14 Re:localisation

Policy trends, plus advice on implementation.

London’s post-Olympics buzz continues – but is the UK capital truly open for global business?


Global Management 18 Re:millenials

44 Re:procurement

20 Re:finance

Employee SUpport 12 Re:London property

Managing the new generation of globally mobile employees. Is the ‘Beyond Budgeting’ model useful to companies managing international assignees?


Re:women leaders

Making the most of your female talent.


Re:international policy

Trends in package provision for long-term assignments. Improving connections between relocation service providers and their corporate clients.

Who’s moving to London, and why.


Re:international banking


Re:family law

Forward planning can help assignees to hit the ground running. Essential information for HR on international divorce settlements.

61 Re:education

The growth of UK-based international study centres and immersion programmes, and a guide to in-year school admissions. | 3

The Team

We will help you with the “information, knowledge and

Managing Editor: Fiona Murchie Design: Gulp Creative

tools you need, during 2013 and beyond

Sub Editor: Louise Whitson Advertising: Sara Clark

Address Re:locate Magazine Spray Hill Hastings Road Lamberhurst Kent TN3 8JB Tel: 01892 891334


Tel: +44 (0)1892 891334


e have launched into 2013 with a new style that reflects the global strategic approach which all those involved in managing international people say they are looking for.

To help you address the issues faced by your organisations and their CEOs and management teams, we will be analysing the problems faced by companies taking advantage of global growth and competing on a global stage, whether UK, European or international, and looking at key trends.


In this issue, we examine women in leadership and Generation Y – two demographics that impact on your talent-management strategies, where getting it right can have huge results.

Tel: +44 (0)1892 891334 @relocatemag

Re:locate Awards 2012/13

Technology is at the forefront in a changing world, and our focus considers latest developments and challenges for those involved across HR and the supplier services, and how global mobility can learn from other sectors. What are your views, and how can we make things happen? Are emerging markets driving growth, and who is ahead of the game? From industry surveys to global property reports, there is now a global context for all organisations. We look at the trends and challenges to help you support the business case and manage your people effectively. Property, schools and family support are all in the equation. Only you know what is best for your organisation, but, through the pages of Re:locate and our websites, we will help you with the information, knowledge and tools you need, during 2013 and beyond. Find out who is already on the road to success with our Awards shortlist, and join us at the Gala Awards Dinner to celebrate in style and toast the future of global mobility. Fiona Murchie Managing Editor

Gala Dinner

Thursday 9 May 2013 © 2013. 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.

Coming in the Summer 2013 issue of Re:locate magazine AWARDS SPECIAL

Our winners – and the stories behind their success


What it means for global employers


Focus on Europe, including Russia, plus Africa

Section heading | 5

News, analysis & events

Industry:News & Views If you have news and views that you’d like to see aired on these pages, contact us at TECHNOLOGY BIGGEST WORRY for European business chiefs Although European executives are positive about technology’s role in stimulating creativity and innovation, they remain more concerned than their peers elsewhere over their companies’ abilities to keep up with fast-moving innovations, according to a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Ricoh. While 45 per cent of Europeans worried about losing their competitive edge because of an inability to keep pace, the same concerns affected only 35 per cent of business leaders in Asia and 37 per cent in North America. The study, Humans and Machines, investigates the impacts of technology

on human creativity and intuition. Asked to rank the technology challenges they were facing, business leaders placed ‘systems not connected to each other’ in the top spot, closely followed by ‘technology is evolving more quickly than the internal processes that support it’. “European businesses leaders face a challenging time,” said Ricoh Europe’s Carsten Bruhn. “In addition to technologyled change, they must manage complex

BISHOP’S MOVE CORPORATE RELOCATION The Corporate Relocation Department has been specifically set up to help employees being relocated anywhere in the UK or the world to enjoy an efficient and trouble free move










regulations and grow their businesses in a competitive and mature landscape. In addition, they are focused upon recovering from the global economic crisis, where the viability of the euro is being questioned.” Mr Bruhn said the study exposed the need for European organisations to review the way they work and prepare to transform their traditional way of doing things. “Through better integration of their systems and more streamlined business processes that connect their people and their technology, they can improve employee knowledge sharing, be more responsive to client needs and ensure an agile business infrastructure that is ready to meet the needs of the future,” he added. Don’t miss our technology coverage, which starts on p54.

Section heading

MOBILITY DATE for your diary Mercer’s annual EMEA Expatriate Management Conference takes place in Lisbon, Portugal, on 11 and 12 April, and will attract EMEA-based HR professionals who are managing expatriates globally.

UK EMPLOYMENT ‘to rise despite stalling growth’ Employment will continue to grow in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development/SuccessFactors Labour Market Outlook (LMO) report. The report’s key indicator is the net employment balance, which measures the difference between the proportion of employers intending to increase total staffing levels and those intending to reduce them. This remained positive at +5 for the first quarter of 2013 (down slightly from +7 for the final quarter of 2012). Employers remain optimistic in the private sector, with a net balance of +16 (compared with +18 three months ago). However, the public-sector balance has dropped sharply to -29. Three months ago, it was -17. This is the fourth consecutive quarter in which the LMO has recorded a positive balance. According to official statistics, this has been matched by robust growth in employment during 2012.

STAMP DUTY INCREASE affects prime London property market A new report has found that last year’s increase in stamp duty on residential property transactions over £2 million has had a significant effect on London’s high-end property market, reducing annual sales volumes by 15 per cent. At the lower end of the prime market, sales of £1 million to £2 million properties are likely to have risen by around 5 per cent over the same period. Global property firm Knight Frank’s Prime Central London Sales Index also revealed that prices, which have risen by 8.4 per cent over the last year, increased by 0.9 per cent in February. During the six months following the announcement of the stamp-duty increase, the volume of £2 million+ sales fell by between 25 per cent and 35 per cent across the UK capital. The report’s authors estimate that transactions in this sector will be around 15 per cent lower in the 12 months to the end of March 2013 compared with a year earlier. Knight Frank’s February Prime Central London Rental Index shows that, overall, rents have declined by 0.7 per cent over the last three months, though Belgravia and Kensington saw rises of 0.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively. Our London coverage starts on p8.

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hot topic

Following the success of the London 2012 Olympics, there is an almost tangible sense of excitement in the UK capital. But is London truly open for global business? Looking at, among other factors, the implications for inward investment of Boris Johnson’s recent trade mission to India, the Government’s stance on the EU, bank regulation, transport infrastructure and immigration policy, David Sapsted assesses the city’s current position and future prospects.


Is open for business? 8 | Re:locate | Spring 2013


hen a man is tired of London, opined Samuel Johnson in the 18th century, he is tired of life. It is a view that, some 250 years later, is enthusiastically echoed by Johnson’s namesake Boris, the current mayor of London. “London is a world-leading destination for business for a long list of reasons, not least our favourable time zone and language, as well as being home to a young, talented and dynamic workforce,” Mr Johnson told Re:locate. “The capital is the best big city to live and do business in, and it is still the world’s only truly global financial-services centre.” Yet London has lost some of its lustre in recent years. Its banks are subject to increasing scrutiny and regulation, its transport systems – particularly its airports – are overstretched, and business leaders have become more than a little jittery over Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge in January to hold a referendum (after the 2015 general election) on whether or not Britain should leave the European Union. The problem for London, according to The Economist, is that it is no longer in a position to shape its own future. “The mayor has little power. The rules on financial services, tax and immigration, which matter so much to London, are set by the European Commission and the British government,” the magazine observed. “Both are adopting measures which will do disproportionate damage to London. It is getting harder to run a financial-services company, to make money and, most worryingly, to get into Britain. This hardline immigration policy, fostered by tough economic times, will make it increasingly difficult for the city to go on reinventing itself in the way it has done over the past 25 years.” There are other problems, too. While London remains at the heart of the UK’s economy, its growth is inhibited by a shortfall in housing supply and sky-high house rental and sales prices, according to the Centre for Cities, a UK think tank. In its 2013 Cities Outlook, the centre says, “High house prices are not just a social issue or a challenge for individuals; they are also an economic problem. High house prices exclude people from moving into a city, which restricts both their access to jobs and the number of workers that businesses can choose from. They force up wages, as employers are forced to pay more to offset the cost of housing. And they push up the housingbenefit bill, currently standing at £23.5 billion per year.” London is also facing not just international competition but demands from within Britain for the national spoils to be shared more evenly. Frank McKenna, chairman of lobby group Downtown in Business, representing businesses in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, says, “London is critical to the economic prosperity of Britain, but if we are to achieve

The capital is the best big city to live and do business in, and it is still the world’s only truly global financial services centre.

Boris Johnson

widespread economic growth, we have to close the spending gap between the North and South [of Britain]. “Many northern cities have made huge progress, but it is not good enough to spend £1,000 per head on economic development in London, while in the North it’s half that figure. If we look to the German model, where comparable regions such as Brandenburg and Thüringen have all managed to grow relative to the rest of the country, it becomes clear that we need a broader approach to economic development.” As it is, London continues to record the highest number of business start-ups in the UK and, since the onset of the recession, has seen the largest absolute increase in private-sector employment growth, with 97,900 jobs added. This is one of the reasons that Boris Johnson remains so upbeat – at least publicly. He told this magazine, “The ambitious regeneration of East London, and the fantastic exposure the capital received as a result of the 2012 Olympic Games, present a massive opportunity for businesses of all sizes in London, putting them in a global shop window and offering them an unprecedented opportunity to sell their wares to the world. “It also means we have a great new swathe of the city which is ripe for investment; now is the chance for international businesses to get in on the ground floor. “Building a lasting economic legacy from the Games was always a key priority. The ever-growing confidence in London as a centre for trade and investment proves our firms are grasping that opportunity with both hands. continues on p10 | 9

Andrew Parsons

Section heading


“The signs of confidence are increasing all the time, whether it’s construction workers transforming sites around our town centres, the huge investment from global firms, such as Westfield’s new plans for Croydon, or the unlocking of major new developments such as Battersea Power Station.” Yet Boris – nobody, apart from political opponents, calls him anything else – knows that London’s eyes must be focused on things way beyond Europe’s boundaries. It is why, last November, he took part in his first-ever trade mission. The destination, to nobody’s surprise, was India. “The objective is to build up what is a new partnership between London, the UK and India,” he said. “We can’t rely on sentiment. Everybody knows this. All this stuff about links and language doesn’t cut the mustard any more. It’s all about what London has – the brands we can offer, the opportunities we can offer to Indian business.” During the tour, the mayor reiterated his criticism of the UK government’s decision to restrict the number of student visas. “On the way in to Delhi, I saw a Jaguar car driving in from the airport which had been made in Coventry and was now owned by an Indian company. Imagine if a million were driving Jaguar cars; you can see where the opportunities are. “The worry is that young Indians are already orientated towards America. They think about higher education in America. We do much better with young Chinese, for example. Visas is a point, but it’s not the only point. It’s the mood music, so what I want to do is explain how welcoming London is.” Behind the scenes, too, the mayor has shown growing frustration with the austerity policies of the UK government – led by Mr Cameron’s Conservative Party, of which Mr Johnson is a member – by attacking the “hair-shirt” programme of Chancellor George Osborne. Gerard Lyons, the mayor’s new economic adviser, is currently working on a seven-point plan aimed at reviving London’s vibrancy and adding to its global appeal. The plan includes building hundreds of thousands of new homes, investing in road and rail infrastructure, boosting London’s growth industries, such as financial services, and maintaining low and stable tax rates. Close to Boris’s heart, too, is the building of a new London airport, to replace the ageing and overcrowded Heathrow. He has already proposed the construction of a new, four-runway airport, dubbed Boris Island, in the Thames Estuary, off the Kent coast. Although the Government initially rejected the idea, it has steadily been gaining favour among many planners. In fact, the predicted chaos at Heathrow during last summer’s Olympic Games failed to materialise. Indeed, the whole Olympics experience seems to have given London’s reputation a much-needed boost.

It’s all about what London has - the brands we can offer, the opportunities we can offer to Indian business.

A worldwide survey by VisitBritain, published at the start of the year, showed that London – and, indeed, Britain in general – had enhanced its reputation as a place welcoming to foreigners. Three-quarters of those surveyed in 15 countries said that, after watching the Olympics, their appetite for visiting London had been increased. Some of those outsiders who have come to London and settled, however, still have reservations. “I don’t meet anybody today who genuinely believes that this country values wealth creation,” says Apurv Bagri, the Indian-born president and CEO of Metdist, a metals trading company, as well as deputy chairman of the London Business School and chairman of the Royal Parks. But David Rowland, founder of Banque Havilland, which operates in Luxembourg and Monaco, seems to disagree. He recently received approval from the UK’s Financial Services Authority to open a branch of the private bank in London, in a bid to attract wealthy clients passing through the city. It all adds up to a future for London that is at once uncertain but far from gloomy. The conundrum that is Britain’s capital was summed up by Stephen Fry, the comic actor, writer and raconteur: “The English language is like London – proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too; common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane.” They are sentiments with which Dr Johnson – and Boris – would probably agree.

Keep up with trends at Property section of and 10 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

Boris Johnson


Strongly Agree and Agree (with 61% strongly agreeing)


11% Disagree & Disagree

Mobility trends in focus

A new report offers useful insights into the major trends affecting relocation to London and their probable implications for global employers and assignees. Louise Whitson has the details.


ompiled using analysis of reports published over a 15-month period and the results of a mini-survey carried out in October 2012, the Mobility Trends report, by London-based destination services provider R3Location, confirms that, despite the challenges faced by European Union countries, London remains one of the locations most frequently selected for international assignments (it takes third place in a majority of the reports analysed, just behind the US and China) and a global financial centre equal to New York. Although the growth rates of emerging locations are higher, the evidence shows that there is still, as the report’s authors put it, “some way to go to disrupt, in absolute terms, the major mobility axis that exists between New York and London”. Accordingly, they suggest, London is likely to remain a key location for international businesses in the medium term, and growth in international assignments looks set to extend across all policy types. Because of this, corporates and service providers must maintain a robust level of investment in resources and capabilities to cater for a mature and sophisticated relocation market where a one-size-fits-all approach to delivering support is becoming increasingly unsatisfactory.

Housing challenges The capital’s fast-growing population, combined with constraints on mortgage lending, continues to affect the availability of high-quality rental property. The report finds that international assignees are increasingly competing with some segments of the local population, and supply of good stock is limited, especially in areas that were popular with expatriates in the past, such as Kensington & Chelsea and St John’s Wood. The combination of low supply and high demand has pushed prices up, particularly in prime locations – a trend which, the report’s authors believe, is unlikely to be

reversed and will affect the affordability of housing in areas traditionally favoured by international assignees. Says Anna Barker, a director of R3Location, “Providing a wider flexibility of choice of where in London assignees choose to live may well become a necessity for anyone involved in supporting mobility programmes. As the pressures of limited supply and increased demand require assignees to look at areas not traditionally favoured – stock availability and housing budget come into play – organisations need to ensure they build ongoing capabilities to gather deep, local expertise of different areas of London.” Employers’ requirement to strike a better balance between remaining competitive globally by moving talent where it is needed and controlling the costs associated with mobility will be another factor in widening the areas in which the assignees of the future will live, as will changing assignee demographics. Of those who took part in R3Location’s survey, 85 per cent agreed that changes in policy types would remain a popular way of promoting flexibility while keeping costs under control. Anna Barker believes that providers of expatriate support may not yet have caught up with the changing policy mix. “The market is well versed in providing support to long-term assignees, but may be falling short of expectation with regards to adapting services to differing policy types, and, more importantly, different COMPLIANCE profiles and different levels of seniority of assignees within them.” The internal controls of our supply chain The report also shows that compliance ensure the risks of non-compliance with both internal control environments and are reduced to an acceptable level. external regulations will remain crucial for multinationals, and, therefore, for their suppliers. 42% “Better internal controls and efficiency of processes, regardless of the size of the provider, 26% 25% ought to be the priority in improving service value for clients going forward,” concludes 7% Ms Barker.

