Takeaways from the 2021 Mobility Outlook Survey: Pharmaceutical

    Apr 07, 2021 @ 05:00 AM / by Jade Chang

    2021 MOS2

    Focus on Pharmaceutical

    2020 was the most challenging year for Global Mobility. However, it gave mobility teams the time to reflect and demonstrate their value and global perception to their overall organizations. Global Mobility’s goals remain steadfast in a pre-, during-, and post-COVID-19 world: to help attract and retain key global talent. The results from Pharmaceutical companies in the Mobility Outlook Survey indicate this mission is still in the forefront for the coming year with increased focus on how mobility can best serve their customers, business functions, and assignees.

    1. Mobility should be everyone’s friend

    Mobility’s number one objective for 2021 is to enable global talent strategy. Based on the 2021 survey results, the current relationship gap between talent and mobility is wide. The importance of aligning the two functions will ensure the right people are going on assignment. Successful candidates and assignments will help the organization meet goals and provide top class talent development, and in turn, have higher retention rates. To strengthen the relationship between the two functions, Pharma needs to step into a more advisory role.

    But how? This can be in terms of better policies, more benefits, or more policies with better benefits. Additionally, sharing the employee experience metrics and why assignments fail will help other functions.
    If Mobility can provide Talent with the tools they need to succeed, the outcomes will ensure Mobility has a seat at the table in talent-planning discussions.

    2. Mobility is the vessel for success

    Pharma is above the general industry with an average 6.5 policies per year, whereas the general industry averages 6.2. Over the last few years, the number of policies has increased. This indicates the need for more policies to address new short-term and long-term solutions for the business.

    Pharma is above the general industry in how they provide flexibility to their employees. 43% of companies provide a cash lump sum and 43% of companies allow the employee to choose between a relocation lump sum or relocation services managed by suppliers. This approach is perfect for balancing relocation offerings between junior- and executive-level staff. We tend to see junior staff gravitate toward lump sums and executives prefer managed services.

    The mix of multiple policies and flexibility approaches helps mobility address flexibility for both the employee and business, giving them both the autonomy to choose. Ultimately, mobility becomes more consultative than prescriptive.

    3. Mobility has value!

    Pharma has indicated they are successful when assignments/transfer processes are standardized and efficient, and when they receive positive feedback from the business, HR, and employees. Each of these attributes are measurable through feedback surveys from the business and expatriates. Right now, 36% of Pharma companies are reporting measurable outcomes to demonstrate their value to the organization, compared to a general industry of only 21%.


    Usage of these metrics will enable an organization to empathize with the expatriates and understand the motives and need for mobility from the business’s perspective. Pharma can gather these insights more frequently and share them with both talent and the business. Alignment on expectations and needs (from employees and the business) will ensure all three functions are united in how to provide the best program for their employees going forward. The functions need to work together and support each other’s objectives to bring the most value to their organization.


    Download the 2021 Mobility Outlook Survey or contact us for more information on industry cuts.



    About AIRINC

    Listen | Partner | Deliver.  For over 60 years, AIRINC has helped clients with the right data, cutting-edge technology, and thought-leading advice needed to effectively deploy talent worldwide. Our industry expertise, solutions, and service enable us to effectively partner with clients to navigate the complexity of today’s global mobility programs. As the market continues to evolve, AIRINC seeks innovative ways to help clients address new workforce globalization challenges, including mobility program assessment metrics and cross-border talent mobility strategy. Our approach is designed with your success in mind. With an understanding of your goals and objectives, we ensure you achieve them. Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, USA, AIRINC has full-service offices in Brussels, London, and Hong Kong. Learn more by clicking here.


    Work where you live, not live where you work

    Portland Head Lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.


    Topics: Benchmarking, Mobility Policy, Webinars, Remote worker, Balance Sheet Manager, Mobility trends, Training and E-Learning, Educational, Commuters, remote work, global mobility trend, trends in global mobility, Financial services

    Jade Chang

    Written by Jade Chang

    Jade joined AIRINC’s Client Engagement group in 2015. Since that time, she has specialized in servicing clients throughout the Northeast U.S. Jade primarily services large managed programs focused within the Pharmaceutical and Banking industries. Also a member of AIRINC’s Advisory Services team, she has worked on a variety of projects across a multitude of industries. Jade’s Advisory Services focus is on benchmarking. Jade received her B.A. in Economics from Boston University and is based in New York, NY.