Inadequate data on workforce mobility is placing firms under increasing pressure as they struggle to deploy global human resource strategies, contain costs and comply with the demands of cross-border regulatory obligations.
This is according to EY’s 2015-16 Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey, which provides insights from more than 200 professionals across 35 jurisdictions and 13 industry sectors. Some key findings include:
The report finds that poor data capture and poor analytics is affecting firms’ ability to meet the challenges of an increasingly globalized marketplace, for which putting the right people in the right places at the right time is essential for operating effectively and profitably.
More than half (52%) of survey respondents said they don’t have access to the data necessary to bring greater insight into their mobility programs.
“Data analytics has become a critical component to the success of global mobility programs. It has evolved from programs that merely track assignments, to highly complex analytics that identify inefficiencies, improve compliance and identify and manage the risks associated with the mobility workforce,” said Leslie Fiorentino, EY Americas Mobility Leader.
“Survey respondents are clearly aware of the need for such analytics and understand how vulnerable their firm may be without it. There has never been so much pressure to upgrade their systems and show value for mobility programs.”
Resourcing magnifies this issue for many businesses whose mobility responsibilities are handled alongside primary day-to-day tasks such as payroll, tax, remuneration or generalized human resources functions. Almost half (49%) of respondents felt that their workforce mobility functions were under staffed.
Successful Mobility Programs Must Flex With Regulation
Recommendations under the OECD’s Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative would require companies to be more transparent and provide more data about the mobile workforce.
With BEPS reporting at front of mind, those organizations which don’t have policies and procedures to mitigate short-term business traveller risk will be required to give this urgent attention. Seventy-six percent of respondents stated that they either have a formal policy in place to manage short-term business travellers or intend to implement one.
Poor Tracking Can Inhibit the Success of International Assignments
The BEPS initiative has highlighted the notion of Permanent Establishment (PE) and business travellers operating outside formal expatriate assignment policies are increasingly at risk of creating unintended tax obligations. Additionally, BEPS will impact intangible business assets, such as intellectual property, which will prompt a range of potential impacts.
Analyzing and aggregating disparate data that connects risk factors in respect of taxation, social security and visa compliance can reveal important trends and patterns as well as aid businesses in addressing regulatory obligations. Despite this, 72% of respondents indicated that they are not tracking the success of their international assignments.