See the International Assignments section of for updates and practical advice. | 11


Galliard Homes, Baltimore Tower, Baltimore Wharf, Docklands

London perspective As London basks in a post-Olympics glow, Louise Whitson examines its vibrant property scene, and finds out who is moving to the city – and why.


ondon continues to be not only a national property hotspot but also an international one – and it’s not hard to see why. As well as being a vibrant multicultural city, the UK capital is Europe’s leading recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI), having recently been named European City of the Future by FDI Magazine (part of The Financial Times) for the third year running. With overseas investment is coming an army of expatriates, all of them needing somewhere to live – a factor that is helping to push up rents and house prices. ECA International’s latest research found London to be second only to Moscow as Europe’s most expensive location for high-end rental property. Globally, it ranked sixth. According to the LSL Property Services and Acadametrics House Price Index for January, Greater London continues to dominate the housing market in England and Wales, with house-price inflation of almost three times that seen in any other region. The city’s most expensive boroughs are experiencing the highest price growth, reflecting continuing demand. The spring edition of estate agent Knight Frank’s London Review

12 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

bears this out. It reveals that prices of prime central London residential property rose by 0.4 per cent in January, the increases of the past few months having being fuelled by demand from overseas buyers looking for a safe haven for their money and what Liam Bailey, the company’s head of global research, describes as “a slice of London life”, as well as the falling value of sterling. Says Mr Bailey, “As our research shows, while prices for prime central London property increased 0.5 per cent since November, currency movements mean that, for eurodenominated buyers, property values have actually declined by 4 per cent in that time, making entry into the market more affordable.” He believes that, as the Eurozone crisis continues, the long-term appeal of owning property in a safe haven like London is unlikely to diminish. South Kensington drew the largest number of international buyers as a percentage of sales in 2012, with Knightsbridge, Kensington, Hyde Park and Belgravia also attracting considerable interest. Knight Frank’s research suggests that buyers from France and Italy were the most active Europeans in the London market during 2012.

Vive l’Angleterre? Recent tax changes across the Channel, with other trends, are leading to an upsurge in French nationals moving to London. Elected last year, France’s Socialist president, François Hollande, plans to impose a 75 per cent marginal tax rate on earnings of over one million euros (£800,000) per annum, along with steep rises in wealth and capital-gains taxes. In contrast, the UK’s top rate of tax, levied on incomes of more than £150,000 a year, will be reduced from 50 per cent to 45 per cent from April. But it’s not just France’s highearners who are on the move: many other French people, particularly the younger generation, are finding it easier to obtain work in London. The UK capital already had a French population estimated at several hundred thousand, Chelsea and South Kensington being home to a sizeable cohort of French bankers and their families. So significant is this location in terms of its French residents that the French state has its own school, the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, in Cromwell Road. The Lycée has primary-school annexes in Clapham, Ealing and Fulham, which are

attracting French families to live in these areas as well. To cater for demand, a new French school is due to open in Wembley. Russian expats are another significant presence. Legal and business consultancy Red Square London, which specialises in the relocation of Russian business people and their families to the UK, has seen growing demand for Russian-speaking professionals, both from Russian companies and from the departments and ‘desks’ set up to service the increasing number of Russian clients dealing with City institutions. Red Square co-founder and director Tatiana Nevard says that this trend is leading to new challenges in relocating executives and their families. Apart from visas, the chief priorities for most Russians coming to the UK are property, banking and education.

London and the South East have several Russian schools.

Forecast for 2013 According to Knight Frank’s review, Knightsbridge remains the best-performing area of London in terms of price growth, with a 1.5 per cent rise in January. Notting Hill, which has seen prices decline since September, partly reversed this trend, with 0.8 per cent price growth over the month. The rise in sales volumes that occurred at the end of 2012 following clarification of the taxation of £2 million+ residential property transactions has carried over into the new year. This, explains Liam Bailey, has been another factor in continuing price rises. However, he adds, “Our outlook for 2013 remains unchanged: we expect to see no significant price movement in the

prime central London property market this year, before more moderate price growth from 2014 onwards.” Is London property still proving an attractive investment? According to Stuart Law, chief executive of buy-to-let specialist Assetz, foreign investors – particularly those from China, Malaysia and other Far Eastern countries – are now looking further afield. Says Mr Law, “Interest in London as an investment destination is moderating a little for Far Eastern investors, offering them kudos and slowing capital growth, but very little in the way of yield return. The higher yields of the UK’s regional cities are a big draw, particularly new developments targeted at young professional tenants. Many investors have children studying at British universities and are keen to put down roots in this country.”

See the International Assignments section of for updates and practical advice

policy & Practice

Localisation policy and practice

The term ‘localisation’ is widely used but has several meanings, each with practical implications for relocation professionals. Sue Shortland explains the terminology, reports on policy trends, and provides advice on implementation.


o professionalise capabilities in an increasingly international environment, actions may include recruiting experienced executives locally in host countries where the organisation has identified a need, investing in recruitment and training in an international context through the provision of international relocation (expatriation and inpatriation), and ensuring the board of directors has truly global membership.

Understanding localisation Localisation is becoming an increasingly important phenomenon within international resourcing. Yet the term can be misunderstood easily, as it can refer to: • Employing an increasing proportion of HCNs (as an alternative, or in addition, to PCN/TCN expatriation) • Using ex-HCNs to manage subsidiary operations (as an alternative, or in addition, to PCNs and TCNs) • Localising PCN and TCN expatriates by phasing out/ removing their expatriate terms, conditions and benefits, thereby transferring them to local terms and conditions •E  mploying PCN and TCN expatriates on local terms directly when they are sent out on assignment

HCNs and ex-HCNs While there are arguments for employing host-country nationals on cost and local-morale grounds, they may lack the mindset that multinationals require, for example, within international joint-venture and merger arrangements. As a result, international mobility for training and development (to the headquarters as inpatriates, or to another organisational location as expatriates) may be a necessary prerequisite to their capability development. Consideration must be given to the relocation policy applicable to such transfers. Generally, these assignments involve the mobility of individuals for relatively short periods, so short-term assignment policies (usually on unaccompanied status) apply. The assignees’ home-country salaries may provide insufficient compensation on relocation, as they may often be required to move from countries with relatively low incomes to more affluent and higher costof-living destinations. Thus, provision is needed to ensure

Expatriate terms Expatriates/international assignees may be described as ‘parent-country nationals’ (PCNs), or sometimes as ‘home-country nationals’ – they are sent from the headquarters base and are of the same nationality as the parent organisation – or ‘third-country nationals’ (TCNs), being of another nationality and being sent to live and work abroad, typically from another base of origin. ‘Host-country nationals’ (HCNs), also called ‘local nationals’, working locally in their home country, are not expatriates. However, they may be brought to the headquarters, typically for training purposes, being referred to as ‘inpatriates’. Inpatriation may also refer to the transfer of TCNs to the headquarters location. An inpatriate staffing strategy may be used on a temporary or permanent basis, combined with trips between the home and host locations to share and transfer knowledge. This is particularly prevalent as a resourcing strategy within foreign operations setting up in emerging markets. Local nationals who have studied or worked abroad, but who then return to their home countries with foreign experience to join the local workforce, are known as ‘ex-host-country nationals’ (ex-HCNs). that transferees are able to manage financially in their new host locations, but this must be balanced against ensuring mobility at the end of the posting back to their country of origin. When these individuals return home, they effectively become ex-HCNs. Consideration is now required in relation to the terms and conditions which will be applied to them on their return. Their experience and training set them apart from local people (and thus they will expect higher compensation levels), but their societal and cultural roots align them with their local counterparts. An expatriatestyle package is, therefore, inappropriate, and would be overly costly for employers. It is also likely to distort compensation differentials locally. continues on p16

14 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

Section heading

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Š 2013 Paragon Relocation | 15

policy & Practice

Yet local pay potentially appears unattractive. Care needs to be taken to ensure that returning ex-HCNs do not take their newly (and expensively) gained competencies elsewhere. For example, if their home-country pay levels are set too low and do not recognise their development and international experience, they may switch allegiance to another local employer. Hence, compensation applied must be seen to be competitive and motivational, but it must not distort local pay structures.

PCNs and TCNs Long-term expatriates remaining in country for lengthy periods may be ‘localised’ – their expatriate employment terms are removed in the assignment location. In effect, this means applying local terms and conditions to emphasise assignees’ loss of mobility. The key to localising expatriates lies in communication of organisational policy. It is critical to ensure that information on which elements of the assignment package will be phased out (and the timescales for this), and which will stop after a defined period, together with when changes will take place, are made clear before the assignment is undertaken. PCNs and TCNs may be deployed on assignment on local terms to begin with. Of course, local terms may prove unattractive in low-pay countries and overly enticing in high-pay countries – with a knock-on effect on mobility (either assignees will not take up posts if the pay is too low, or will not come back, or will move on, if it is too high). If local terms and conditions are going to be applied under a host-based compensation package, it is important to consider net-to-net comparisons, to ensure that the distorting influence of tax and social security on take-home pay is taken into account. Localisation also requires consideration of the impact on family members. For example, while it may be theoretically possible to apply host pay, housing, and so on, the hostcountry school system may not be appropriate, and international schools may be a requirement for family mobility, or for them to remain longer-term in the destination country. Consideration, therefore, needs to be given to the level of school fees that will be met, the length of time for which this will continue (for example, until a break in critical stages of education), how any phasing-out might take place, and ensuring excellent communication with families. Schooling is a particularly emotive issue within localisation, and can prove to be a make-or-break factor in successful policy implementation.

Expatriate localisation policy trends It would be expected that the increasing interest in localisation of expatriates would be reflected in a rising

proportion of employers with localisation policies. Yet, surprisingly, Brookfield’s Global Relocation Trends 2012 Survey Report shows that this is not the case. Just 35 per cent of organisations were reported as having localisation policies in 2012. However, 36 per cent reported that they were considering developing and implementing localisation policies in the future. In contrast, the Cartus 2012 Trends in Global Relocation survey finds 47 per cent of participants with a localisation policy in place. The key drivers of localisation have traditionally related to formalising loss of mobility after a set number of years, and cost-reduction considerations. Interestingly, Brookfield notes that only 24 per cent of organisations localise after a predefined number of years (no change on 2011). Only 13 per cent localise on cost grounds. Localisation in response to the employee’s desire to stay in the home country was reported by 25 per cent, and no position on repatriation home by 10 per cent of the survey’s participants. All these reasons have declined since 2011. Instead, 28 per cent cite a variety of other reasons driving localisation (up from 14 per cent); business strategy/needs and career paths were frequently mentioned. Both Brookfield and Cartus report that policy concerning the transition period to local benefits varies widely. While Brookfield reports 18 per cent transitioned immediately, Cartus notes 39 per cent did so. Brookfield states that 11 per cent transitioned during a one-year period; 9 per cent in two years; 19 per cent in three years; 3 per cent in four years; 11 per cent in five years plus; and 17 per cent on a case-by-case basis. Cartus reports 22 per cent transitioning over a one- to two-year period; 20 per cent over a three- to five-year period; 7 per cent country by country; and 12 per cent on some other basis. It is important, though, to take into account that different policy elements may be phased out, or removed, at different periods. Housing and education support typically are phased out, while benefits such as cost of living and home leave may be removed immediately. The country is also an important factor – for instance, Cartus reports localisation most likely to take place in the USA, Singapore and Switzerland. Localisation becomes more feasible in high-pay/standardof-living countries than in developing nations. Localisation is a complex and challenging subject for relocation professionals, as it involves not only relatively short-term relocation-policy considerations, but also longerterm issues, such as tax, pensions and social security. The decision to localise an expatriate and family, transitioning to local terms and conditions, therefore, needs to take into account a wide spectrum of employment issues. Flexibility in policy design and implementation will probably be required to address business drivers and employee career and family circumstances.

See the International Assignments section of for updates and practical advice 16 | Re:locate | Spring 2013


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global management

Connecting with the next generation

As Baby Boomers retire at ever-increasing rates, Generation Y – or ‘Millennials’ as they are also known – are entering global -mobility talent pipelines to take their place. Ruth Holmes talks tactics in the global war for talent.


n the coming years, because of falling birth rates, fewer younger people will support growing ageing populations in most developed economies as Baby Boomers – those born between 1946 and1964 – retire. As the timer on the demographic time bomb fast approaches zero, this long-discussed trend is now becoming reality. With this new normal comes the need for new approaches to attracting, retaining and compensating a new generation of leaders – the first to come of age in the second millennium. Born after 1980, Generation Y will make up threequarters of the global workforce by 2025. Any new approach needs to encompass both consumers’ and employees’ expectations of services and employment in the 21st century. While such demographic labels can fail to account for the full diversity of these 75 million young people, sound research has helped to identify and extract the key characteristics of this generation as they stand today. The findings, of course, are rich in insights for responding to global-mobility trends. One of three essential characteristics generally credited to Generation Y and their contemporary forebears in the workplace, Generation X and the Baby Boomers, is that the vast majority have an expectation of work-related travel. This new generation of leaders will actively seek international experiences and regard them as “a rite of passage and a requirement”, says a new report by MOVE Guides, Gen Y and Global Mobility. A huge 93 per cent of those surveyed for the report (around 700 students and young professionals in the US and UK, most living in urban hubs and studying for advanced degrees) said that they expected to live and work abroad during their careers.

18 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

Raised with a global mindset For Generation Y, global mobility is a state of being and way of life more than a fast track to financial gain and stability – the second crucial difference between this generation and previous ones. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report Talent Mobility 2020, published in 2010, was one of the first to identify these twin characteristics of the global work aspirations of the upcoming generation and sums these characteristics up: “Their focus is on interest and opportunity, not necessarily monetary rewards, and we foresee for them a fundamental change in the assignment duration, package type, and value.” Generation Y’s motivation stems from an already global outlook, as identified in reports such as Deloitte’s 2011 research Global Mobility: Fostering a Global Mindset. This is the product of growing up with globalisation, where barriers to travel and other cultures have all but disappeared. Being born into the digital age, Generation Y practically has technology in its DNA. Its attitude to technology is its third broad – and, some would say, its most – defining characteristic. This cohort is more highly attached to technology than any other generation, is comfortable with ICT, and is technology literate. With this comes a greater expectation of transparency and connectivity – as well as a greater degree of autonomy than their predecessors.

Responding to the new generation In the US, the Pew Research Center has surveyed Generation Y (‘Millennials’ in its report’s parlance) and interrogated US census data to describe the key qualitative characteristics of this generation as: •C  onfident, connected, open to change •E  thnically more diverse and more educated than elders •T  rust an issue: being a good parent, having a successful marriage, helping others in need, owning a home and living a religious life all feature ahead of a high-paying career, which takes sixth place • Technology and social life are fused Again, above all else, Pew notes this cohort’s “technological exceptionalism” as a major trend throughout the findings. We can overlay these characteristics onto what we already know about the future of global mobility – more assignments to a greater number of destinations undertaken by more employees and for a greater diversity of durations – to determine how relocation can best serve Generation Y. Gen Y and Global Mobility suggests that the needs and perspectives of Generation Y will “fundamentally change global mobility at organizations big and small. The challenge for global mobility experts will be giving

Generation Y the autonomy and transparency that they want when moving and working abroad, but still offering sufficient support.” Companies are starting to consider measures which both ensure that talent can move more frequently, freely and flexibly and accommodate individual needs within the confines of corporate policy while maintaining the allimportant elements of trust and cost efficiency. The report advises that forward-thinking employers should “foster global opportunities, offer compelling global opportunities and treat employees as consumers” in order to fully leverage demographic trends and align with the best talent as an attractive employer. Indeed, while an expectation of travel is prevalent among Generation Y, it is on their own terms. As the Pew research highlights, family, friends and autonomy come first; financial rewards and careers come further down the priority list, which means that employers need to meet these needs just as they would a customer’s.

A self-service approach Given this cohort’s unique relationship with technology, it is no surprise that 91 per cent of the young people surveyed for the MOVE Guides report indicated a strong preference for researching, planning and paying for their international assignments online in a markedly self-service approach to global mobility. Compelling technological solutions will, therefore, be foremost for companies striving to meet Generation Y’s globalmobility requirements. “We are already seeing increased demand for digital solutions for their international relocations,” says MOVE Guides. “This will mean changes in the technologies and support provided to internationally mobile staff.” “[Generation Y] also expect to use many of the features of the consumer web – social networks, customer reviews and price comparison – to book services related to their professional life,” says Gen Y and Global Mobility. “Leading global mobility programmes will introduce new technologies into policy management and deployment that include the preferences of Gen Y. This will help global mobility departments benefit from better data and lower costs, and help organizations benefit from improved employee satisfaction and retention.” The future looks set to become a place where global-mobility departments will increasingly support Generation Y employees who are empowered to make their own decisions and manage their own tasks through further segmentation in policies and service providers, and the increasing use of permanent transfers, lump-sum moves (see p56) and ‘expat-light’ policies. In many ways, then, it could be argued that the future is already here. The question is: is your organisation ready for it?

