Every year, Aires’ Consulting Services conducts a large survey focusing on a specific category of mobile employees. The survey typically rotates between three major areas in global mobility: domestic relocations, international permanent relocations, and expatriate assignments. Aires’ most recent survey, completed and released in December 2023, focused on expatriate assignments. The Aires 2023 Expatriate Trends Report highlights benchmarking data on all the typical and not-so-typical relocation services, support, and expenses provided to international assignees.

The survey included 116 total questions with responses from 150 unique companies spanning many industries. It included both active Aires clients (55%) and non-Aires clients (45%) with expatriate activity.

Key Survey Findings

Among the survey data are the following key findings:

Overall:

  • Expatriate assignments are most often managed by a company’s Total Rewards/Compensation staff (reported by 43% of organizations).
  • More than one third of organizations report an increase in expatriate populations.
  • The average assignment length is 2.6 years (down from 2.88 years in 2020).
  • Most organizations have one or two expatriate policies.
  • More organizations rely on assignment letters to communicate assignment support rather than using the policy itself.
  • 45% of organizations have flexible policy benefits to some degree.
  • Two-year repayment agreements remain the most common; however, this number is declining and one-year agreements are on the rise.
  • Three and five years are the most common maximum durations of expatriate assignments.
  • Most ongoing benefits cease upon localization following an assignment.

Pre Assignment Support:

  • The average length of pre-assignment trips is 5.2 days, down from 5.5 days in 2020.
  • Language and cultural training are still commonly found in expatriate policies and are now most often offered virtually.
  • Thirty days of temporary accommodation is still most common.
  • Few organizations provide home sale or property management of home country housing for expatriates.
  • Almost three-quarters of organizations provide lease cancellation support; two months of rent is most common.

Household Goods Shipping Support:

  • Air shipments are still prevalent in expatriate policies; authorizations often vary based on family size.
  • Surface shipping authorizations are most often 20-ft and 40-ft containers based on family size.
  • 22% confirm an allowance in lieu of shipment is standard, while another 26% report offering allowances on a case-by-case basis or as a flexible benefit.

On Assignment Support:

  • Miscellaneous allowances are very common; the average allowance amount is $9,003 USD.
  • COLA/G&S allowances are very common; $188,095 USD is the average salary cap used in calculating the allowance.
  • Host country housing is commonly paid for in full by organizations; 63% report paying for some/all host country utilities through either an allowance, reimbursement, or direct payment to supplier.
  • While host country transportation is still a common expatriate benefit, its prevalence has declined compared to 2020.
  • Children’s education remains a common benefit among expatriate policies with most organizations paying only required fees (i.e., enrollment, tuition, and mandatory fees).
  • Home leave continues to be prevalent in expatriate policies, most often one trip per year.
  • Dependent travel to the host country, rest and relaxation trips, and bank wire fees are less prevalent than other ongoing support.

View the Full Report

To access the comprehensive 2023 Expatriate Trends Survey Report, click here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your Aires representative

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