BSB weathered the storm

Expat Academy BSB weathered the storm  Despite Storm Franklin and a distinct lack of online train information, the Expat Academy team, our Training Partners and our members made it together for our first in person event of 2022 at the Bite Size Briefing and it was so good to be back together!

Maura Jarvis and Kate Fitzpatrick from Mercer kicked off the day by providing an overview of talent trends. It was interesting to hear the transformation that is taking place amongst the workforce, how this impacts an organisation’s mobility strategy and what action Global Mobility should take. Their latest survey showed that it has become a challenge to recruit and retain talent not only at senior level, but also with entry level staff.

It has been reported that this is the first pandemic not to create huge unemployment, but it does mean, in the one million plus vacancies in the UK alone, people have phenomenal choices regarding who they work for. Therefore, it is now more important than ever that employers have a new employee value proposition (EVP) that is not just about salary but also takes into account lifestyle choices and flexibility. However, with multi-generational demands within an organisation this means the EVP may need to vary.

Maura went on to explain how flexibility isn’t all about being in or out of the office, it’s about the 5 pillars of flexibility – where, when, how, what and who! In addition, Global Mobility needed to move once again from being reactive in the pandemic to proactive and help their organisation re-design for the future. Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends Report is soon to be released. The data is really rich for the Talent Mobility agenda and you can pre-register to be one of the first to receive the 2022 Global Talent Trends Study by clicking here

James Hourigan and Karen McGrory from BDO discussed how to navigate the global tax challenges whilst looking further afield for talent. It was great to listen to their approach that Global Mobility should consider anything is possible, but the business must understand the benefits as well as the costs. One of their clients was taking a great attitude to flexibility called ‘A pathway to yes’ and BDO were helping them to work towards being an enabler not just viewed as the blocker to business expansion. Karen highlighted just how important it is for organisations to review their current remote working population now tax authorities were tightening any previous pragmatic approaches taken during the pandemic.

Whilst there was discussion about some employees moving to contractor status it was highlighted just how important it was to make sure it was a contract and not an employment contract as BDO had seen some clients fall foul of this. Critically it’s important to look at substance rather than form – what were they really doing? Was it essentially a role as an employee? As Mergers & Acquisitions were increasing once again, the necessary due diligence was highlighting some of these issues for organisations.

After coffee, Ezeibe Agomo from Equinix and Claire Bourke from Latham & Watkins talked about how they were trying to tackle the war on talent. Ezeibe explained how a proactive strategic partnership was key and Claire explained about how salary and bonuses were just not enough to keep people and, with a higher than usual attrition rate, they were looking at flexible options to try and stem the tide including such things as periods of unpaid leave for assignees to take time in their host country before returning to their home country.

Lunch allowed a great catch up on many overdue, in person, face to face conversations.

Ben Sheldrick, Joanne Taylor and Kerry Hough from Magrath Sheldrick provided an update after lunch looking at how organisations can maximise their access to global talent. Modern labour markets are in a state of flux. Geopolitical changes combined with the impact of the pandemic on the culture of work have resulted in skills shortages and acute competition for talent worldwide especially amongst the mid-career level employees.

Ben and Joanne highlighted the upcoming changes to the UK immigration system as the UK tries to become a global leader by bringing in talent and applying an innovation strategy as part of a broader agenda for economic growth. In addition, the sponsorship roadmap highlighted how the Home Office is committed to delivering radical changes to the sponsorship process, making it easier for users to understand and navigate. Kerry explained how the Blue Card in Europe allows highly skilled workers to be hired to work in Europe and applies to all Schengen countries except Denmark and Ireland. The recent changes to the Blue Card were aimed at ensuring the “European Union competes with other areas of the World for skills and talent. New EU Blue card rules are aimed at making the EU a more attractive option”. It was also to hear about additional immigration changes in France, the Netherlands and the UAE.

Holly Asquith and Sarah Walder from Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) took the next session and explained how their NGO works to match skilled refugees with companies in need of their skills. It was fascinating to understand how employers can gain valuable talent and displaced people have a chance to rebuild their careers and lives. TBB do this by working directly with governments to open skilled migration pathways for refugees that benefit individuals, family members, communities, and the economy.

To round off the day Rebecca Applewhite from Topia took the challenges that had been discussed and showed how tech can be the answer and how understanding the employee’s skillsets can better allow internal mobility within an organisation and be the secret weapon on the war on talent. Interestingly in a recent survey 94% of employees said they should be able to work from wherever as long as they got their job done. The current workforce is extremely mobile with 29% changing jobs in 2021 and 34% planning to in 2022. Therefore a tech solution that can manage remote working support at scale can help an organisation strike the balance between offering flexibility and ensuring compliance.

The day was rounded off with networking drinks which, once again, gave our members and training partners the opportunity to continue their conversations and the much needed in person catch up! Thanks to Mercer for looking after us so well in their fabulous newly refurbished offices.

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