See the International Assignments section of for updates and practical advice | 19

global management

Beyond budgeting Can ‘Beyond Budgeting’ provide a useful model for multinational companies seeking to manage, and motivate, their international assignees? Mostafa Al-Mossallami examines the evidence.


jarte Bogsnes is a leading pioneer of the ‘Beyond Budgeting’ movement, and his book Implementing Beyond Budgeting is essential reading for anyone involved in managing finance, from HR professionals to chief financial officers. Currently VP of performance management Bjarte Bogsnes development at oil and gas giant Statoil, Mr Bogsnes chairs the Beyond Budgeting Round Table, which began as a small group of companies and now has more than 60 members. In his presentation to December’s Emerging Markets HR Summit in London, Bjarte Bogsnes used as case studies two Beyond Budgeting projects he had directed. One was with pharmaceuticals company Borealis, the other with Statoil. International assignments are, of course, particularly important in the energy sector, so having a flexible budgeting system is key to success. The impetus for change came when Bjarte Bogsnes and his colleagues realised the flaws in traditional budgeting. On the one hand, it was supposed to set targets, but, at the same time, it was a form of financial forecasting. They argued that this set a ceiling for targets and a floor for costs, satisfying neither employees’ ambitions nor companies’ desire for expansion. Also, they believed that traditional budgeting promoted a centralised framework where decisions and responsibility, along with power, lay in the hands of a few key individuals, and isolated other employees. Beyond Budgeting emerged as an answer. In essence, it is a dynamic way of integrating performance management with strategy,

20 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

finance and human resources. Instead of high-level financial and tax planning, rolling quarterly financial forecasts are implemented; instead of setting targets, targets are placed on the balanced scorecard; instead of controlling fixed costs, cost targets are set where and when necessary. Mr Bogsnes and his colleagues found that this enabled an organisation to respond rapidly to threats and opportunities, attract and retain the best talent, encourage and enable continuous innovation, drive operational excellence, win loyal and profitable customers, support good governance and ethical behaviour, and promote sustained value creation.

Benefits of Beyond Budgeting International assignees and relocatees can benefit from Beyond Budgeting because of the decentralising of decisions and authority it enforces. A company’s performance management needs to be inclusive of all employees and facilitate the achievement of targets and the rewarding of talent. An employee who has been relocated away from the centre of an organisation risks being isolated from that organisation’s culture and values. Beyond Budgeting can resolve this by opening the door for employees to propose and carry out strategic projects throughout the year, knowing that the budget is flexible. Speaking to Re:locate, Bjarte Bogsnes said, “Relocation is a business decision that involves both costs and benefits. Forcing all such decisions to be made once a year in a budget can reduce the decision quality. The best decisions are made at the right time – as late as possible – and at the right level, which is not always at the top.” What’s more, closely aligning rewards and targets to a regularly assessed budget is a practical way of integrating all the employees across a business, because they become major stakeholders in the performancemanagement process. The lesson of Beyond Budgeting is that flexibility does not necessarily

equate with losing control. Allowing budgetary decisions to be made as and when required means that an organisation can get more out of its employees by supporting them in innovating and achieving their targets. Where Beyond Budgeting trumps traditional budgeting is in its ability to quantify cost and maximise benefit, to both the assignee and the organisation.


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Unilever case study Multinational consumer company Unilever has found Beyond Budgeting to be a resounding success, and there are few multinationals larger than Unilever, which has 250,000 employees and a presence in 150 countries. To address the conflicting nature of traditional budgeting, Unilever moved its budgeting from ‘fixed, annual, negotiated’ to ‘flexible, continuous, improvement compared to peers’ in three steps: 1. Moving away from the constraints of the financial year to allow greater flexibility. 2. Breaking the constraints of the financial year and making performance management continuous. 3.  Creating an adaptive system which factored in the relative performance of others to the targetsetting process. According to Unilever, these steps improved corporatelevel planning because “the majority of budgeting activity is carried out at relatively low levels of the business – and this is where most of its negative effects are felt. But, at least in our business, a significant barrier to change is the corporate (high-level) requirement for budgets, or detailed annual plans.”

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global management

Women leaders Assigning the way to a more female future

International projects are essential for ensuring that high-potential female employees reach board level, writes Ruth Holmes. Smart companies, therefore, are identifying their female high-fliers, allocating them â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;hot jobsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and securing the competitive advantages of a more diverse talent pool.

22 | Re:locate | Spring 2013


reater female workforce participation is playing a critical role in ensuring that companies remain competitive. Falling birth rates and changing social trends have seen more young women leave school better qualified than their male peers and a significant flow of well-educated females entering the workforce. Yet women in business have yet to make their impact felt at senior levels. Data from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows that, while 69 per cent of junior executive workers are female, a much smaller percentage are making it into top roles. Just 40 per cent of department heads are female, and only one in four (24 per cent) becomes chief executive. Prime Minister David Cameron recently admitted that he had insufficient women in his Cabinet and in the House of Commons (only 50 of the Conservative Party’s 300 MPs are female), and highlighted a lack of female talent in business and the judiciary. Ministers have said that firms should aim to have at least one woman director for every three men by 2015, although they have yet to back the kind of mandatory quotas that have been introduced in France, Spain, Italy, Iceland and Belgium. However, according to the Government, some progress has been made over the past two-and-a-half years, with the number of Britain’s largest publicly quoted companies that have all-male boards falling from 21 to seven. Female representation on FTSE boards has also risen to a record high of 16 per cent in recent years, but ministers would like to see it reach at least 25 per cent. Nevertheless, following Dame Marjorie Scardino’s retirement as CEO of publishing firm Pearson last year and Cynthia Carroll’s departure from the top job at mining company Anglo American, there are now only two FTSE 100 companies with female chief executives, Burberry and Imperial Tobacco. All this has worrying consequences for UK and corporate performance.

Pay and expectations High-flying women’s career trajectories tail off for many complex, interconnected and individual reasons. Expectation (for example, female graduates anticipate a lower starting salary than their male peers), career breaks (raising a family and eldercare), lack of flexible working arrangements, and no discernible route to the top jobs are just some of the reasons women at work are failing to stake their claim to high-level leadership roles. For the CMI, pay – or the undervaluation of women’s work – is the turnkey issue. Its chief executive, Ann Francke, says, “Women seem to disappear in businesses when they should be rising up the ranks. The pay gap is one of the root causes of this. We need more transparency from companies on the issue of pay.” Fairer pay would be a first step in ensuring that men and women could share

parental leave – and go some way in mitigating the effect it can have on careers.

Women and global mobility The gender ‘talent leak’ also plays through to mobility. Women are equally under-represented in global management roles, further stymieing meaningful career progression and ensuring the cycle of low female workforce attainment continues. International experience is a vital prerequisite for director and leadership roles. Today, every board member’s CV is expected to showcase international experience, exposure to, and familiarity with, new and emerging markets, and a management style that embraces a global mindset and values diversity. The reasons for female under-representation in mobility are again complex, and correspond with those in the wider talent pool. They also feed into misconceptions around gender and mobility. These include the idea that women don’t want international assignments, and that dual careers and trailing spouses are solely a women’s issue. Yet research into what Generation Y wants from employers by global employer-branding consultant Universum shows this isn’t the case: both genders seek international experience, UK ‘Milliennial’ women even more than men. “International moves are desired more by women because they are extremely dedicated and committed to their careers and more aware of the value of mobility for career progression,” explains Claudia Tattanelli, chairman of the strategic board at Universum. “However, even among the women and men most willing to relocate, more men were given international assignments and more women were never asked. In the long run, this provides fewer top management positions and lower salaries for women.” Fleur Bothwick, OBE, director of diversity and inclusive leadership for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa at Ernst & Young, also notes, “Recent research reminded us that you should never make assumptions about what someone is interested and willing to do. Working for a global organisation, it is important to give all of our people opportunities to work cross-culturally and internationally, and that includes our women. “This exposure is an important part of their personal and professional development, and, perhaps most important, it supports their ability to advance their career through to partnership.” By debunking the myths, rethinking what is possible and adopting fresh, inclusive approaches to attracting and retaining high-potential candidates, who value diversity, HR strategists and board leaders can re-engage with their female high-fliers, meet market demands better, and redress the boardroom imbalance. These approaches are less about | 23

global management

equal opportunities and more about creating equality of opportunities through treating people differently in ways that are fair and tailored to their needs.

Mentoring or sponsoring? Says Claudia Tattanelli, “Up to now, mentoring has been seen as the way for women to speak up, break through and acquire the skills to make it to board level. But often, mentors haven’t offered the right leadership or insights needed for progression. Women are frequently nominated for mentoring programmes without seeing an impact on their careers.” Instead, to address talent shortages, progressive employers are setting up informal and formal networks to identify key individuals and actively break down barriers to women’s advancement at work. “In driving change, these companies are allocating ‘hot jobs’ – those that are large, visible or mission-critical projects or international assignments – in deliberate and strategic ways to advance women,” says Claudia Tattanelli. “Women need these opportunities, as most career development happens on the job. These companies are not leaving it to chance, and sponsors are advocating from behind closed doors to help women get the hot jobs they deserve.” Mara Lucini, senior manager of Hewlett-Packard’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) recruitment leadership team, says, “Transparency is very important to our recruitment procedures, and we support this with leadership at high levels and across the organisation. We run personalised coaching and mentoring schemes for our fast-track women talent. “Hiring managers also receive training, so that the recruitment process, from job descriptions to interviews, is a fairer process for everyone. Mobility is also important to networking and creating a robust talent pipleine. Highpotential employees on both our experienced and graduate fast-track programmes have the opportunity to network and have their talent spotted at head office level in Palo Alto, in the US.” In line with this focused approach to leveraging knowledge and networks, a number of new, very intensive and high-quality academic fellowships aimed specifically at advancing and preparing women for corporate boardroom leadership are developing. Their aim is to help re-energise the global talent pool by building a pipeline of women prepared to serve on the boards of leading international companies.

Tailored mobility For mobility, more inclusive practices might include the adoption of a clear career progression/matrix that includes international experience early on. High-potential women can, therefore, secure their first global expertise ahead of any career break, with the variety of assignment types supporting mobility in the future. However, to be

24 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

truly effective, women also need to be equipped with the right skills to negotiate and network their way up the career ladder. So, by making a firm commitment to supporting equality of opportunity as part of employer brand values and rethinking practices to support this, there should be no excuse for female under-representation at senior levels – and without the need for further legislation.

Assignee viewpoint Shân Norman, Crown World Mobility’s director for EMEA, has lived outside the UK for nine years during her career, and feels this has benefited her in many ways. “I’m no stranger to the challenges of relocating, with many obstacles to work through, family to settle and a new job to understand, but being prepared is key,” she says.


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Although forward-thinking organisations around the world now recognise the vital contribution made by younger employees (see p18), few really understand what makes Generation Y tick. And, despite decades of equal opportunities legislation in the West, and heated debates on quotas for women on boards and all-women shortlists in politics, there has, so far, been little research on how gender and generation come together in the contemporary workplace. Now, drawing on original research, Rising Stars shows organisations how to understand, and develop, young professional women with the potential to be future business leaders. The author, Dr Elisabeth Kelan, is an associate professor in the Department of Management at King’s College, London. Published by Palgrave Macmillan, £26 How is your organisation championing tomorrow’s women leaders? Let us know your views on this key topic for global business by emailing

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve found relocating to be a life- and career-enriching experience. It has helped me so much in my dealings with clients and colleagues, and in managing major assignee populations globally. â&#x20AC;&#x153;An international assignment is invaluable to career development in any global business, but we are not seeing

Promoting diversity at EDF Energy At Decemberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Emerging Markets HR Summit, Kathryn Reeves, of EDF Energy, gave a fascinating presentation on the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Network. EDF recognised that greater diversity was needed in its workforce, particularly at senior level. The Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Network was set up in 2009 to promote the diversity needed to recruit and retain the best female talent, particularly in engineering, and now has around 600 members. Its Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Development Programme encourages women to aspire to leadership roles and supports them to achieve their goals, enhancing their visibility through workshadowing of senior colleagues, and establishing strong networks of women to support each other in career development. A mentoring scheme involves 18 per cent of network members. Mentors are both male (the majority) and

the growth in the percentage of female assignees we expected â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still hovering at under 20 per cent. For those women who do undertake such assignments, the progression of their future career can be to the highest levels within their organisations.â&#x20AC;?

female, and a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;matchmakingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; approach enables women to benefit from mentors from other business areas. Challenges included getting employee buy-in. This was done by demonstrating the business case for optimising talent. Some women were initially resistant, because they wanted to progress on their own merits, without being seen to have additional support. Some staff questioned the absence of a menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s network. The key learning points to emerge were: senior support and sponsorship were essential, as was buy-in from male employees; the network must deliver tangible benefits to its members and be steered by the right people; and the networkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s benefits must be measurable. So far, EDF has found a 15 per cent increase in the number of women who said they that they would consider a promotion they would not have considered before following their participation in the mentoring scheme.

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international banking advertorial

Banking made easier for international assignees International assignees coming to the UK welcome any assistance available to help them to settle into their new country. Neil Barsby, head of NatWest Global Employee Banking, explains how NatWest Global can help.


e know that international assignees often need to hit the ground running. The quicker they settle in the UK, the sooner they can focus fully on their new role. For many HR professionals and relocation agents, that means not just helping out with visas and work permits, but also supporting international assignees to arrange accommodation and schools, putting them in touch with healthcare professionals, and so on. Our experience tells us that, in many cases, a vital building block of the relocation package – the early opening of a bank account – is being left to the last minute. The bank account should be the cornerstone of the relocation strategy. If it is not up and running by the time they arrive, employees coming into the UK, or ‘inpats’, may be unable to deal with many of the most pressing priorities they face. When it comes to what is top of the list for inpats, our conversations with HR professionals and relocation agents have shown clear areas of priority. In their opinion, accommodation was a key priority. Schooling and healthcare

26 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

were areas of concern for an international assignee arriving in the UK. Arranging banking was seen as a priority by a surprisingly low number, even though, without a functioning bank account, it is difficult, verging on impossible, to deal with those issues perceived as being more important. By encouraging your international assignees to set up a bank account before they arrive, the transition towards becoming a fully functioning member of the UK workforce will happen more easily. Arranging for payment of property rentals, utility bills, home and car insurance, school fees and private healthcare will all be considerably more straightforward for them if they think ahead and arrange their banking before they leave their home country. Feedback tells us that one of the key reasons why HR professionals and relocation agents do not encourage the arrangement of a bank account for their assignees sooner is a lack of understanding of how easy it is to open an account before the assignee has left their home country. Some inpats do not see opening a bank account as a priority, and believe this could be more easily arranged once they have moved to the UK.

Catch-22 Many inpats who walk into a high-street bank to open an account will find themselves in a Catch-22 situation. Some high-street banksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; branches may not be set up to take on overseas clients with ease. Whilst inpats will be able to satisfy the ID check with a passport or a driving licence, many may struggle to produce some form of proof of address, such as a utility bill, which they are unlikely to be able to provide for some time. Fortunately, there are services that help meet the relocation challenges faced by overseas workers coming to the UK. With many years of experience, NatWest Global Employee Banking offers a dedicated fast-track service that enables corporate employees coming to the UK to establish accounts with a leading-brand bank before they leave their home country. Free to both employers and employees, the service has helped thousands of inpats relocating. The precise needs of individuals can vary widely, and, as such, NatWest offers a variety of onshore and offshore products and services to meet our customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs. Feedback has told us that some people believe that offshore accounts can be more expensive than onshore ones, but this is a misconception. Our Select account, which offers everyday banking, has no monthly account fee, and is available to both offshore and onshore customers. There is also a misconception that opening an offshore account can be complex. You will not be creating any extra work for your payroll department by offering them a choice of an offshore account. Our sterling offshore accounts have a UK clearing-system sort code, making payments in and out as simple as with onshore accounts. Once an account is open, relationship managers can assist assignees with satisfying their more complex financial requirements, perhaps in relation to mortgages or credit cards (products and services subject to criteria). We would always recommend that inpats consider obtaining tax advice to assist them in ensuring the decisions they make are right for their own individual circumstances.

We are always happy to consider new opportunities or introductions to corporate organisations (subject to our minimum criteria) that may benefit from this service. If this free service may be of interest to you, please contact Neil Barsby, head of NatWest Global Employee Banking, directly on 01245 355628 or via email at

Be prepared It goes without saying that a functioning bank account can help employees integrate into the UK far more quickly in their first weeks and months here. We would encourage employers to take advantage of our services before their assignees arrive in the UK. Our dedicated service also works well for those who have recently arrived. We are happy to talk to individuals about the process over the telephone, and, for companies within the central London area, we are happy to arrange a meeting to assist with the application process. Setting up a new life in a new country is exciting, but even the most focused person may be distracted by the challenges it presents. Setting up a bank account ahead of arrival is the foundation upon which many other relocation services are based.

For more information and details of the accounts NatWest Global offers, visit, or contact Neil Barsby on 01245 355628.

