UK employers are looking further afield to exploit new business opportunities in the globalised marketplace, according to latest research from Aviva.
Its survey finds that 58% of employers sending staff overseas are posting employees to new locations, with the emerging BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China featuring prominently.
One in five employers, 21%, say that they’ve sent more employees abroad over the past few years. A further 13% are looking to increase the number of staff they send on overseas assignments.
The research reveals that macro economic issues have prompted businesses to consider international opportunities. Over half, 55%, of companies are targeting new markets to expand their business. Meanwhile 29% believe they can make more money in overseas markets.
Despite an appetite to increase global workforces, an overwhelming 68% of employers describe the re-location process as challenging, with 60% saying that different rules and regulations in relation to issues such as health provision cause them the biggest headache.
Although half of employers admit that they struggle to get their rewards package right, Aviva’s research reveals that a key priority is protecting employees’ health and wellbeing. Over half, 57%, say that they want to know that their staff can access medical support when they need it and 43% that treatment is paid for.
Three quarters of employers include international health insurance as part of their relocation package placing it the second most offered benefit behind housing at 78%.
Other widely offered benefits include paying expenses (72%), arranging schooling (52%) and life insurance (40%).
Despite this support, 51% of employers have seen international assignments fail. The trend towards relocating employees to more culturally diverse countries could further increase the challenges employers’ face, especially considering that the two main reasons for employees returning home are cultural (37%) and language (26%) barriers.
‘Relocation is not an easy task and staff rely on their employers to give them the appropriate support to make their relocation a success. International private medical insurance gives employees the peace of mind that they can access medical support whenever they need it,’ said Teresa Rogers of Aviva UK Health.
‘However, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact many assignments fail because employees don’t have the emotional support they need to help them settle into a new culture. Giving workers access to additional services such as 24 hour access to a doctor and specialist counselling support can make all the difference,’ she explained.
‘It’s crucial that companies appreciate that not all products on the market are the same and we would encourage them to do the necessary research to ensure that they buy the right cover to suit an employee’s individual needs and circumstances,’ she added.
The Aviva relocation trend report canvassed the views of employers and their employees on issues relating to international relocation. The results provide a snapshot of current issues and concerns relating to international assignments.