Alternative International Assignments Survey

Participate in Mercer's Alternative International Assignments survey through 25 June 2021

In the last decade, the diversification of international moves and the segmentation of assignment types have accelerated. The 2020/2021 edition of the Alternative International Assignments Survey (AIA) continues our research into the use of international assignments other than long-term expatriate assignments: short-term assignments, permanent moves / one-way transfers, and commuter assignments. The survey explores trends, management, and policies and practices that companies have put in place to move talent effectively and efficiently. Since we introduced the AIA in 2013, these "alternatives" to traditional long-term assignments have matured in their roles for meeting global staffing needs and become more prevalent in many organizations.

2020/2021 AIA edition resuming in May

Mercer launched the latest edition of the AIA survey in fall 2020. However, we found that most companies were still struggling to handle the more immediate impact of the health crisis on employee mobility while managing their mobility programs in the most sustainable and effective manner under the circumstances. We suspended the survey to allow participants more time to assess changes to their assignment policies and practices, and we are pleased to resume participation in the 2020/2021 AIA in early May, to take the pulse and gain insight on the latest trends in short-term assignments, permanent or one-way transfers, and commuter assignments.

Chart shows highlights from Mercer survey on short-term assignments

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Short-term assignments

  • Trends and demographics
  • Short-term assignment policies and practices
  • Compensation approach for short-term assignments
  • Cost of living / daily living costs
  • Tax Housing and utilities
  • Mobility and hardship premiums
  • Education and childcare
  • Transportation
  • Travel and home leave
  • Additional support
  • Benefits
icon of a project clipboard

Permanent moves / one-way transfers

  • Trends and management
  • Compensation approach for permanent moves / one-way transfers
  • “Plus” allowances / benefits in kind and relocation support
  • Benefits
icon of a suitcase

Commuter assignments

  • Trends and management
  • Compensation approach for commuters
  • Living costs
  • Tax
  • Housing and utilities
  • Mobility premium / assignment incentive and hardship premium
  • Education and childcare
  • Transportation
  • Travel policy
  • Benefits
  • Additional assistance

Survey participation

The 2020/2021 AIA edition consists of three questionnaires corresponding to the three assignment types surveyed. For your convenience, we are resuming this edition in early May. A full report with summary for each assignment type will be published end of Q3.

If you already participated in the 2020/2021 edition, your submission entitles you to receive the participant benefits. If you have started the 2020/2021 AIA and are still in progress, you can resume where you left off by using the personal link and password sent to you upon starting the survey.

If you wish to review your 2020/2021 submission or no longer have the necessary link and password to resume, please contact

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