The Global Employee Banking service is offered by National Westminster Bank Plc. Registered in England No. 929027. 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3UR. National Westminster Bank authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Our services are not offered to any person in any jurisdiction where their advertisement, offer or sale is restricted or prohibited by law or regulation or where we are not appropriately licensed. Calls may be recorded. Internet emails are not necessarily secure, as information might be intercepted, lost or destroyed. Please do not email any account or other confidential information. | 27

policy & practice

Long-term assignments The full package

Despite an increasing organisational emphasis on the use of short-term, commuter and other alternative types of international mobility, long-term assignments remain the most commonly used assignment type. Sue Shortland reports on the elements that typically comprise a long-term assignment package, and trends in provision.


ong-term assignments are defined as being over a year in length. It is usual practice for organisations to have developed comprehensive policies of support and implementation practices in respect of such mobility, to ensure that assignees and their families are treated consistently, transparently, and with equity. According to Santa Feâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Global Mobility Survey Report for 2012, 62 per cent of organisations report that their most common assignment length is between one and three years (up 2 per cent on 2011), while 14 per cent of firms (in both 2012 and 2011) most frequently use assignments over three years long. It is notable that the Cartus 2012 Trends in Global Relocation survey also finds that the use of long-term assignments is increasing. Indeed, Brookfieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Global Relocation Trends 2012 Survey Report indicates that 96 per cent of organisations have long-term assignment policies currently in place. Regrettably, publicly available data on policy components for long-term assignments (as for other assignment types) most usually remain included in benchmarking reports/ clubs, and are thus restricted to participating organisations. Despite this setback, there are snippets of valuable data to be found in the public domain. For example, Table 1 lists the most commonly provided elements within international relocation packages, as given by Santa Fe (although its survey does not distinguish between policy elements by assignment type). As can be seen, the top 10 elements most frequently included in assignment policy are: immigration visas and work permits; temporary housing; medical cover; household moving; pay arrangements; relocation allowances; tax briefing and equalisation; destination services; social security; and cost-of-living allowances.

Table 1: Most typical elements included in international relocation policy International relocation policy element

Santa Fe (%) 2012 2011

Immigration visas/work permits



Temporary housing



Medical cover



Pay arrangements



Household moving



Tax briefing and equalisation



Relocation allowance


Destination services



Social security



Cost-of-living allowance (COLA)


Settling-in support



Language training



Accompanying partner assistance



Cultural training



Hardship allowance


Career management/mentoring



Tenancy management






Property management



Home sale






continues on p30 28 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

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policy & practice

Despite the growth in the use of alternative types of assignment, Santa Fe’s report notes that the structure of relocation packages remains broadly unchanged. Nonetheless, some trends can be identified from its data. The figures shaded in grey in Table 1 indicate where employers appear to be reducing support (as recorded by reduced inclusion of particular elements in policy). In particular, support for language training, social security and household moving emerge as the policy items that are declining quite significantly in terms of being likely to be included within employers’ policy provision. Cartus reports that, while the use of long-term assignments is increasing, there is a simultaneous reduction in benefit levels in this type of policy. It notes that, out of a total of 41 components, 35 are offered less frequently, four are offered equally, and only two have increased since its previous survey report, published in 2010. A comparison between Cartus data for 2010 and 2012 suggests that the following policy elements for long-term assignments are in decline: non-accompanying dependants’ visits; pre-assignment trips; children’s education assistance; host transportation allowance/vehicle provision; host location departure assistance; medical examinations; language training; temporary living; storage of household goods; foreign service/mobility premiums and incentives; and host-country housing allowances/differential. International assignment policies typically comprise elements of remuneration, as well as allowances and benefits. Salary, tax, pensions and healthcare are highcost items in the international-assignment package. Their calculation and delivery may be based on home, host, a third country, headquarters, global, or some other location-based approach. Table 2 presents a summary of the frequency with which organisations include elements of remuneration within their long-term assignment policies linked to location, drawn from Cartus and Brookfield data. As can be seen, a home-based remuneration approach is most prevalent, with home-country compensation, delivery via home-country payroll, and tax equalisation applied. Pension provision is also typically home-country based. Healthcare, however, is predominantly offered via international healthcare plans.

Data interpretation To interpret these data, it is important to remember that the reworking of policy components (the introduction of new elements and removal of others) does not necessarily reflect a worsening of the terms and conditions under which assignees take up long-term mobility. The nature of the assignee population is changing (it is getting younger), and this will influence the nature of the benefits required. For example, there may be a reduced requirement to support children’s education, non-accompanying dependants’ visits, and spouse/partner assistance, if the assignee is

30 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

unattached and has no children. Property management and storage of household goods may be less likely to be supported if assignees rent property in the home country, or live with their parents. These issues suggest that employers are attempting to continue to support assignment preparation through providing pre-departure and on-arrival support, but are doing so in a manner more closely tailored to employee need and cost-effectiveness. For example, Brookfield notes that 85 per cent employers regard cross-cultural training as being good or great value. It is also notable that survey commentary on benefits reduction is most usually based on inclusion/exclusion in policy. Of course, this does not really tell us about the nature of the benefits provided and whether these are included but trimmed back, delivered with no amendments, or being delivered but increased financially over time.

Table 2: Long-term international remuneration policy components Cartus 2012 (%)

Brookfield 2012 (%)

Home-country compensation



Host-country compensation



Headquarters approach



International remuneration policy element

International cadre


Net to net


Other approach


Home-country payroll used


Host-country payroll used


Combination of host/home payroll used


Offshore (third-country) payroll used


Other approach to payroll used


Home-country healthcare plan used


Host-country healthcare plan used


International healthcare plan used


Other healthcare plan used


Tax equalisation used


85 (host) 84 (home)

Tax protection used


6 (host) 4 (home)

Employee responsible for tax (laissez-faire)


9 (host) 12 (home)

Other tax approach used


Home-country pension plan used


Host-country pension plan used


Global/international pension plan used



However, given that organisations are particularly mindful of cost control in the current economic climate, and discussion within expatriate forums frequently revolves around how to encourage assignees to undertake expatriation through competitive and motivational policy provision whilst balancing this against the need to reduce expenditure (that is, how to do more with less), it is most likely that provision of remuneration and benefits is being scaled back where possible. It is also being delivered in the most tax-effective manner. One interesting point, though, concerns Cartus’s finding that employers are increasingly attaching repayment or ‘clawback’ clauses to international assignments. Its report indicates that the use of repayment clauses has increased from 49 per cent in 2010 to 61 per cent in 2012.

Gleaning snippets of data from different surveys is, of course, to be treated with some caution, given that data collection is carried out in different periods, it reflects practices from different types of organisation (including profit and not-for profit, private- and public-sector), and draws upon organisations headquartered/based in different worldwide locations (with different cultural traditions and local practices of supporting assignee mobility). Nonetheless, the data can help to guide relocation professionals in their long-term international-assignment policy design and review, assisting them by determining the frequency with which certain policy components are found, and helping them to understand why policy change is taking place.

Talent management A tale of two policies Increasingly diverse approaches to global mobility have led to some very different – yet equally successful – approaches to building and deploying key talent globally. Ruth Holmes reports from the Worldwide ERC Global Mobility Summit in London.


he Weichert Relocation Resources-led seminar Trends@Work – How Emerging Practices Are Being Handled played host to two global leaders in their field talking about their approaches to mobility. Samantha Rowley, relocation manager at GlaxoSmithKline, described to around 75 delegates how global mobility and international moves were “key cogs” in the talent-management strategy at the global healthcare company. Mobility is being used as a strategic resourcing tool to develop future leaders with international experience. Here, assignments are approved by the executive board, to ensure tie-in to strategy, and the company is developing more flexible mobility options to suit business needs. Although it has a very similar rationale for international mobility, international consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser’s approach contrasted markedly with GlaxoSmithKline’s for its lack of host/home-country approach and its way of ‘rethinking mobility’. Bola Ogun, compensation and benefits director at Reckitt Benkiser Group, explained how the company was “departing from conventional wisdom to transfer employees globally.” He explained that the company had “no expats in the traditional sense”, which eliminated the need for “balance-sheet approaches to compensation, cost-ofliving comparisons and payments.” Nevertheless, mobility strategy remains absolutely linked to business strategy.

Like other truly global companies, Reckitt Benckiser prides itself on meeting local market needs globally. For all its products, its strategy is to be the number-one or number-two best-selling line in each market. For this, internationally mobile employees must be “quick and agile learners” who are willing to move from location to location on local-country terms, to immerse themselves in the new home country and climb the corporate career ladder. Globally mobile employees are employed on the hostcountry’s contract, payroll and local benefits packages. “While there is an international medical policy [and a limited orientation package], mobile workers are fundamentally on the host-country package, to ensure they integrate into the local business as quickly as possible. It’s not a case of expats and others,” said Bola Ogun. Tellingly, Reckitt Benckiser’s top 400 executives are not currently based in their original home country, and the company has around 1,000 of its 28,000 employees worldwide in similar situations. Asked by a delegate how the company could get its talent to move, Bola Ogun explained that career development and attitudes played a vital role in corporate culture. “The carrot is a place on the international committee, for which people need to do at least three or four moves. If they can see their boss and those around them on the same package and it’s a cultural norm, then people do it. It is critical for their career.”

See the International Assignments section of for updates and practical advice

Policy | 31



Is serviced accommodation in the right locations?

Is the serviced accommodation industry meeting the requirements of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s global relocation market? Fiona Murchie considers whether it is planning ahead and anticipating the relocation sectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs in the right geographical locations, or following behind once a need has been established. And is the model any different in emerging markets?

32 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

Jumeirah Living, Grosvenor House Apartments, London, UK

serviced apartments

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© 2013 Oakwood Worldwide | 33

serviced apartments


hen I first published Re:locate in 2004, the location of serviced apartments in major UK cities was a good indication of relocation hotspots and where international businesses were clustered. Today, with global growth high on the agenda for Western economies and emerging countries with global ambitions, it seems appropriate to take the temperature of the growing serviced-apartment sector. This solution fits the bill for many relocation variants, from short-term assignments, to temporary accommodation ahead of finding a long-term property, to project work and commuter assignments. The possibilities are many and flexible, and the introduction of tiered products to meet different budgets has seen the industry take control of grading, providing the transparency that corporate HR are looking for.

Businesses on the move Is this thriving sector, with its origins in the US and familiar in Europe, Australia and Asia, keeping pace with global relocation trends? To a housing solution that is predominantly focused on the business-travel market, how important is the relocation sector? One side of the picture is outsourcing to lowercost emerging markets, which has fuelled the need for international assignments, particularly in the manufacturing and IT sectors. Although the outsourced work is carried out by local staff in countries like China and India, companies have needed project teams to set things up, and required regional offices with longerterm assignees in place to establish relationships and liaise between regions, ensuring a flow of business travellers. All these groups have welcomed serviced accommodation as a temporary housing solution. Looking at outsourcing trends throws light on where global employees are heading. The trend for reshoring, too, could impact on the serviced accommodation market. The perception of offshoring and the threat of losing jobs have had a negative effect on globalisation in the rich world, including the UK, Europe and the US. The resulting trend for reshoring is due to a number of factors, including economics. The draw of low costs is waning in some emerging markets, notably China, where labour costs have soared, with wages up 20 per cent a year, and manufacturing has become more automated, further reducing labour costs. However, countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh are now seen as competitive alternatives. The trend is similar in services, with companies bringing their call centres home from India, as has been the case for some well-known financial and utility services in the UK. However, professional services and consultancy are in demand, as are a range of specialists who can share their knowledge and expertise with emerging-market countries hungry for the know-how, across a variety of sectors, to take them to the next level.

In our Summer 2013 issue, we’ll be looking in more depth at the trend for offshoring and reshoring.

Interpreting mobility surveys As relocation has become more complex and global, there is no shortage of established surveys from the relocation management companies. Cartus’s 2012 survey had an interesting focus on global challenges, which not only teased out what issues nearly 200 global companies were struggling with but also mapped worldwide relocation activity. China’s pre-eminence is underscored by its relative importance to the future business goals of participating companies. Almost half the respondents said that Greater China was among the most important, followed by North America (42 per cent) and Europe (33 per cent). Again, the Indian subcontinent was rated lower (at 20 per cent) than many might expect, behind Central and South America and South East Asia (27 per cent) and the Middle East (21 per cent). Housing emerged as one of the top three challenges by region, with 41 per cent of respondents considering it a significant challenge. The greatest degree of challenge in housing (availability, suitability, price) was in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Greater China, Central and South America, and North and Central Asia, including Eastern Russia. The least challenge for housing was in North America, followed by Europe and Oceania, perhaps helped by the presence of a developed serviced-accommodation sector there. Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) recent New World of Cities Report: Redefining the Real Estate Investment Map found that 30 cities accounted for half the world’s total real-estate investment volumes between 2008 and 2011. The top five cities – London, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong and Paris – were responsible for nearly 25 per cent of volumes. Though some emerging markets, such as Shanghai, Moscow and Sao Paulo, had risen up the ranks, the top 30, says JLL, have been relatively consistent in recent years. However, it adds, this pattern is in “enormous contrast to the activities of the major corporate occupiers, who are moving deeper into new geographies.” Such reports offer a good indication of where serviced accommodation will be required to satisfy housing needs. Whether providers are up for the challenge remains to be seen.

Providers responding? The 2012 relocation-industry surveys show that employees are following business needs to investigate new markets, establish offices and projects, and start up new companies in emerging markets. So how is this reflected in serviced accommodation provision? continues on p36

34 | Re:locate | Spring 2013


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Ascott, Somerset Vista, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

serviced apartments

The Apartment Service (TAS) publishes an annual report on the state of the worldwide serviced apartment sector. It has found that operators, particularly the larger ones, are concentrating on expanding in the Far East, especially various Chinese cities. There is also increased activity in Latin and South America, and growing interest in Africa. According to Charles McCrow, of TAS, the latest survey results show that the challenges faced by travel-management companies and corporates where serviced-apartment accommodation is concerned are not enough choice and availability in desired locations, no (or limited) online booking capability, and lack of product understanding. To overcome these, he says, the industry needs to continue to source the right products in the right places, and develop its presence on the GDS and other online booking platforms (which are almost always suitable only for short-term bookings). Where a longer-term relocation is concerned, more face-to-face planning between booker and provider is required, and online booking should be an option.

Asia Pacific Asia is the relocation hotspot, and serviced accommodation is already well established there. The Ascott is the world’s largest servicedapartment company, with 176 properties and 22,648 accommodation units in 74 cities across 21 countries. It has apartments throughout Asia, focusing on areas where there is a strong presence of high-finance and high-tech industries. Important to all three of its brands

36 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

is the diplomatic sector, for which reason, it targets central locations in the most desirable areas of each city. Says Rebecca Hollants van Loocke, Ascott’s UK regional general manager, “Ascott has always held a long-term global growth plan to develop in key gateway cities and central hubs in emerging destinations. Expansion in China is currently an important focus; its buoyant economy attracts a healthy number of relocating clients. She adds that hotspot relocation destinations are important elements in Ascott’s sales and marketing strategy because the average relocation client’s booking yields a higher overall profit than that of the average business traveller – in part due to the fact that relocation clients tend to book for longer periods. Ascott has more than 9,100 accommodation units in development in 46 new locations. Expansion plans are heavily focused on China as well as India, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Europe, the primary focus is on Germany, London and Paris. The Citadines Apart’hotels brand, for example, has 14 properties in development – two in Germany and 12 in cities across China (Chengdu, Guangzhou, Xiamen), India (Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai), Indonesia (Jakarta, Surabaya) and the Philippines (Manila, Makati). Rebecca Hollants van Loocke points out that the serviced-apartment industry is better placed to help HR departments to overcome the ever-increasing challenge of housing availability, because it offers an entirely flexible product and offers greater value for money, especially when compared with alternative options such as hotel or long-term rented accommodation.

Patrick Hegan, of SilverDoor, is just back from India, and sees the country as a growing market attracting companies as an IT hub for the world. He cites Google opening in several locations as an example. There are an enormous variety of serviced apartments on offer, with a huge gulf between the very expensive and the very cheap, and very few mid-priced properties. On the cheaper side, there are lots of independent operators, but the culture is very different. In India, it is perfectly acceptable to provide rooms with shared facilities including bathroom, sitting area and kitchen, but the employees of most Western companies wouldn’t want to share. In terms of ‘serviced’, rather than offering a cleaning service once a week, this is likely to be provision of a cook catering for you at a low rate, an arrangement that reflects the availability of domestic staff. This culture would acceptable to most global serviced apartment users, and personal security could be an issue, particularly for women. Patrick Hegan emphasises the importance of SilverDoor’s role in checking out not only all properties but all units. He has come across some properties in use that were still under construction, without the safety regulations that would be required in the West. There is definitely a big influx of foreigners into India, but, he warns, culturally India has a lot to learn to keep up with the expectations of global users.

