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Employers must adapt global mobility strategies as millennials shun emerging markets, study warns

Companies are facing talent shortages because graduates do not want to work in emerging economies

Global companies are facing talent shortages and skills gaps because graduates do not want to work in emerging economies such as India and China, a PWC report has found.

The Talent Mobility: 2020 and Beyond report predicts the number of workers taking on global assignments will increase by 50% in the next decade as companies re-think where their talent needs to be to fulfil their growth ambitions.

However, the report finds there is a mismatch between where employees need talent and where the talent is willing to go.

While two thirds of millennials want an overseas assignment during their career, only 11% are willing to work in India and 2% in China.

By contrast, 58% want to work in the US, 48% in the UK and 39% in Australia.

The report, based on data from 900 global companies, found only 1% of people are completing traditional assignments, which involve three years in a different country then returning home.

The average length of a posting has dropped to 18 months. Long distance commuters has increased and 8% of the working population are now mobile workers.

Right talent wrong places

"Many companies are facing the reality that they don't have the right talent in the right places to fulfil their global growth ambitions," said Carol Stubbings, UK international assignment services leader at PWC.

Stubbings said while it was "great news" for employers that millennials want to work abroad aligning employees' expectations with companies needs and growth prospects will bring issues.

Talent constraints

"Employers are likely to need workers to go to fast-growing emerging economies and new urban hotspots, rather than the more popular developed locations favoured by graduates."

Separate research from the PWC of more than 1,400 global HR directors found 15% of employers were unable to achieve growth forecasts in overseas markets due to talent constraints. This has led to 64% changing their approach to global mobility.

"Long-distance commuting, virtual mobility, project-based and assignee-led projects are all set to become the norm," said Stubbings.

"The era where assignments meant a three- or four-year relocation was coming to an end."

"Many new forms of global mobility did not involve relocation at all."