Who’s driving your workforce mobility?

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Law firms have traditionally used mobility strategies to respond to business needs and plug skills gaps in the host location – meeting the needs of the business today. But now the demands of a new generation of clients and workers, mean that a strong mobility program is becoming key to good talent management, and in turn can have a real impact on the bottom line.

Proactive, strategic, and more diverse, mobility strategies will help law firms build the workforce they need tomorrow, while managing cost and growing the bottom line.

Large clients have never been shy to demand what they want from their law firms, and to engage different representation if they feel their requirements are not being met. As employee demographics change within client organisations, and as clients seek to access new global markets, they demand similar agility from their law firms. Clients want to be serviced by the right people, in the right places at the right times.

At the same time, mobility candidates are changing. Traditionally, a law firm’s overseas deployments have gone to senior, usually male, often professional ex-pats with families. These roles commanded high salaries and came with substantial benefits, including provision of housing and school fees. International roles were often filled by ‘career expatriates’ on back-to-back assignments.

Today’s workforce is becoming increasingly dynamic with the demographic of mobile workers changing. Millennials want a different experience and older women are now wanting the same opportunities that were offered to their male counterparts, recognising that it is not just men who can add value off shore.

The people putting their hand up for mobility opportunities are now likely to be younger, more likely to be single – and just as likely to be women. These millennial candidates – a demographic that will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025 – have new expectations and different priorities.

Many companies admit they are struggling to attract and retain millennials, who are typically the most dissatisfied group of employees. This is because what millennials want is flexibility, choice and change in where, when and how they work. Millennials are looking for shorter, more varied career experiences. They’ll only stay for a year or two at most– unless their law firm can offer them the change and challenge of a different geography.

To offer their employees competitive mobility packages, in an uncertain and increasingly protectionist international environment, law firms will need a fresh approach to mobility strategies, policies and procedures.