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Demand-led provision BridgeStreet’s supply chain and focus for new partners, units and solutions is led by the demand of corporate customers moving into new areas, says Stephen Hanton. Qualifying and developing options for relocation companies to use for assignees remains a priority and, therefore, an opportunity for planning and growth, particularly in less established locations. The company works closely with clients to understand the locations they may need in the next six months, or in two or three years, shaping its capabilities to meet their demands. Says Mr Hanton, “We often play an advisory role on the types of inventory available in secondary and tertiary markets, so expectations can be established at the onset of a project. As you’d expect, our clients have indicated the same location trends as reported in the recent Cartus survey. Our development priorities are primarily focused on North America, Europe and India for the next three years, while further developing our supply chain in Asia Pacific and South America.” Managing expectations of travellers pre-arrival, says Mr Hanton, is key to ensuring that the challenges of either established or emerging markets are kept to a minimum. “If a market has a limited service- apartment offering due to the non-existence of a recognised or established brand or product, the more that the relocation company can advise the assignee pre arrival and set expectations, the fewer challenges during the assignment. “Having a tiered product has helped us to set the expectations for relocation and corporate companies at all levels, from the booker to the assignee, as to the grade of accommodation, price point and services that are available to them. This has helped to ensure that disappointment is kept to a minimum in a emerging market with a limited service and product offering.” SilverDoor is a well-established, fast-growing booking agent with its sights set on global growth. It has a proactive approach, and clearly understands the international nature of its business. Already, it has 60 countries covered, including properties in India, Middle East and South America, which it has targeted for expansion. The aim is to be worldwide. It understands the importance of employing an international staff familiar with an extensive range of cultures and languages, who speak a number of languages. This has been particularly beneficial in securing and developing relationships with property partners in new countries.

South America Skyline Worldwide continues its expansion, now offering temporary accommodation in 21 cities throughout Brazil (11 of which will be host cities for the 2014 World Cup) and in key South American locations. Says Sabrina Carparelli, head of sales for EMEA, “Skyline continues on p40 | 37

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Oakwood, 10 York Apartments, Toronto, Canada

Worldwide is currently the most trusted servicedapartment provider in Brazil and the only all-round accommodation-solution provider in the South America region on an international level.” Of the company’s presence in Brazil, she says, “It could almost be said that it was a case of ‘in the right place, at the right time’. She explains that, when Skyline’s Brazilian managing director, Thiago Hahn, founded the company in London, Brazil was really starting to make headlines as one of the fastest-growing emerging economies. It wasn’t long before Mr Hahn decided to travel across Brazil looking for development opportunities. What he found was an extremely young and inexperienced serviced-apartment industry, with a lack of consistency and standards across the long-stay market. “Having opened an office in Sao Paulo last year,” says Sabrina Carparelli, “Skyline Worldwide is today a household name within the Brazilian serviced-apartment industry, and can handle the full accommodation cycle from start to finish, aligning the whole process with the expectations of international clients as a mature market, and handling all payments in all major currencies.” Skyline is clearly leading the way in Brazil, and, as the BRICS continue to underpin relocation patterns, any serviced-accommodation providers who can help fill the housing shortage need here should be watched.


How well do serviced apartments fit your needs? With different brands using different business models and with regional variations, how well can you define your serviced apartment needs and policy? Expert advice is at hand from the market specialists. Join the Global Serviced apartment induStry report 2013-14 debate in your region on linkedin at

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Oakwood, Farringdon Apartments, London, UK

Patrick Hegan, of SilverDoor, has noticed that the relocation companies are moving lots of people to South America on a temporary basis. The countries SilverDoor will be concentrating on are Brazil, Columbia, Chile and Argentina. South America is certainly a growth market. The drive seems to be coming from a variety of law firms and professionals expanding their global footprint in advance of companies setting up in these locations. There are particular challenges in Brazil, Patrick Hegan explains. Many of the local providers insist on payment in dollars. This is a historic situation hanging over from the high-inflation years when Brazil’s currency, the real, was worth virtually nothing. Brazil is host to the Olympics and Paralympics in 2016. Patrick Hegan observes that, ahead of these events and, indeed, any large sporting event, there is an advance contingent, as well as spectators, needing accommodation. But it doesn’t look good to global bookers if local providers concentrate on short-termism and seem to be greedy by cranking up rates. The typical scenario is for rates to fall near the event when there is availability. Even savvy media people now wait for prices to tumble nearer the time, he says. The Cartus report highlights Argentina, but Patrick Hegan points out the difficulties to be overcome, including the current political climate and the country’s economically isolated position. Cash in dollars is king, and there is a massive black-market economy. Payment via the USA isn’t a guarantee against fraud. There are

plenty of opportunities, but Argentina is not the safest of countries, and foreigners stand out.

Understanding global markets Oakwood Worldwide focuses on places in which it sees increasing customer demand. Says Jill Chapman, senior vice-president of global sales and marketing, “Our goal is to be wherever our customers need us to be. We’re able to do that because, in addition to our core inventory, we’ve built a strong supply chain in the last several years that has allowed us to expand our offerings to more than 25,000 locations in 55 countries.” Oakwood has a strong presence in Asia Pacific, through its supply-chain partners and via 25 Oakwood Asia Pacific-branded properties. A new property in Bangalore is due to open this summer. The company recently realigned its sales organisation for the Asia Pacific region and its sales leadership representing businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This, Ms Chapman explains, helps ensure it has appropriate on-the-ground resources to provide customers with local market knowledge coupled with global industry expertise. She goes on, “We have long-standing relationships with some of the world’s leading relocation companies, and we are fully entrenched in their business. If they need housing in a specific destination, then we will provide it. continues on p42 | 41

Jumeirah Living, Grosvenor House Apartments, London, UK

serviced apartments

“Canada is a great example. Although Oakwood has had a presence in Canada for the past 10 years, we recently opened an office in Toronto to support increased demand. We’re seeing that businesses involved in gas, energy and mining are sending teams into the more remote locations there, to explore their untapped natural resources. “We’re seeing a similar trend in Latin America, and we’re looking into increasing our presence in that region as well, within the next few months. In the US, our acquisition of the ExecuStay brand has broadened our footprint while giving us the industry’s only frequentguest programme through offering Marriott Rewards points for stays at ExecuStay apartments in the US and selected global locations. It could be a race against time for the true servicedaccommodation model in global expansion, as the apart’hotels, or extended-stay hotels, as they are also known, are incentivised to take on this market. What does Jill Chapman think a servicedaccommodation provider needs in order to be successful in the relocation market? “A strong supply chain with inventory, ready and available, anywhere customers need you to be; a staff of experts who have cultural competency in local customs and language nuances; someone who can prepare travellers for even the smallest expectations in their new apartment; and a plan to ensure the safety and security of guests and allow for business continuity in case of a crisis incident or natural disaster.”

London callling In 2012, London-based agent Go Native commissioned a report from Savills which revealed an undersupply of serviced accommodation in London compared with that available in New York. This is proof of how far the UK

42 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

has to go to reach the maturity of market sector to be found in the US and Asia Pacific. According to the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP), 2012 saw 720 new apartments in London. For the industry, the Olympic year meant business as usual; they were far more intent on keeping faith with existing clients than making quick wins on the strength of the Olympics. For some, this undoubtedly meant vacancies when business visitors stayed away fearing the disruption the Games would cause. The future is certainly bright for the industry, which a successful 2012 conference saw growing in strength and confidence. Skyline Worldwide started its operation four years ago in Canary Wharf. It soon gained a loyal clientele among the local corporate community, and started to look at new areas for development. As a result, it has gradually expanded into key City locations, and recently opened its first branded building in West London.

Accommodating senior executives The luxury end of the market has remained pretty much recession-proof, and the property picture in London (see p12) is testament to the level of high-end international movement. London attracts the very wealthy, with international business interests from regions such as the Middle East, the US and Russia, as well as Greece, France and Italy, in particular, escaping the euro crisis and their country’s austerity tax measures. Last autumn, Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living opened on London’s exclusive Park Lane. Steve Thorne, Jumeirah’s sales and marketing director, points out that the relocation market is very important to Grosvenor House Apartments, as the

Following global markets Even serviced accommodation brands firmly associated with UK provision are launching into the global market. SACO has opened an office in New York and, through a network, now provides apartments across 146 locations across 42 countries. I asked marketing director Jo Redman how the company’s growth plans fitted with the global regions most critical to companies’ future business goals, and why it was focusing on developing in particular regions. She said, “Growing our international footprint is a key element of SACO’s growth strategy. We aim to simplify the procurement and booking of serviced apartments, provide more consistency and meet our clients’ drive for a global approach to temporary accommodation supply. “Our clients realise that no one operator can provide its own branded apartments across the globe in the short to medium term. They look to us as a partner to source the right accommodation. Because of this, we constantly review our network, to ensure it is aligned with current demand trends and customer requirements. For example, the US relocation market continues to grow, particularly in terms of requirements into the UK. “Through our new US office, we can support this requirement and further develop relationships with partner apartment companies across the US. “We are

Ascott, Somerset Vista, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

concept was developed with the demands of the luxury extended-stay traveller in mind. “Handling the relocation of a senior executive can be a struggle for HR, as conventional temporary housing options frequently do not live up to the service expectations of these transferees,” he says. “For those who are used to world-class hotels and have temporary housing expectations to match, Grosvenor House Apartments offer the required world-class address and internationally renowned service standards. “This concept is unique in London, due to the delivery of full five-star hotel service combined with the space and flexibility of a private Mayfair residence. In addition, our four penthouses offer a previously unavailable level of luxury and are the largest serviced residences in London.” Following the success of Grosvenor House Apartments and developments in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Jumeirah is seeking to develop this concept, and is in discussion on locations identified by Cartus as key growth markets, including India, Russia and China. Future projects will include Marrakech (Morocco), Suraya Aqaba (Jordan) and Bali (Indonesia). Oakwood has a new property in Farringdon, near London’s financial district. Jill Chapman describes it as “pretty unique for executive housing in London, with penthouse apartments that are air-conditioned and have large furnished terraces.”

currently identifying suitable apartment partners to work with in South America, to support the expansion plans of several of our major clients in the region. Currently, Ms Redman says, SACO is seeing significant activity from India, both inbound and outbound, from the financial, technology and BPO sectors. This is now extending across the subcontinent. The oil and gas market is consistently diverse, with continued requirements in key hubs like Houston and Aberdeen, along with growing requirements in challenging locations such as West Africa and, more recently, Kazakhstan, where serviced-apartment supply is currently somewhat limited. Asked how she saw SACO and the servicedaccommodation industry overcoming challenges for HR, in both established and emerging markets, Jo Redman replied, “We understand that temporary housing is a small but emotive part of the relocation process. Global inconsistencies and supply restraints can give HR teams a headache. As specialists, we aim to take the pain away by providing one point of reference for our clients’ global requirements, ensuring consistent processes, commercial models, accommodation quality and compliance, pulled together by an established programme-management structure.”

The future? Collaboration and joined-up thinking between providers, agents and the larger global relocation management companies, which are increasingly being asked to provide solutions for clients’ business challenges, could be on the cards in the not-too-distant future. As illustrated by our technology feature (see p57), relocation needs to come of age, collaborate, and learn from the experiences of other sectors to enjoy a truly strategic partnership with its clients.

Whether you are a serviced apartment provider, an agent, a relocation management company or a corporate user, we’d like to hear your views., LinkedIn and Twitter @relocatemag | 43

policy & practice

Procurement What you need to know

This brave new world of constant change and more networked businesses means that a company’s relationship with its external partners has never been more critical. Yet for relocation service providers, navigating the process and connecting with corporate procurement teams is no easy task. Ruth Holmes reports from an informative panel discussion at February’s Worldwide ERC Global Mobility Summit, which sought to improve connections between relocation service providers and corporate clients.


t is a mark of how keen relocation service providers are to meet business needs that the venue for 20 Questions for Procurement You Always Wanted to Know But Were Too Afraid to Ask, while very busy at the start of the debate, was standing-room only by the end. The panel discussion, led with great energy and expertise by seminar chairman Robert Fletcher, group director of relocation at Interdean, part of the Santa Fe Group, supplied invaluable insights for relocation service providers as well as in-house procurement teams and those about to issue their first request for proposal (RFP). Panellists and procurement experts Bert Roelfsema and Chris de la Cerda (both of Shell Global Solutions International), James Haste (procurement consultant), Michelle Holl (BP) and Lauren Prager (Telefonica UK) took on the 20 questions, fielded from 150 people involved in procurement. Here, Re:locate presents, for discussion and debate, some of the burning questions raised and the panel’s answers to them.

2. Describe ‘best value’ from your company’s perspective.

Best value is not always joined to quality – it’s more about fit for purpose. Suppliers need to understand what the customer wants from the process. This has to start with open and honest conversations. Best value is the key differentiating factor. Companies can evaluate best value by identifying differentiating criteria, then giving them a weighting that will add up to a transformed score to bid on.

3.How do you determine value versus price (as opposed to best value)? 1. Are you open to a process that includes information-sharing, inquiry and discovery with suppliers prior to the RFP, and as a way of determining most-qualified suppliers?

You can immerse yourself in the marketplace, but there are still complexities, so encourage people to come in and talk. Time is often an issue because we are working across different projects, but through conversations you can get an idea of current and future capacity. You need to build good relationships with stakeholders about what has worked well and what could work well.

44 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

Again, it’s not just about the cheapestpossible price. Companies look more at return on investment (ROI) than at value. The bid might be more expensive, but, if the ROI is bigger, then the cost to the business is less, because it’s getting more. Often, companies don’t get through to the pricing stage unless they reach the quality/service stage. It is not one process, but a blended approach.

Section heading 7. Do you involve internal managers and others with experience in mobility when designing and evaluating RFPs?

4. How do you evaluate the qualitative differences that can be so impactful in relocation services – quality of customer services, overseas living experience of international relocation counsellors, and so on?

We involve internal resources right from the start. I think that, these days, those in procurement are more generalists. It’s very important, therefore, to have the input from the business upfront on what the processes are and their requirements. There has to be a point, though, where the process becomes procurement-led; you want to keep it fair and the business informed.

Based on what the business wants, we set minimum criteria on which we evaluate suppliers. All criteria are pre-set and approved by the board. If we need a better understanding of how they do things, we ask prospective suppliers to provide case studies. It’s about looking for information that might switch the balance. You can see presentations that might knock your socks off, but you have to ask whether the service matches up. I want to meet the person who is delivering the service, the account manager, and the team that is providing the service. You’re also looking for a sense of how they work through processes, through site visits and meeting the people delivering the service.

8. What value is placed on the actual RFP response? Is this a tool to narrow down prospective suppliers?

It’s important to understand that only qualified suppliers will go to the next stage.

Are RFPs read from cover to cover?

Yes – depending on how long they go on for! We hate sales talk. We don’t need you to sell to us in 10 pages; we just need you to answer the question. There are e-tools that mean RFPs can be completed online. It can be frustrating to plug in and type away on an RFP, but e-tools allow us to compare responses question by question. Another tip is, don’t refer to other questions in your answers – just answer the question in hand.

5. How do small companies get in the door to offer their services to larger companies?

From a large corporate perspective, it’s not easy for small companies and start-ups to have a robust enough infrastructure that slots in with bigger companies – for example, around contracts, legal departments, and so forth. However, it depends on the service. By all means, do talk to bigger companies and keep in contact, but working with larger local companies first, perhaps partnering with them, and then building up is a good idea.

9. How can we convey to our sourcing team the need to evaluate the soft issues around global mobility, in addition to the quantitative analysis during the purchase process?

The methodology in most organisations is the same. And let’s be honest, we’re forced to use it. Therefore, it’s about engagement and being an advocate of the process, which is about being robust and looking for longevity and, ultimately, a deal.

6. Given the investment of time and resources needed to respond to an RFP, is it really too much to request a legitimate debriefing?

We understand that lots of time and resources go into responding, so it’s very important to learn from the process. Sometimes, you find that, when you give feedback, people argue. It’s sometimes easier not to put yourself in that position. There is a solution to be reached for how that information is delivered.

10. Is the final evaluation tool the site visit? If yes, what aspects weigh most heavily?

Yes, it usually is. We’re looking for robust policies on health and safety, and anti-bribery and corruption; whether your team will get on with our advisers and have a good rapport. Visits give life to responses. It’s important to validate responses and other requirements to get a look and a feel.

Join in the discussion at Procurement Debate, at, LinkedIn and Twitter @relocatemag | 45


Managing emerging markets

Honing your strategies for success

Emerging markets offer huge opportunities to enterprising organisations – and a host of challenges to HR, their relocation supplier partners, and globally mobile employees. Fiona Murchie and Louise Whitson consider how businesses can lead the field in the race for global growth.


merging markets – often key to a global organisation’s business objectives – are frequently the most challenging relocation destinations. HR and their relocation supplier partners, therefore, are thirsty for knowledge and looking for reassurance about managing international assignments in some of the world’s most difficult countries. The 2012 Trends in Global Relocation: Biggest Challenges survey, from Cartus, identifies some of the greatest challenges facing companies in Africa, Central America, South America and Greater China. Some, such as controlling costs, complying with local laws, and managing complex housing issues, are country-specific and loom large for relocation managers of multinational companies. These challenges are especially marked when companies are moving employees to Africa, Central and South America, and Greater China, the three most problematic regions. When ranking factors that posed the greatest challenges to managing their overall global relocation programmes, respondents placed controlling relocation and assignment costs and complying with laws and regulations first and second respectively. The need to control costs puts pressure on benefit levels, which can directly affect assignees. Complying with laws and regulations, such as visa and immigration timeframes and requirements, may have an negative effect on employees’ ability to begin productive work and to undertake the most basic activities of everyday life, such as opening a bank account. As Cartus points out, housing challenges (which ranked third) can have a disproportionate impact on assignee and family satisfaction – and, ultimately, assignment success. In more-developed areas, housing may be acceptable, but costly and in great demand. In less-developed ones, it often fails to meet standards acceptable to assignees, and lack of choice can often result in high prices. For more on this topic, see our serviced accommodation feature (p32).

