global workforce

#WorkTrends: The Global Workforce

People around the world are more connected than ever before, and workers are jumping at the chance to relocate. This week on #WorkTrends we’re joined by Steve Black, co-founder of the HR tech company Topia. He shares new research about the state of the global workforce and employees’ perspective on relocating. This episode is sponsored by Topia.

Black explains how he founded the company seven years ago with CEO Brynne Kennedy, and how the business was driven by their personal frustrations as expats as well as the challenges their employers at the time faced moving people around the world.

“Thinking about mobility from a corporate perspective is really about getting the best talent in the best seat regardless of where that is in the world,” Black says.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Generational Split

Black dives into a recent survey the company commissioned on mobility, exploring the differences in opinions and perceptions between individuals within large organizations and leadership teams.

Among the findings was an interesting generational split when it comes to expectations and desires regarding mobility. Specifically, millennials and subsequent generations are much more likely to seek out global experience quickly compared with previous generations.

“They’re looking at it as a career development opportunity rather than an income-generating opportunity,” he says. “They’re willing to move to a new location without a promotion or without a pay raise because they see the opportunity for career progression and growth.”

Gender Divide

Black says the survey data helped put hard numbers around workforce dynamics that had been generally recognized in the business world but not detailed. For example, the survey found that 57 percent of men over the course of their careers had an experience of mobility as part of their career, compared with 40 percent of women.

He says this divide is an important metric to explore as business moves toward more gender equity because a key criteria for representation in the C-suite and on boards of directors is often global experience.

“We’re in an interesting chicken-and-egg situation of until we solve the multi-gender splits within mobility, it’s going to continue to be a blocker and challenge down the road in terms of career progression,” he says.

Tech Solutions

Black says he’s seen organizations and their mobility teams struggle over the past decade-plus with carving out enough time to do the hands-on support, counseling and strategic planning elements of HR. The causes, he says, are often resource-intensive compliance tasks that are a part of mobility, such as manually creating documents and interacting with vendors.

“That balance has ended up with much of mobility being more of an operational function than many of the folks in it would like to be,” he says. “That’s where we’re really starting to see technology come into play and chip away at.”

Black says emerging technologies are automating mobility tasks, from assignment letters and repayments to complex cost forecasts for multi-year assignments around the globe. “You’ve eliminated hours of manual time spent gathering information and doing somewhat menial tasks,” he says. “And you’ve freed up time to counsel, support and talk to the rest of the business around outcome ability — and drive talent strategy rather than reacting to it in an operational way.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Thank you to Topia for sponsoring this episode of #WorkTrends.

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

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