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KPMG: Competition for international talent focuses on mobility programs
June 29, 2012
By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
According to KPMG’s International Executive Service’s Global Assignment Policies and Practices Survey, mobility programs are undergoing a number of subtle yet important changes as the competition for international talent picks up steam.
Since the first survey in 1999, the number of mobility programs that include unmarried domestic partners of the opposite gender rose from just 24 percent in 1999 to 55 percent in 2012; the number of programs that include same-sex partners has risen from 17 percent to 49 percent in the same timeframe. The tendency to include same-sex couples is most marked in Europe (63 percent of organizations) and Asia (60 percent), whereas 40 percent of American-headquartered companies extend their classification of family to include same-sex partnerships.
Almost three quarters (73 percent) of companies offer tax equalization policies, meaning that their employees on international assignment pay no more or no less tax than they would have paid had they remained in their home jurisdiction. The practice is more prevalent in the Americas than in Asia Pacific or Europe. But while tax equalization policies have remained fairly common since 1999, the survey indicates significant changes in how they are being managed. For example, over the past 10 years, companies have become 50 percent more likely to expect assignees to pay any tax due on share purchases.
A growing number of organizations with international assignees are looking to tweak their mobility policies and practices in order to enhance their competitive position in the marketplace. One area where significant divergence is becoming clear is in the treatment of cost-of-living allowances. While 58 percent of all companies have no limits or caps on allowances over and above normal compensation, companies headquartered in Asia Pacific are much more likely (77 percent) to have no limits, versus those in the Americas (55 percent). And while 41 percent of European companies impose negative cost-of-living allowances on their assignees, only 13 percent of Asian companies do the same.