46 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

Opportunities for HR At the recent Emerging Markets HR Summit in London, chairman Martin Kirk, HR delivery director of Transport for London, took as his theme the rapidly changing international business landscape and its impact on HR strategy. Although global companies operating in different time zones would, Mr Kirk said, enjoy a “productivity opportunity”, they faced a multitude of challenges, including an increasing requirement to manage crossborder teams, the need to grow internationally without losing the culture and core competence that enabled success, and, as a result of joint ventures and other partnerships, an ever-stronger focus on compliance. Localisation and the risk of high-potential talent not returning after expatriate experience were other potential headaches. In this brave new global world of increased diversity, companies also needed to address shortages of HR professionals and the question of how to ensure consistent quality and standards in HR departments, and decide whether HR service delivery should be standardised, or varied for local needs. Said Martin Kirk, “Companies must get international HR systems and service delivery which enables business growth. As well as really knowing the numbers and learning the business, HR must lead their own international team as a role model for other business leaders. They need deep expertise in change management, and must take the lead on culture, values and integrity.”

ASIA PACIFIC During his address to delegates at November’s annual conference of employers’ organisation the CBI, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that

global business was at the heart of the UK’s growth agenda – encouraging news for British businesses keen to enjoy a bigger slice of the international action, and for HR directors who see a place at the strategy table for those managing global teams and global mobility. Recent visits to India by both David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson have highlighted the global importance of this up-and-coming economy. Mr Cameron – who was accompanied on his three-day visit by the largest trade delegation ever taken overseas by a UK Prime Minister, which included education leaders and representatives of small and medium-sized companies as well as well-known names like BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, and London Underground – said that he hoped the UK and India could forge “one of the great partnerships of the 21st century”, promising, as a first step, to introduce a same-day visa service for Indian business people coming to the UK. The new service, which covers frequent visitors, business travellers and skilled workers, is available through visa application centres in Delhi and Mumbai, operating alongside both the current standard and fasttrack services.

Employer challenges A presentation by Gyan Nagpal, CEO and principal of talent-strategy consulting firm PeopleLENs Global 0313 HF Relocate_Advert_NEW.pdf 1 19/02/2013 10:18









Associates, at the Emerging Markets HR Summit provided valuable insights into key talent challenges in Eastern economies. As Mr Nagpal pointed out, Asia is not a new phenomenon, but it is a fast-growing one. The 400 million customers it had in 1937 had grown to one billion by 2005. Its most critical resource is talent, so managing that talent correctly, and giving it the tools for success, is essential. Employers must beware of a one-size-fitsall approach that uses the same strategy in Asia as, for example, in Europe. What’s more, said Gyan Nagpal, “Asia is not a talent homogeny. It is four independent social ideologies, each with billions of people following. And its talent wants different things.” He quoted a recent Towers Watson study which revealed that, while a competitive salary was the number-one priority for employees in the UK and US, career advancement was the main concern of those in China, India and Brazil. In China and India, learning and development came next, but a convenient work location was the secondmost-important consideration in Germany and the UK.Varying worldwide age profiles also affected what different nationalities deemed important in their working lives. This prompts the question, with so many different priorities, how do you keep things equitable in different parts of the world?


Mr Nagpal’s message: “Talent dynamics vary – by country, by industry, and sometimes by strategic business units within a county. Engagement drivers are fluid – not static: employees react to external stimulus as much as internal policy.”

Assignee and HR challenges and trends The Cartus survey identifies Greater China as the most challenging region of all for language and assignment cost control, other key challenges being intercultural issues, transport, housing and schooling. India and northern and central Asia were also among the top six most challenging regions. Among the mobility trends in China noted by international relocation company SIRVA are: a stronger focus on transferring long-term assignees to local terms and employment conditions; an increase in younger assignees; a growing number of assignees from Asian countries; a greater ability for local managements to run their own businesses; and greater business expansion into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as a result of rising retail and commercial property costs, higher salaries, increasing costs of living, and business incentives in these cities. No matter what its challenges, China will continue to be a target for international companies. With an economy that has grown by an average of 10 per cent



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per year over the last 30 years and is now second only to that of the US, it looks unstoppable.

CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA SIRVA notes strong economic similarities between China and Brazil: both are expected to overtake the economies of the G7 by 2027, both are experiencing stronger economic growth in coastal areas, while inland locations lag behind, and both are experiencing a shift away from opaque business practices to more transparent ones. As it prepares to host the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016, Brazil – the country that put the ‘B’ in ‘BRICS’ – is continuing on its upward trajectory. One sign of the increase in business and leisure travel to this vibrant destination is the growth of the serviced accommodation industry there (see p32). According to the Cartus survey, Central and South America in general lead all regions in challenges in structuring compensation packages and payroll and currency issues, which can embroil companies and employees in bureaucratic complexities. Other key challenges of international assignments to the region are safety and security, payroll and currency issues, and complying with laws and regulations. Bureaucracy adds significantly to the time needed to relocate employees,

so planning must begin well before any assignment is initiated, particularly in Brazil. Renato Lima, director of SIRVA Relocation Brazil, is well placed to comment on mobility trends in his region. Says Mr Lima, “South America offers significant opportunities for companies around the world, driving growing demand for relocation services, specifically in Brazil. With this corporate expansion and high volume of assignees, we are seeing some local mobility trends emerge as the market grows and evolves. “In the past three years, rental property prices have tripled in Rio and more than doubled in Sao Paulo, the two population centres in which a majority of assignees are working. However, budget allowances for assignees living in these two cities tend to be too low, and are not matching the current realities of the market. This lack of alignment is an increasing point of frustration for assignees and their HR contacts, and one that negatively impacts the assignee’s assimilation” The Brazilian market, Renato Lima says, continues to be attractive to a wide range of industries, from automotive to consumer goods to technology. However, he adds, “When swift business decisions are taken – from mergers and acquisitions to product launches – installing key personnel can be very time-consuming and typically lags behind the desired speed of business.




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“For example, residence visas require at least 45 days to process at the Brazilian Ministry of Labor, and original birth and marriage certificates, as well as diplomas and reference letters, all need to be validated by the issuing country and the local Brazilian Consulate. As a result, assignees typically arrive in Brazil under a business visa, which does not allow them to rent a house, open a bank account, or register their children at school. Consequently, employers are turning to relocation companies to handle expenses during this time, address the bureaucratic issues and improve the assignee’s experience during the transition.” Mr Lima adds that, with the growth of the Brazilian market over the last 10 years, demand for skilled professionals is growing fast. The resulting spike in salaries, coupled with ongoing economic crises in Europe and neighbouring South American countries, is attracting foreign professionals to Brazil as local hires, who sacrifice the benefits that come with expatriation. However, HR decision-makers should remain cautious. If candidates do not hold a Brazilian visa, or are not part of the South American Common Market (Mercosur), the company could be held responsible for all such benefits, and, by law, assignees could claim back many rights and benefits at the end of their employment contract in Brazil. Argentina also poses considerable immigration challenges, which Re:locate will cover on the website and in a future issue.

MIDDLE EAST Cartus’s survey ranks the Middle East among the top six most challenging relocation destinations. In his Emerging Markets HR Summit presentation on HR’s role in improving business performance and employee efficiency in the Middle East, Dubai-based Brad Boyson, executive director, Middle East and Africa, of the US’s Society for Human Resource Management, reminded delegates that what we refer to as the Middle East is, in fact, a diverse collection of countries, with many regions, subcultures and divides not outlined on a map, and, in many places, a large expat population. An added complication is the current state of flux in some areas, which started with the Arab Spring. Mr Boyson explained that HR’s effectiveness in emerging markets, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere, started with a clear understanding of the main social difference between an emerging market and a developed one, which, he said, was “the (relative) independence of systems and (relative) trust in institutions – or lack thereof.” Said Mr Boyson, “In developed markets, business ‘trust’ is monitored and, if necessary, enforced from the outside in – that is, through the ‘social system’ – whereas in emerging markets, this is done from the inside out – that is, through personal relations. So, if you say to

someone in the US, ‘I’m going to sue you,’ that is taken seriously. If you say the same thing to someone in an emerging market, they are relieved, because you will be leaving them alone and the matter is, to all intents and purposes, over.” Because of this, explained Mr Boyson, while ‘nothing personal, it’s business’ is deemed the most credible approach to doing business and managing employees in a developed market, the best approach in an emerging market is ‘no business until it’s personal’. He emphasised that strategic HR was a form and extension of culture, and, since culture took time to develop, organisations that introduced world-class performance-management systems into the Middle East in an effort to change the system overnight were unlikely to be successful. Brad Boyson advised those doing business in, or with, an emerging market to build personal relationships first and demonstrate their personal competence second, and to grow the organisation’s capabilities from the ground up. More ‘advanced’ techniques should be introduced only as the basics of HR started to establish independence from any one person – that is, as organisational capabilities became more self-sufficient. He pointed out, ”Competencies must not be treated like a technology that simply needs the right ‘universal adapter’ to work.” And, like Gyan Nagpal, he stressed that a “Western Baby Boom mindset” with regard to motivations and succession planning must not be applied to an emerging-market demographic. | 51


AFRICA Africa is the fastest-growing region in the world, with a total GDP of $1,600 billion. Not surprisingly, it is very much on the relocation radar, to the extent that global relocation company Santa Fe Group has launched a new service that provides a single point of control for companies wishing to relocate employees to, or from, the continent. Mathieu Dunod, Santa Fe’s regional director for Africa, says, “Africa is an expansive continent, larger than North America and China combined, and as culturally diverse as Europe, South America or Asia. Furthermore, local processes and administration can be baffling to anyone outside the system. For these reasons, Africa has always represented a challenge to any company transferring their staff to the region.” And indeed, challenges for both international assignees and their employers are many and various. According to Cartus’s survey, the main ones are safety and security, intercultural issues, limited infrastructure, transport, and a lack of suitable local candidates. These mean that standard policies may not work, and alternatives like split-family arrangements may be needed. At February’s Worldwide ERC Global Mobility Summit in London, there was a strong sense that Africa was now even more firmly established on the business agenda. Some excellent presentations have been made about Africa at past Worldwide ERC conferences, notably by The World Bank’s Geremie Sawadogo (see Re:locate Autumn 2010 and Winter 2011/12 issues). This year, who better to cut to the reality of operating in Africa – and dispel some of the myths and preconceptions about a continent with 54 countries, more than 1,000 languages, a chequered colonial past, and a complexity of well-established immigration laws – than Andrea Elliott, senior counsel at immigration firm Pro-Link GLOBAL, herself South African, and Kimberly Blasingame, HR manager at ABS Europe, who manages international assignments across Africa. Both presenters highlighted the practicalities that HR had to grapple with, underlining the importance of understanding individual African countries and the

business issues operating in them. Success, they said, depended upon managing expectations. If HR were to be taken seriously at the decision-making table, Africa’s challenges – including those relating to logistics and scale, language barriers and safety concerns (about everything from pirates and war to climate), plus health, immigration and compliance risks – must be understood. Operations departments will have expectations of beginning work by a certain date, but the way in which things operate in Africa may mean that it takes considerably longer. It is critical, therefore, that HR is in tune with operations, to manage expectations and adjust timeframes as necessary. Kimberly Blasingame confirmed that HR needed to be robust in stating their case, explaining why things were done as they were, the realistic timeframe, and the importance, for both the organisation and business needs, of following the guidance supplied by experts in areas such as immigration, tax and employment. It seems that teamwork and strong leadership will be even more important for HR involved in expansion into the potentially huge markets of Africa. The stakes are high for companies that get it wrong – ‘public shaming’ is commonplace – but, with Africa’s GDP set to exceed the US’s by 2030, the rewards could be enormous for those that get it right, here as well as in the world’s other emerging economies.

LOOKING FURTHER AFIELD Stephen Cole is an international broadcaster and chairman of the London-based Institute of Diplomacy and Business. He acts as moderator of meetings and forums at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, and is to be host and guest speaker at the Re:locate Awards 2012/13 gala dinner and presentation (see p58). Mr Cole believes that organisations in search of global growth would do well to look even further afield for their markets. “Quite rightly,” he says, “there is a lot of attention focused on the BRICS countries, but, due to a variety of factors, they can be difficult to penetrate. “The Custo Brasil makes doing business in Brazil a major challenge, and the culture and complex nature of decision making influences makes China a complicated sales territory. It is, therefore, worth looking at other less-well-known opportunities. “I was recently in the oil- and gas-rich nation of Kazakhstan. The infrastructure needs modernisation, particularly roads and telecommunications. And, as well as oil and gas, there are opportunities in finance, construction, health, environment and agriculture. “Of course, Kazakhstan has its own business culture challenges, but compared with China, for example, it can be easier to do business.”

See Destinations International section of for updates and practical advice 52 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

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Technology for relocation Tracking the trends As in other sectors, technology is raising the bar in relocation. We look at innovations that will make HR and relocation professionals’ jobs easier, from the latest developments in employee tracking to immigration compliance tools, and consider how cloud-based solutions can benefit HR.


eeping up with technological advances across the wide range of disciplines that impact upon managing global employees is a hard task, but a worthwhile one, as it affects the management of international talent, cost and efficiency. The use of mobile devices is growing rapidly and has taken the relocation industry by storm, with expatriates preferring to use apps rather than a personal computer.

New technologies emerging Global professional services firm PwC is working on a range of new technology-based ideas and solutions to reflect current global-mobility trends. Says international assignment services technology director Alex Rubin, “Lots of new and exciting technologies have emerged in the relocation, HR and compliance domains recently. Taking photos of receipts for automatic expenses submission, connecting HR business units into a workflow, getting up-to-date relocation info on the phone – these are just some of the new products that are gaining popularity today. “PwC is involved in a large number of technology innovation initiatives, and, with so many choices, it’s hard to select a subset of products that have the highest potential of shaping up the future. However, if I had to come up with three areas where innovation was critical to expatriate tax compliance and international HR business success, I’d have to go for efficient compensation reporting (one of the keys to healthy international tax compliance for any size of company), facilitating smooth foreign travel and adhering to corporate policies (important for business development)

54 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

and tracking frequent business travellers (a top priority for expatriate management teams).” With this in mind, the company recently launched a product aimed at helping organisations to deal with compensation recording. Global Data Collect (GDC), Alex Rubin explains, is an intuitive web application that enables the international offices of global organisations to collect and report on global workforce payment data, to maintain compliance with local business regulations and tax laws. GDC interfaces with corporate tax, accounting and HR systems. Users can perform historical trend analysis and identify duplicate or missing payments. A graphical reporting module allows for graphical visualisation of all payment data and real-time status tracking of work completed on a location-by-location basis. Flexible tax tables for payroll tax reporting can be tailored to the positions within the organisation. Says Alex Rubin, “We developed GDC in response to customer demand. Companies were asking us things like, ‘How can we ensure that our foreign offices report payments promptly?, ‘What about feeding expatriate payments for foreign payroll reporting?’ and ‘Can I download my earnings statement at any time of the year?’ Others were concerned that, having a small international HR unit, they had insufficient manpower to chase expat payments.” The ability to anticipate and prevent surprises is vital when it comes to compliance, as the financial and reputational risks associated with interest and penalties from non-compliance can have a significant impact on an

organisation. Another product recently launched by PwC is Business TravelWatch, which allows HR to review alerts and make strategic business decisions, taking into account all the variables associated with a globally mobile workforce, and to use PwC scenario-modelling functionality to help them understand the impact of sending an employee to a particular location. Business TravelWatch, says Alex Rubin, builds on the features of TravelWatch (which earned PwC the trophy for Technological Innovation in Relocation at the Re:locate Awards 2011/12), adding decision workflow and smart alerts. It allows the company to take traveller tracking to the next level by having a complete process-plus-system solution. Workflow and alerts are customisable. What’s in the pipeline for PwC? The company is currently experimenting with a proof of concept for myTrips, a new product that combines several components to simplify employees’ experience of foreign business trips. Says Alex Rubin, “Proactive compliance was the key idea. Employees sign in to myTrips for pre-trip authorisation. They receive instructions specific to the travel destination, tailored to the company project and organisational unit. “During the process of business-trip authorisation, myTrips informs the employee about relevant corporate policies and alerts them in case an immigration rule – a visa requirement, for example – needs to be satisfied. The result is an informed employee, connected with the corporate travel providers and immigration attorneys. “We believe that myTrips will create a clear benefit to an organisation – a controlled environment for foreign business travel – answering such questions as, ‘I’m flying from India to London for a business meeting; do I need a visa?’, ‘Where do I go for step-by-step guidance on foreign business travel?’, ‘Is a work permit required for a shortterm assignment in Saudi Arabia?’ and ‘How can I make employees aware of our company’s travel policies?’”

HR and cloud computing Matthew B Dickerson, senior VP and CIO of global commercial technologies at SIRVA Worldwide Enterprise, believes that cloud computing presents significant opportunities for the HR function. “As it is a subscription-based model, initiatives can be tested on a small scale before being deployed to the masses,” he says. “All organisations, regardless of size, receive the same level of benefits, and the necessary investment is minimal; thus, you can help insulate your organisation from financial risk.” In addition, says Mr Dickerson, a cloud-based solution does not need to be integrated into the company environment, but can operate independently. However, as you are placing proprietary information in a thirdparty data centre, due diligence is essential to ensure that the cloud-data centres are more than adequately built and secured.

Of likely future developments, Matthew Dickinson says, “I believe we will see a shift to a hybrid cloud model – one with both a public and private facet. A company’s innocuous information will be housed on the public cloud, while sensitive information will be placed in a private cloud within the public data centre.”

Immigration Says Sophy King, of Peregrine Immigration Management, “Technology is like magic. Remember, in the Harry Potter stories, the newspapers at Hogwarts have moving, talking pictures? That’s not just possible now: it’s quite normal. What seemed like fantasy a few years ago is today’s reality. “When I first started training staff in global immigration nearly 10 years ago, I used to say to them, “I’d write down all the rules and timing of every country for you, only, by the time I finished, I’d have to start again. Now, using web-based technology to facilitate online collaboration and data-sharing, our Immiguru software offers clients exactly that – instant access to rules, timing, document checklists for 50 countries and counting, reviewed by more than 60 immigration professionals worldwide, and updated every day. “Data-sharing is a hot topic. The next step is datacurating. Look at LinkedIn – the most successful and useful groups are those run by strong leaders, who make an effort to start interesting, thought-provoking threads, and who filter out the spam, adverts and job postings. If 100 professionals in any field pool their collective knowledge and wisdom, that’s a powerful resource right there. But if that resource is managed, shaped, fine-tuned by someone you can trust, it becomes revolutionary.”

Changing the industry As Matthew Dickerson points out, technology is raising the bar in the mobility industry to a level of constant connectivity, redefining the meaning of 24/7 availability. Says Mr Dickerson, “The key to increased productivity and success is leveraging mobile technologies in such a way that technology handles the mechanics of customer delivery, freeing your customer-service staff to focus exclusively on customer care. “In the future, technology will continue to become simpler and easier to use. Simplifying technology takes a great deal of work, but, if done correctly, the complexity of this work is masked from the end-user experience. In the mobility industry, evaluating reports and analytics has historically been done in a two-dimensional manner. Utilising new technologies, we are redesigning this process into a dynamic, three-dimensional one. Technology is constantly on the move. Who knows where it will take us next?

Join the technology debate at, LinkedIn and Twitter | 55



The key to success? Lump sums are an attractive option for both employer and employee. With the time now right for relocation professionals and assignees to embrace more innovative and cost-effective compensation and IT solutions, Ruth Holmes asks if technology can be used to overcome the obstacles associated with current lump-sum practices.


reat leaps in consumer technologies have fundamentally changed how we live, interact and do business. Technology is now enmeshed in practically every part of our daily lives. We rely on it for information, guidance, organising our work and social lives, and as a portal to our increasingly self-serviced consumer choices. It was in this brave new world that Worldwide ERC Global Mobility Summit delegates in London heard that the time was now right for relocation professionals and employees to embrace more innovative and costeffective compensation and IT solutions. Together, these would deliver the greater assignee focus, personalisation and responsiveness needed in a better-connected, more mobile world. The discussion took as its starting point the attractiveness of the lump-sum payment for employers keen to control costs and reduce administration, and the need to balance this with employee choice and individual priorities in a way that maximises the lump sum’s benefit for all parties. Session chair Roger Hollis, director of CORT Destination Services, explained, “There is a desire among companies to incorporate lump-sum payments into policy, principally to reduce costs and administration. However, there is a point at which employee and employer needs collide, so this session will look at how technology can be creatively applied.” Speakers Michele Bar-Pereg. managing director of Netherlands-based, and Sharon Reher, owner of Alabrie Consulting, set out their views for a re-evaluated approach to lump-sum payments and IT-led relocation services that serve new markets. Ms Reher said, “The classic company structure is not predominant any more. Small and medium-sized

56 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

enterprises with products or services to sell are popping up and selling around the world – start-ups are built on relationships that span the globe. They need to move someone fast, and, therefore, tend to use lump sums. Our environment, therefore, needs to reappraise lump-sum payments for fast-moving organisations that just want to get the job done.”

The role of IT IT could be one solution to overcoming the obstacles commonly associated with current lump-sum practices, including poor management of the process, lack of control by assignees, and a lack of guidance over where to spend money. Innovative IT that is available 24/7 from anywhere in the world and that “enthuses and energises relocatees” during this emotional process could enable assignees to “drive and track spend” on their relocation budgets, and get the best value with support from relocation service professionals. Says Michele Bar-Pereg, “All expats are on the lookout for better solutions and fast and correct information. Technology has changed the way people look at their lives. There is still the same place for traditional relocation approaches, but we have to adapt to the new generation. Relocation companies are very important in this thinking. [They] provide trust and authority, neutrality and insight.” With better IT support services more focused on, and controlled by, employees and their individual needs, together with neutral professional support from relocation service providers, can the age-old issue of ensuring assignment success be consigned to the pre-digital age?

The global-mobility supply chain Finding technology solutions Fiona Murchie reports from February’s Worldwide ERC Global Mobility Summit in London.


n today’s increasingly complex world, global mobility and the relocation profession need to be proactive in finding joined-up solutions if they are not to be left behind by the technological revolution. This was the message from the Integrating Technology with Service Delivery session at the WERC summit. As Robby Wogan, MD of MoveAssist International, pointed out, “There is a need for communication, and people have grasped that, as everyone is talking on Facebook, Twitter and a range of social-media platforms. This is highlighting the demand from users for increased applications of technology, although the underlying technology itself hasn’t really changed.” But the relocation supply chain has challenges, and how can the industry look to improve? Said Robby Wogan, “New ways of communicating should help to increase collaboration, but our supply chain does not communicate effectively or securely. “Ideally, any information related to an assignment is shared by everyone involved, and we all enjoy the rewards. These are, in terms of time, one system to update and one place to find information; in terms of data, increased accuracy and increased usefulness; and in terms of money, increased efficiencies and reduced operating costs.” As things stand, however, there are a variety of obstacles to overcome. Robby Wogan observed, “Many different systems – including Oracle, Equus, PeopleSoft, and our own ReloAssist – are used in isolation by HR, relocation management companies, destination services providers and others. Security and privacy concerns can make communication difficult. Cost is a key issue; building networks is complex, and therefore expensive.” He argued that security and privacy problems could be overcome by education and setting up frameworks. Complexity could also be overcome, through collaboration and by bringing in people who had done similar things in other industries. The relocation industry might have to invest, but this would be repaid over time through a more efficient supply chain.

Robby Wogan pointed out that a host of companies and retailers had vanished in recent years, partly because technology had passed them by, and there were lessons to be learned. Those who invest in the supply chain will prosper, and those who don’t will fail. We all need to be able to communicate with partners and suppliers, and technology is an enabler, so, if suppliers provide good service, there is nothing to fear, he assured the sceptical. Relocation professionals and those managing global mobility must continue the technology debate as a matter of urgency. As Robby Wogan put it, “Change is happening quickly. We must be ready for it.” What are the other industries that relocation and those managing global mobility can learn from? Let us know your views. Join our technology debate on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or email editorial@

The ideal .... everybody’s talking! Corporate HR Assignee

Corporate Relocation Dept.

Data RMC

Consultant DSP

See the International Assignments section of for updates and practical advice | 57

Section heading Re:Locate awards 2012/13

Celebrate success in relocation! The Re:locate Awards have again attracted a record number of entries. It’s now time to announce the judges, reveal their shortlist, and look forward to the annual Gala Awards Dinner, with special celebrity host and guest speaker Stephen Cole.

book your places for the Gala AWARDS dinner at or call +44 (0)1892 891334

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he deadline for entries to the Re:locate Awards 2012/13 has now passed, and we’re thrilled to announce that this has been the best year yet for entries, which were up nearly 50 per cent on 2011/12. Fiona Murchie, Re:locate’s managing editor, said, “This year’s record number of entries demonstrates that, as we had hoped, the awards are growing from year to year and are now recognised as a benchmark of excellence across all aspects of relocation, both in the UK and internationally. “It seems that the initiatives we put in place to ensure that potential entrants had all the information they needed about each category – from our series of webinars to our special awards newsletters and our social-media initiatives – have been successful. This has been a real team effort.” Two categories that saw hefty increases were Green/ CSR Achievement and Best International Destination Services Provider, both of which were introduced for the 2010/11 awards.


58 | Re:locate | Spring 2013 ISO Certified 9001:2008

Relocate Your Thinking

Explains Fiona Murchie, “Through our various communication channels, we were able to dispel a few misconceptions – for example, some people had thought that they had to be nominated for Best International Destination Services Provider, when, of course, you fill in your own entry form. “And I think that the increase in entries for Green/CSR Achievement was down to the fact that environmental issues are now even more firmly on the business agenda, as are CSR initiatives, which were included for the first time this year.” We can now reveal the judges’ shortlist (see opposite). During the next few weeks, the judging panel will have the difficult task of choosing an overall winner from each category. Congratulations to all those on the shortlist, and a big thank you to everyone who, by entering, has helped to support excellence in relocation!

The shortlist 2012/13

Gala Awards Dinner The winners will be announced and presented with their trophies at our black-tie Gala Awards Dinner, which takes place at the Institute of Directors, in London’s Pall Mall, on Thursday 9 May. Beginning at 7 pm with a champagne reception and live music, followed by a three-course dinner with fine wines, this is the perfect opportunity for everyone involved in relocation to network, socialise and celebrate success. Our special celebrity guest speaker and host for the evening will be international broadcaster and foreign-affairs authority Stephen Cole, who currently anchors Al Jazeera English. He acts as moderator of meetings and forums at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, and is chairman of the London-based Institute of Diplomacy and Business. See our website for more information.

Judges announced Each year, the Re:locate Awards judging panel, made up of independent experts, reflects the diversity of those working in the world of relocation and international assignments and the wide range of suppliers and professionals engaged in supporting relocation and mobility. This year’s judges include: Elaine Crowe, relocation manager, Rank Group; Clare Harrison, Willis, chair of the Relocation User Group; Susie Inwood, global mobility consultant, Droveway Associates; Frances King, global mobility manager, Marks & Spencer; Sally Lockhart, global mobility consultant, SLIM Consulting; Laraine Nee, mobility consultant; Netta Reichenberg, manager, global mobility services, American Express; and Sue Shortland, principal lecturer and course leader, London Metropolitan University. For further details, visit the Awards section of

Section heading

Technological Innovation in Relocation sponsored by PwC • HCR

• NuCompass Mobility Services

• MOVE Guides

• Peregrine Immigration Management



Inspirational HR Team of the Year sponsored by Cartus • BAT – Global Mobility Team • Lloyds Register Group

Best HR & Supplier Strategy or Team • AllianceBernstein & Pro-Link GLOBAL

• Lloyds Register Group

• American Express

• Newland Chase

• DuPont & Weichert Relocation

• Paragon Relocation

• European Bank for Reconstruction and Development & FOCUS Information Services

Relocation Service Provider or Team of the Year sponsored by Red Recruit • Cartus

•M  obility Services International (MSI)

• Chiltern Relocation

• NatWest Global Employee Banking

• Connells Relocation Services

• Newland Chase


• Pro-Link GLOBAL

• Into Somerset


• London Relocation

Best Property Provider or Solution sponsored by Halo Financial • BridgeStreet Residences Serviced Apartments Suites

•S  ACO The Serviced Apartment Company

• Chiltern Relocation

• SilverDoor

• Go Native

• The Apartment Service

Rising Star in Relocation sponsored by SIRVA • Natalie Langdon, Cambridge Relocations

• MOVE Guides

• Jade Burke, Crown Worldwide Group

•J  ames Hooper, Oceanair International

• David and Heather Richardson, Fish Home Finders

•C  orporate Moving Services, The Excess Baggage Company

Green/CSR Achievement sponsored by Pro-Link GLOBAL To be announced

New sponsor Since our Winter 2012/13 issue, another company has come on board to sponsor this year’s Re:locate Awards. International recruitment consultancy Red Recruit, which specialises in the removals/relocations, shipping, freight, logistics, property, and commercial interiors sectors, is sponsoring Relocation Service Provider or Team of the Year. We are very grateful to them, and to our other sponsors, for their support. For the latest Re:locate Awards news, see, and subscribe to our free monthly e-newsletter, Re:locate Extra. The Summer 2013 issue of Re:locate will include a full-colour supplement on this year’s awards, with case studies, photographs and comments from our judges. Find out what makes a winner – and be inspired to enter next year!


Excellence in Employee & Family Support sponsored by Weichert Relocation Resources • Languages Team, International School of London (ISL) Surrey • Into Somerset

• PetRelocation


• Smith Stone Walters

Best International Destination Services Provider sponsored by NatWest Global Employee Banking • Elite Executive Services

• Management Mobility Consulting

• ERES Relocation Spain

• Settwell Relocation

Relocation Personality of the Year sponsored by Paragon Relocation • Helmut Berg, RSB Deutschland

•A  nnemette Krogh, All Denmark Relocation

• Elaine Crowe, Rank Group Gaming Division

•S  teve Marshall, SIRVA

Professional endorsements


employee support

Divorce settlements for international assignees

As divorce rates rise, it’s important for HR to realise the full implications of sending married employees on assignment, whether or not their spouses accompany them. It is in the interests of both employer and employee that, should a marriage fail, any settlement implications are understood, to reduce the chances of assignment failure. Victoria Ward, of law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore, considers the issues.


he Courts of England and Wales have a reputation for protecting the financially weaker party in a divorce, having, since 2002, refused to discriminate between financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage. An English Court’s starting point is the ‘yardstick of equality’. It can depart from this only if there is ‘good reason’. However, other jurisdictions may be more favourable in relation to certain elements. Many people assume that, when relocating abroad, the laws of England and Wales remain applicable, but HR and assignees should be aware that this is not the case. In fact, the Courts of England and Wales only have jurisdiction to hear financial proceedings if the requirements of the EU Regulation known as ‘Brussells II Bis’ are met. This drives home the importance of careful assignee selection. If a marriage is dissolved overseas, parties can also apply for financial relief in England and Wales if the provisions of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 are satisfied. Divorce settlements can vary significantly from one country to another, so it is important that couples are advised as to where they are eligible to seek financial relief, and which jurisdiction is likely to provide the most favourable settlement. Brussells II Bis provides that the Courts of England and Wales will have jurisdiction if: both parties are habitually resident in England and Wales; both parties were last habitually resident in England and Wales and one of them still resides there; the Respondent is habitually resident in England and Wales; the Petitioner is habitually resident in England and Wales and has resided there for a year before the presentation of the divorce Petition; the Petitioner is domiciled in England and Wales and has resided there for at least six months immediately before the divorce Petition has been filed; or both parties are domiciled in England and Wales. Under Brussells II Bis, more than one country may have jurisdiction to hear financial proceedings – for example, if one party has relocated to Spain, and the other party has returned to the UK to live after the marriage breakdown. In this instance, the Court in the country where proceedings are first issued will hear the case. If there is jurisdiction for financial proceedings to be heard in England and Wales

and abroad, it is advisable for the lawyer representing the financially weaker party to issue proceedings in England and Wales, where the jurisdiction is likely to be more favourable, before the other spouse issues proceedings in a less favourable jurisdiction.

Financial provision In determining what financial order to make, the Courts of England and Wales consider all the circumstances, including the income, earning capacity, assets, needs, age and contributions of each party to the marriage, and the welfare of any children. Scotland has a totally separate legal system. The Scottish courts, too, have jurisdiction to make orders relating to capital, transfer of property, maintenance, pension lump sum and pension-sharing orders. The general rule is that matrimonial property will be shared ‘fairly’ between the parties to the marriage. Under Scottish law, ‘matrimonial property’ is limited to property acquired during the marriage but before the ‘relevant date’ (the date the parties ceased to cohabit, or the date of the service of the divorce proceedings, whichever is the earlier), or property acquired before the marriage but used as a family home, or as furniture or furnishings for the home. The Courts of England and Wales have more flexibility to consider property acquired prior to the marriage, as well as inherited assets. In Europe, the majority of countries operate a form of ‘community of property’ regime, whereby all ‘community property’ (which is defined in each jurisdiction) is owned jointly by the parties, as are any debts. On divorce, property and debts are shared equally. However, spouses can opt out of the regime by prior written agreement. Two systems of financial relief operate in the US, community of property and equitable distribution. Equitable distribution, where the Court decides what is a fair and reasonable settlement, is in force in 41 states, and community of property in the other nine. HR should advise employees to seek professional guidance. If there is a question over jurisdiction, foreign lawyers should be instructed as a matter of urgency, to obtain advice on the likely outcome.

