China Relocation and International Assignment Survey

China is on the move.

If you are originally from the West, you might think moving to China is a little bit too exotic for you. But perhaps once you arrived to one of China’s major metropolises you might actually find that it has many of the things which you would find at home to make you feel comfortable, including an English speaking expatriate community to form a support system. However, this may not be the case for China Tier 2 or China Tier 3 cities as specified by the Chinese government which are determined by population size and economic growth potential.

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US Domestic Best Practices – Volume Trends 2010

 US Domestic Best Practices   Volume Trends 2010The more things change, the more they stay the same…

If one word could be used to describe the outlook that corporate relocation professionals have for 2010 it would be stability. This is a marked difference over 2009 which saw employers decrease hiring budgets by 23%[1] and a housing market which saw decreases by 18% from the previous year [2]. 

Overwhelmingly the results from this month’s Paragon Pulse survey indicate that US Domestic relocation volume will either stay the same as last year or even increase over the previous year. Is it possible that the bottom of this down economy has been reached? Of the respondents to the survey, 62% indicated that there will neither be an increase or a decrease over the volume that they had last year. However, 19% of respondents indicated that there will be an increase of volume in 2010 as opposed to just 5% saying there will be a decrease in volume over the same period of time. This makes sense because since November of last year hiring has slowly been on the rise [3]. 

Another question on the survey asked how the respondents would like to improve their current relocation program in 2010, the highest amount chose to “Try to reduce the number of exceptions to policy” at 37%, while the second highest number of respondents chose “Create more relocation training for internal hiring managers and or recruiters” at 26%. To reduce the number of exceptions to policy Paragon recommends reassessing the current policies which are available to the transferring employees to see if current best practices could be aligned more effectively with the current needs of the employees moving. Often small changes to a relocation program can bring about a tremendous reduction of exceptions which saves money in the end. 

In conclusion, the stabilization of volume in 2010 is a welcome sign of relief that perhaps the economy will be better this year than last year. Hopefully these are early signs that companies will begin hiring again and that the housing market will begin to achieve some of the value that it has lost since 2007, which will make selling transferee’s homes a much smoother process for corporations and employees. 

Click here to see the complete survey results from the US Domestic Best Practices in Volume Trends 2010. 

Coming out in early February is Paragon’s 2010 Policy Benefits Best Practices White Paper. Please contact us to request a Free copy. 


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Paragon Pulse: International Program Design

Global moves in all shapes and sizes

People move to different destinations around the world for specific periods of time for specific purposes; therefore they need different benefits to fit their needs. Most often these benefits would be determined by the duration of the time the employee would need to be in a specific international destination. Typically these move types are divided into 3 segments: Short Term Assignments, Long Term Assignments and Global Permanent moves. In this month’s Paragon Pulse the survey respondents have indicated the elements of their international program design for each of these 3 segments by responding on a survey for each segment.

1. Short Term Assignments
When companies need to send an employee to another location for a short period of time that is longer than an extended business trip they send them on a Short Term Assignment. The Paragon Pulse survey results typically defined a short term assignment as a work related trip that would last 6-12 months…

For further reading and survey results, please click here.

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Property Management

As a follow-up to our previous post on the increasing use of property management services, the survey below details the uses of this benefit by relocation professionals.

Many transferees who are facing a tough housing market are looking at property management from a new perspective with US housing creating challenges with selling residential real estate. Relocating professionals are finding this policy benefit timely if they are unable to sell their homes while moving for a new job outside of their current work location.

The implications of the decision to use the property management benefit is a forfeiture of the homesale program provision, if applicable. 83% of Paragon Pulse respondents report that those who use the property management benefit are excluded from the homesale program, reflecting this decision would not be made without serious consideration.

The number of companies offering the property management benefit is spilt evenly between all respondents with 50% of all companies offering it to their home owner transferring employee base.

For complete article and survey results, please click on the link below:
Paragon Pulse:

Bookmark Property Management

Paragon Pulse July 2009

Short Sales and Negative Equities

Swimming in an Underwater Housing Market

Short Sales and Negative Equities are the result of the harsh effects of a housing marketing readjustment. Allowing these types of housing situations into a Relocation Program provokes some interesting questions. Will the company be at risk by allowing unusual sales into the program? Would this really be the best time to relocate a family who is in this scenario? If the company does decide to move someone in either a short sale or negative equity situation, will the company provide hardship assistance to shield the employee from loss?

For further reading please click on the link below:

Paragon Pulse July 2009 Results

Paragon Pulse March 2009

Managing Compensation on a World Scale

All parts of preparing and arriving for an international assignment may go well; however, “don’t mess with the money”! Whether an assignee is paid on home or host, or split payrolls, paying and reporting compensation accurately and timely is a must as there are almost always potential tax consequences to missing or inaccurate information. One key to preventing such a debacle is to identify a means to capture international compensation from all possible data sources within a global organization, no easy feat as reported by some respondents to this month’s Paragon Pulse survey.

As an indication of how important and complicated global payroll can be, 47% of Paragon Pulse survey respondents said they utilize “over 5” different payroll systems/ providers with 1 to 10 internal employees dedicated to this initiative world wide. To keep pace with reporting, 50% of respondents collect international payroll data monthly, bimonthly or quarterly with 57% further reporting the same information for tax purposes up to 13 times or more in a calendar year.

In an article featured in the October 2008 issue of Mobility Magazine, it states “the penalty for out-of-compliance relocation payroll practices can exceed US$10,000 per move per year.” For countries across borders, punishment varies and may result in even higher costs to the corporation.


Global Payroll

Managing Compensation on a World Scale

Based on the survey, there is an indication that the frequency of compiling and reporting provides a checks and balances system that helps payroll professionals identify and reconcile any issues early that could turn into a potential problem with all (100%) of the survey respondents indicating an error rate of less than 1%.

For further reading please click on the link below:

Paragon Pulse Jan 2009

Commuter Marriage

Worldwide ERC defines a Commuter Marriage as one in which the transferee accepts a relocation and moves to the new work location without the spouse. The spouse and family remain indefinitely in the old location creating a commuting situation for the couple/family.

In 2007 the Worldwide ERC Family Issues report stated that nearly 75 percent of respondents to the survey have encountered and addressed at least one commuter marriage situation that resulted from relocation in the past two years, a significant increase from the 53 percent who reported having done so in 2003, the last time the survey was completed. And our Paragon Pulse results support those findings with 67 percent having encountered a Commuter Marriage relocation situation in the past two years.

For further reading please click on the link below: