Global mobility: is the slowdown here to stay?

Business Travel
| The European | 6 April 2021

Covid-19 is having a major impact on how companies and individuals approach international business travel, according to global manpower solutions provider Brunel

Brunel recently released their ‘Energy Outlook’ Report 2021’, surveying over 20,000 industry professionals around the world in oil & gas, mining, and renewable energy. A key trend emerging is a slowdown in global mobility, with Covid-19 having a major impact. This trend will affect all sectors reliant on the movement of skilled professionals. The shift affects not just day-to-day travel, but also the willingness or ability of workers to permanently relocate. Short-term expat contracts are affected by closed or restricted travel between many countries. Whether this slowdown is a temporary issue, driven largely by the pandemic, or an acceleration of existing trends, remains to be seen.

Additional underlying factors

These changes are being reinforced by employers seeking to reduce travel costs, limit insurance exposure and increase efforts to minimise expat contracts through nationalisation/localisation initiatives. Environmental concerns add another layer to companies’ planning. Business travel is a significant contributor to emissions, and therefore an area where a real difference can be made. Additionally, in a world where pandemics could become more frequent, reduced travel would almost certainly become the norm as people look to limit their exposure.

Key insights

The number of employers with an objective to have more than half of their workforce sourced locally has nearly doubled from 10% to 19%. With 17% of respondents specifically stating that they are looking to avoid excess travel, although this was slightly lower in certain sectors with oil & gas at 15% and mining at 14%. When asked how they would react if other diseases similar to Covid-19 were to emerge, a large proportion of respondents (58%) – including 53% of active jobseekers – said they would change the types of opportunities, employers, and locations they would consider.

Changing scope

According to Shelley Lloyd, Global Mobility Specialist at Brunel: “With so many companies impacted financially their focus is likely to shift to recruiting, educating, and developing local talent. If this is the case, companies look to bring in key experienced expats to undertake the training for the local workforces. Services such as long-term visas, accommodation, language and cultural training, familiarisation tours and settling in services will be essential, as opposed to high volumes of travel for short term assignments. This changes the scope of global mobility services for companies and workforce.”

Further information

The ‘Energy Outlook Report 2021’ can be found at: www.brunel.net

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