See full version of this article in Employee Support section 60 | Re:locate | Spring 2013


Language & cultural immersion The challenge for internationally relocating families UK-based international study centres and immersion programmes for overseas students of all ages are experiencing steady increases in enrolment, according to recent research. Rebecca Marriage takes a closer look at this growing sector of the British education market for families moving to the UK.


number-one priority for any internationally relocating family moving with school-age children will be finding their feet quickly in their new country. Children will be faced not only with challenging language barriers, but also with new academic programmes to master. Fortunately, there is more support than ever before, from a growing number of academic institutions, for families to immerse themselves in a new language and culture, alongside a welcome emphasis on supporting the child’s first language as part of their integration into a new school system. There are an increasing number of dedicated international study centres in British independent schools preparing older overseas students for post-16 examinations in their new country. Some even include parent-and-child cultural-immersion programmes, to acclimatise whole families to their new life. Summer language courses, held during school holidays, are also offered at many independent and international schools, helping children to prepare for the English-language-based academic year ahead.

Growing opportunities According to research from management-consulting firm the Parthenon Group, institutions offering programmes aimed at international students are experiencing significant enrolment growth. This is due, in part, to a growing demand for delivering a British education to foreign students, ultimately placing them in higher-education institutes in the UK. The knock-on effect has been that there are increased competition and a growing number of opportunities for pupils and students entering the UK for the first time to familiarise themselves with a new language and culture, and new academic expectations.

International Study Centres For older children, a new breed of learning institution has emerged in recent years, in response to demand for international schooling in the UK. International Study Centres, which are typically offered by UK boarding schools providing programmes for non-English speakers, have sprung up as independent wings of a number of British public schools. They are usually aimed at students looking to enter GCSE-level and A-Level or International Baccalaureate courses in the UK. Moreton Hall, an independent boarding school in Shropshire, established an International Study Centre in 2005 for girls and boys aged from 13 to 18. The centre runs throughout the year, including the summer holidays. Like other similar study centres, Moreton Hall offers intensive English-language tuition alongside the pre-GCSE and A-Level and International Baccalaureate intensive academic courses, to enable students to bring themselves up to speed to study for these exams in the UK. Sally Twiss, marketing officer at Blundell’s School, an independent co-educational boarding and day school in Devon, believes that the boarding-school experience can help students to integrate quickly. “International pupils are fully included in the academic, sports and social programmes, and because there are such a small number of foreign-language speakers here, they have an excellent opportunity to speak English all the time, integrate into boarding-school life, and improve their English significantly,” says Ms Twiss. Study Centres are accredited and inspected by the British Council, and, according to a spokesperson, only those that meet the high standards of the scheme are accredited and awarded an Accreditation UK quality-assurance mark. | 61


The Accreditation UK scheme monitors UK schools, colleges and universities offering courses in English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

Summer programmes Many schools run holiday courses, often in the summer, designed for international students, combining Englishlanguage teaching and/or academic study with other social, sporting and cultural activities. Courses such as these can provide children with a taste of school life ahead of enrolment, and can help to get their developing Englishlanguage skills off the ground. Matthew Cook, of the International Community School, London, believes that summer programmes can offer students and parents a supported transition into a new city, a new life and a new school. “There are a wide variety of programmes available for first-language and secondlanguage families,” he says. “Our summer programmes cater for second-language-speaking children and parents. “These programmes offer students opportunities to develop general and academic language skills to support their integration into the mainstream at the start of the academic year. Programmes cater for students aged from three to 18, and combine English-language development with fun, focus and a chance to socialise and make friends through the language. “Every year, we have children who are enrolled to start our main year-round school in September who choose to go to some, or all, of the summer school to enhance their English-language skills. In addition, sometimes students who have been to summer school want to stay on and enrol in the year-round programmes that we offer.”

Parent-and-child programmes As well as offering students opportunities to develop their English, International Community School, London, understands the value of parents’ development in the language. “We are lucky enough to have an adult language school that we are closely associated with,” says Matthew Cook. “At English in London, parents can study whilst their children are in classes at International Community School. Parents and their children can live independently in London, or stay in host-family accommodation arranged by the school.” From July through to August, Moreton Hall also runs an international summer school and offers a popular parentchild course. These courses are designed to allow both parent and child to experience life in a UK school. They feature separate programmes for parents and children, and activities to share. Children and parents travel on excursions together. These include visits to local historic cities and other cultural and shopping experiences.

62 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

Intensive immersion Ron Roukema, head of Marymount International School, Paris, believes that finding interesting activities for students to engage in not only expands their vocabulary but also allows them to explore the activities in English. Marymount Paris offers summer and weekend programmes for children to focus on intense English instruction and to immerse themselves through a mixture of activities. “Language programmes, or language camps, can greatly benefit children,” says Mr Roukema, “not only in their learning of a new language but also in their transition to new environments. It is not uncommon that we suggest to our parents that children participate in additional language programmes, either before coming to our school or after enrolling. “We host English camps focused on sport, arts and technology, beginning in the last week of June, through the second week of July. Our Saturday programmes focus on intense English instruction, both working in content areas as well as exploratory options in the arts, technology and sport.” The International Community School, London, has run a residential summer course in Ascot for the past few years, combining English-language classes with sports, study trips, and London sightseeing and shopping excursions. “This intensive programme sees students immersed in the English language. It caters for 10- to 18-year-olds and is a tremendous opportunity to get an initial ‘hit’ of English,” says Matthew Cook. Julia Cole, a drama teacher at ACS Egham International School, in Surrey, who has led the school’s summer camp for the past three years, believes that all good international schools should offer programmes to help new students and their families to become immersed in school life throughout the year. “Even if a move does not coincide with the summer break, all students are supported in settling into the school community,” says Ms Cole. “One of our most successful programmes at ACS is our ‘buddy’ system, where new families are ‘buddied’ with a current family of the same nationality who have children of similar ages. Before the students start at ACS, and sometimes before they’ve even moved to the UK, their buddy will be in touch to say ‘hello’ and answer any questions they may have before the move. Once the student starts school, their buddy will help them find their way around campus, from showing them where to get lunch to introducing them to other friendship groups.”

Maintaining a sense of identity It is important to bear in mind that, while acclimatisation to a new country and language will be a top priority for any family relocating internationally, maintaining a sense of their own national identity is also of great value to

Section heading

When did a school make you feel this good? 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 meet the many challenges that face international families. 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 50 countries make ACS ‘the’ regional solution to their educational and lifestyle needs. To find out more about us, and our world renowned programmes, please visit 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. | 63


children. Good schools used to dealing with international students from across the globe will allow children to celebrate their differences, and will continue to support the childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first language. The International School of London (ISL) schools in London, Surrey and Qatar have a strong commitment to helping children deepen their understanding of their own culture whilst maintaining literacy in their home language. The school runs a mother-tongue programme, which continues language and literacy training in the familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first language throughout the childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time in the school. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The academic justification for an embedded mothertongue programme goes beyond providing a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;soft landingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;,â&#x20AC;? says Heather Mulkey, group marketing and admissions officer for ISL. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Research over the past three decades increasingly demonstrates that continuing language and literacy in the first language, alongside the development of the new language, is in the childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best academic interest, and in the interest of their overall personal and educational development.â&#x20AC;? According to Susan Stewart, head of mother-tongue languages at ISL, this is important on an emotional level, because it is a chance for students to express themselves in their mother tongue. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the challenges facing an EAL [English as an Additional Language] learner is that

they may have been top of the class in their home school, but, in a new language, they are not able, initially, to excel in the same way,â&#x20AC;? says Ms Stewart. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The mother-tongue teacher helps to explain the topics and vocabulary currently being explored in the main classroom, which aids in the learning. As English becomes the dominant language, the mother-tongue lessons maintain the home language, literacy, identity and culture. This helps the transference of skills and knowledge, so that students then bring the mother-tongue learning back to the main classroom, fostering a wider world view.â&#x20AC;? As Susan Stewart concludes, children of internationally relocating families have a unique opportunity to foster this wider world view as they work hard to acquire their new language skills and develop their understanding of a new culture. While international relocation can be a challenging experience, it can also be overwhelmingly positive, offering rich cultural experiences and helping to equip children with the skills needed to compete in our increasingly globalised economy. And the need for young people to remain flexible in their approach to acquiring new language skills certainly seems to be reflected in the variety of options available to families looking to immerse themselves in their new life.

See the International Assignments section of for updates and practical advice

T HE  A MERICAN  S CHOOL   IN  E NGLAND I C S International Community School

International Baccalaureate Programmes and English Language Courses for 3 -18 year olds

Realise your potential







The International Community School is an independent school located in central London. We provide 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 international students.


In-year school admissions


The stress-free guide

Rebecca Marriage examines the issues for families moving children outside the normal school admissions round, and offers timely advice for professionals helping to make the process run smoothly for globally mobile families. moving children outside the normal admissions round in England, and has introduced measures to make the admissions process more transparent.

English state schools In England, the deadlines for first applications to state schools are in October for secondary schools and January for primary schools, both for admission in the following autumn term. In this case, parents usually apply to the local authority in which they live for places

Bedford Girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; School


etting the timing right when moving children to a new school is just one of many details on the relocating familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to-do list. Parents certainly have their work cut out for them, from negotiating the formal state-school admissions round in England and ensuring minimum disruption to their childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s studies when moving between different school systems, to arming themselves with all the necessary paperwork and forms. This year, however, the UK Government has announced changes to the state-school admissions code which may make the process a little simpler for families


at their preferred schools. Relocating families will clearly struggle to fit into that neat pattern, and often find themselves in a position where they fall outside what is called the ‘normal admissions round’. Known as ‘in-year’ applications, these applications, have suffered, in the past, from unnecessary bureaucracy and delays. The Government recently published a new admissions code, which takes effect this year and will introduce a new in-year admissions process, with the sole aim of reducing the delays children face in finding a new school. From September 2013, parents will be able to apply direct to schools for in-year admissions, rather than having to go through a local authority. The Government also hopes to streamline the primary-school place-offer system by introducing a new ‘national offer day’. Currently, different admissions authorities release primary-school offers on different dates. This can confuse and frustrate parents, especially those making applications for school places in different local authorities. There is already a secondary-school national offer day, on 1 March each year. The primaryschool day is set to be on 16 April each year, starting in 2014. As part of the Government’s revised admissions code, parents will also have greater powers of recourse if they have concerns about an individual school’s admissions practices. A Department for Education spokesperson

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said, “All admissions authorities must comply with our new fair-admissions code. We specifically changed the law so that anyone who has concerns about how any state-funded school is admitting pupils can formally object to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator.”

Independent and international schools Some parents may be in a position to opt for an independent or international fee-paying school. These typically operate a rolling admissions programme, which means that parents are free to apply at any time for a place at the school. While these schools do not come with the complications inherent in English state-school admissions, getting the timing right and navigating the paperwork still require careful attention, no matter where in the world the family is moving. “For relocating families with children, the timing of moves is crucial in the context of the education system one is entering,” says Elizabeth Sawyer, president of education consultant Bennett Schoolplacement Worldwide. “Identifying the best school for children in a new location is a job in itself, and this is often coupled with complicated admissions or registration procedures and the need to procure many documents and records. Furthermore, families are often moving ‘off schedule’, and children will be entering school at a moment that is not a typical starting point.”

Even for in-year admissions, it is a good idea to try to make a start at the beginning of a term or semester. Elizabeth Sawyer believes that this is helpful not just from an academic but also from a psychological standpoint. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For example, if local students have just finished a set of exams or returned from a holiday,â&#x20AC;? says Ms Sawyer, â&#x20AC;&#x153;this means that some new segment of the curriculum will be beginning and a new student can share a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;starting pointâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in some small way.â&#x20AC;?

Waiting lists and flexible solutions Communication, advance planning and creative solutions to obstacles are likely to become second nature to the relocating parent moving a child in-year, but it is worth reminding families that the process must start as soon as they aware they are going to be relocating â&#x20AC;&#x153;As with all schools, the success of in-year admissions depends upon communication between all parties,â&#x20AC;? says Fiona Clements, head of transition at Bedford Girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; School. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s never too early to start talking to your preferred school. Even before a move has been confirmed, phone the schools you think might be right for your child and ask if they have places available in the right year-group. Many independent schools have full or partial waiting lists, and, while you may be able to secure a place in future, you might have to look for an interim solution until one becomes available.â&#x20AC;?

David Rose, head of Dwight School London, says that a good school will work with the family to reach a creative solution if the year-group is full. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sometimes, a school may offer a child a place in the year above or the year below, with an understanding that, when a place in the proper year opens up, he or she can move; sometimes, it is agreed that the child will still benefit from being â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;out of yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If a student is placed on a waiting list, a good school will remain in contact with a prospective family, invite them to school events, send curriculum guides, share newsletters and so on, to keep the family informed and ensure that their child can transition into the new school prepared for what lies ahead.â&#x20AC;? But Mr Rose also believes that relocation professionals have a responsibility to collaborate with schools to ease the transition. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They, too, should make early contact with schools, read their websites, collect curricula and informational material, visit early, and keep in touch with admissions staff to be informed about the likelihood of vacancies and key calendar dates. A relocation professional should also advise families to be very clear and upfront about their childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability, and strengths, and identify any areas in which he or she needs support.â&#x20AC;? continues on p68

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Paperwork: school records and teacher references The amount of paperwork required by a new school often takes parents by surprise. “Don’t make the mistake of thinking information is automatically transferred between schools as your child moves,” says Fiona Clements. “It is always worth prompting your current school to forward information as soon as they are able. Gather as much information about your child’s education to date as you can. Old reports, assessment results, certificates and examples of his or her work will be welcomed by the school. There is no such thing as too much information.” There are also tricky times of year to watch out for when making a start on gathering school records. Linda Kavanagh, dean of admissions at ACS Egham International School, believes that the summer period can pose unique problems. “Teachers are either away on annual leave, or else may be in the process of moving to a new school themselves, so, if you know you are moving before the summer, prioritise getting these references before your current school breaks up for the holidays,” she says. “Starting this process as soon as possible, once you know you are set to move, will avoid stress and the possibility of your child being between schools, which everyone wants to avoid.” If the move involves children with special educational needs or a requirement for extra support in lessons, then more forms and paperwork may have to be completed as part of the admissions process. Admissions staff advise that several weeks should be factored in on top of the normal planning process to ensure that parents find a school that suits their child’s needs.

Helping children to fit in No parent wishes to see their child struggle with an in-year school move, so any amount of advance planning could be hugely beneficial. When visiting a school or finalising admissions or registration paperwork, picking up textbooks or reading-lists ahead of time can give some students a chance to get a flying start. “Sometimes, just having read the novel or play that classmates are reading may help an older student feel better prepared,” says Elizabeth Sawyer, “or having skimmed through a maths text to get a sense of what has already been covered in the new school and how it aligns with what he or she has been studying can be reassuring.” Nicola Huggett, head of Blundell’s School, an independent day and boarding school in Devon, believes that parents should look out for the school’s willingness to go the extra mile. She suggests that parents and individual teachers should liaise closely to make sure that

68 | Re:locate | Spring 2013

a holiday can be usefully spent preparing and reading up on new academic work. Mrs Huggett also advises on the importance of getting the school uniform right. “Having an individual appointment at the school-uniform shop is really helpful,” she says, “to ensure that a new parent buys the right things for that term and avoids buying things that are on the list but rarely worn.” Finally, there will be moments in a child’s academic life that could simply prohibit moving without considerable difficulties. “Critical relocation times are when a student is in the middle of an important examination course,” says David Rose, “and finds him/herself in a school where the new curriculum is not compatible. This is most likely when a student is between the ages of 14 and 16, or between 16 and 18. The choice may come down to repeating a year or taking a reduced course.” Nicola Huggett believes that, although there are no magic answers to changing curriculum, it is possible, and a good school should encourage the staff to see the children individually. “Staff can help bridge the gap between what they don’t know and what they need to know. If mid exam year, parents should visit the new school with examination boards and syllabus codes for all their child’s subjects to hand. That makes it easier to plan where the gaps are.”

Dwight School London

Section heading

There is no doubt that moving children between schools is one of the most stressful parts of any relocation, and moving in-year comes with a unique set of difficulties. However, a good school will be able to help families through this challenging time.

“If all parties communicate and share information openly and frequently,” says Fiona Clements, “there is every reason to feel confident that your child will not merely cope with the changes but come to see this as an exciting opportunity to move on to the next stage of their academic journey.”

See Education sections on and for updates and practical advice

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Re:locate Magazine, Spring 2013  
Re:locate Magazine, Spring 2013  

Re:locate Magazine is the leading publication for International HR, Global Managers and Relocation professionals