Press release

16 Mar 2023 London, GB

Rise of the ‘cross-border career’: Employees prioritize life-changing international work experiences

LONDON, 16 MARCH 2023. Employees are embracing the ‘cross-border career’, with 93% saying that working internationally would be “life-changing” according to the EY 2023 Mobility Reimagined Survey.

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  • EY 2023 Mobility Reimagined Survey shows 93% of employees say working internationally would be “life-changing” 
  • 88% of employers believe mobility can help address global talent shortages 
  • Only 47% of businesses currently have a consistent mobility policy that addresses increasing demands for flexible and agile working

Employees are embracing the ‘cross-border career’, with 93% saying that working internationally would be “life-changing” according to the EY 2023 Mobility Reimagined Survey. That life-changing experience is seen as the top benefit of an international assignment, followed by career development, and gaining a global mindset.

The survey canvassed the views of over 1,000 human resources (HR) and mobility professionals and mobile employees across 16 countries and six key sectors addressing various forms of cross-border mobility assignments, including the relocation of employees for work, business travel, commuting and hybrid/remote work.

Ninety percent of employees surveyed would accept a short-term assignment without relocating their families to fill a business need, while 88% are open to longer-term cross-border opportunities under the right circumstances.

Meanwhile, 88% of HR professionals say employers consider mobility as an approach to address global talent shortages and 90% plan to sustain or increase the organization’s scope of mobility over the next three years. Organizations are also seeing the value of workplace flexibility and movement in driving their diversity, equality and inclusiveness (DE&I) goals, with six in ten (61%) saying it provides development and succession opportunities for underrepresented groups. While 3 of every 4 employers (74%) consider mobility crucial for business continuity, less than half (47%) say they have a globally consistent mobility policy addressing options like hybrid mobility, relocation, or temporary projects.

Joost Smits, EY Global Mobility Leader, says:

“Mobility is increasingly a strategic focus for modern organizations. This research shows a cross-border move can be life-changing for employees and their families, building skills and connections that are both personally and professionally valuable. Similarly, organizations are seeing the transformational impact of offering global exploration opportunities to build individual skills and capabilities. A well-implemented, purpose led mobility policy can be a game-changer for a business’s talent strategy, supporting retention, encouraging inclusivity, while also addressing skills gaps by offering employees opportunity for movement within. As demand for flexible and hybrid working practices continues to rise, employers with mobility strategies that can be adapted to different needs will be best placed in the race for talent.”

Organizations face new set of risks with international placements

Employers face various risks when activating their cross-border mobility programs, that employees are less likely to see. The most prevalent on HR teams’ radar is cyber risk, cited by 83%, followed by loss of management oversight (79%) and data privacy (78%), as well as the ability to place employees in a new position upon their return (78%) – a concern employees might want to address before they make the move. However, there is a lack of preparedness to deal with ensuing risks, with only 29% strongly agreeing they can deal with geopolitical risks.

Furthermore, many employees fail to recognize the potential risks with cross-border movement. Compared to employers, 18% fewer employees, on an average, are likely to realize the moderate-to-significant risk levels involved in international experiences.

Rachel D’Argenio, EY Global Mobility Market Leader, says:

“Knowing and managing the inherent complexities and risks of cross-border movement is critical to any organization’s mobility strategy. Otherwise, well-meaning international placements could negatively impact the employee experience, backfire on retention and usher in tax, legal and compliance issues. Despite the fact that we have seen the authorities around the world increase their leverage of technology to identify cross-border activity, we see many organizations struggle to obtain cross-functional alignment on the management of risks in light of new ways of working and enhanced pressure from both the business and the talent team. As a result, companies are left exposed.”

Mobility functions undergo digital transformation to address increasing demand

Organizations plan to invest in digitizing their mobility processes as demand for international placements increases. Sixty-seven percent expect to increase their investment in mobility technology and digitization over the next five years, while 92% agree that digitizing the mobility function is beneficial across multiple tasks and workflows. On average, just 35% of respondents say their organization has digitized key processes.

D’Argenio says: “With both employers and employees aligned on the benefits of cross-border mobility, organizations need innovative solutions to manage the complexities of moving people and workstreams across borders. Leaders need to embrace digitization of key mobility processes throughout the employee journey to enhance the employee experience and unlock the potential of a truly agile workforce.”

To read the full survey:


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About the survey

The inaugural EY 2023 Mobility Reimagined Survey reveals cross-border assignments as life-changing for employees, and value generators for organizations. The survey was conducted in December and received responses from 1,026 employees and employers from 16 countries across six sectors. The survey was conducted using a third-party panel and targeted employers with a range of 500 to 15,000 employees.

To take a, CPE accredited, deeper dive into the survey results, please visit and register here:  Welcome - EY 2023 Mobility Reimagined Conference (