Worldwide Survey of International Assignment Policies and Practices

2023 reports now available!

The recent social and economic crises are prompting organizations to review their global mobility strategies and policies. Accelerated digitalization and increased importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are among this year’s key megatrends impacting companies and HR teams worldwide.

The latest reports from our Worldwide International Assignment Policies and Practices survey (WIAPP), conducted during February and March 2023, help you uncover the current trends in global mobility programs and long-term assignment management to gain actionable insights and benchmark your approaches.

Order the 2023 WIAPP reports online!

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Strategic mobility management

Based on data from over 360 participating organizations, the report outlines the why and how of global talent mobility programs, their direction and how they fit within broader company strategies.

  • What drives international talent mobility
  • Where mobility management fits within an organization
  • How it relates to talent management
  • The organization and responsibilities of the mobility function, including operating models, digitalization and technology
  • Demographic trends
  • International assignment policy framework trends
Order the Strategic Mobility Management Survey report →
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Long-term assignment policies and practices*

The report explores long-term assignment (LTA) policy and practice trends from over 300 participating organizations, and their evolution since the 2020 survey edition.

  • LTA trends and demographics, policy frameworks and program administration
  • Remuneration approaches
  • Tax, social security and compliance
  • Allowances and benefits including cost of living (COL) / goods and services (G&S), housing, education, transportation and more
  • Hardship / quality of living (QOL) premiums and rest-and-recreation leave
  • Security and emergency evacuation measures
  • Pre-assignment support and relocation assistance
  • Repatriation and localization
Order the Long-Term Assignment Policies and Practices Survey report →


*Long-term assignment is defined as an assignment for an existing company employee to live and work in another country, accompanied or not by their family, for a definite period of time between one and five years, after which the assignee is either repatriated, localized or sent on another assignment.


Key WIAPP report highlights

Strategic mobility management report

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Only 4% of organizations say their global mobility program is fully aligned to their global talent strategy, while a quarter say they are aligned. Over half of respondents indicate that they are only somewhat aligned and should be more aligned, and one-fifth admit they are not aligned and still work in silo.

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Global mobility is considered as very important in the talent agenda to fill strategic/leadership or technical roles when talent is not available locally by over 60% of respondents (rated 4 on a scale from 1 to 4).

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Similar to the trend we see in general talent management, multinational companies consider enhancing employee experience as one of their highest priorities in global mobility for the next two years.

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More than one-third of North American companies rank improving technology to manage mobility a high priority (rated 4 on a scale from 1 to 4), compared to a quarter in Europe and 17% in APAC.

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Similar to the previous WIAPP editions — and despite efforts to diversify mobility types and adapt policies — high costs remain one of the main obstacles to international mobility, rated as a large or very large barrier by close to half of organizations. Family-related issues rank as the second biggest barrier to mobility.

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Six in 10 organizations think that their mobility function/management is gaining a stronger strategic impact and almost three-quarters believe that their global mobility function is equipped with the right skills/competencies.

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Despite increased diversification of international mobility types, long-term assignments remain the most common assignment type. However, it’s also the assignment type for which the highest proportion of respondents report a decrease in the last two years and expect a decrease in the future.

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Long-term assignment policies and practices report

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The survey findings reveal that the proportion of female assignees remains unchanged from 2020, with women accounting for one-fifth of all long-term assignees.

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Managing exceptions, cost containment, and managing tax and tax compliance turn out to be main challenges in LTA management.

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Close to three quarters of respondents have reviewed, are reviewing or plan to review their policy flexibility, or consider introducing flexibility in their long-term assignment policies. Household goods shipment, spouse and family support, pre-assignment support, airfare and home leave, followed by vacation and education allowances are the five most likely flexible elements in typical LTA policies.

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Three quarters of organizations do not track long-term assignment failure, most commonly due to lack of a process in place. Moreover, and to the same degree as in the 2020 WIAPP edition, close to half of all respondents have not defined what assignment failure means for their organization.

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Participation remains open

The survey remains open. You may participate at your convenience to receive discounted access to the full reports and benefit from participant-only benchmarking opportunities. Survey participants can also order custom cut benchmarking reports for tailored insights and company positioning.

Good to know:

  • The 2023 WIAPP survey consists of two questionnaires: Strategic Mobility Management Survey and Long-Term Assignment Policies and Practices Survey. You may take one or both of them, gaining access to participant benefits relative to the questionnaire you have filled. Different members of your organizations may be best positioned to fill each of the questionnaires.
  • You can fill the surveys online at your own pace. The interactive questionnaires will chart your progress, allowing you to take a break at any point and resume at your convenience.



2023 reports released! The Strategic mobility management report and Long-term assignment policies and practices report are now available through our online shop.

Order online

Participation is open The survey remains open. Participate at your convenience to receive discounted access to the full reports and benefit from participant-only benchmarking opportunities.

Start the survey

Alternative International Assignments Survey This survey focuses on trends and policies and practices for managing short-term assignments, commuters and one-way transfers, complementing Mercer’s WIAPP survey.

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Flexible policies The report from our Flexible Mobility Policies Survey will help you find out how companies have introduced flexibility in their global mobility policies, presenting the prevalent approaches and how successful they have been.

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Policy benchmarking Participation in the WIAPP facilitates a review with Mercer's Policy Benchmarking service. We can assess your mobility program using precise benchmarking tools and report on gaps in your program that could be costing you money or valuable competitive advantage.

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