UK top three for international business

The UK has been revealed as the third most popular location in the world for international work, behind only USA and China, according to new research.

The findings showed that despite concerns around Brexit, the UK was the third most common place to be sent on international business – with almost 1 in 10 international business assignments arranged for the UK.

This figure is only behind the USA, which sees nearly a fifth of international secondments and continues to be a vastly popular business destination despite concerns over the Trump administration. China is the second most common location, a reflection of its increasingly open rhetoric towards international business and foreign investment.

However, Brexit appears to have already had an impact on the number of workers being sent from the UK on assignment or secondment to locations around the world, with the report showing a decline in the number of workers being sent abroad from the UK. In 2016, 13 per cent of all international assignments were for employees based in the UK, falling to 9 per cent this year.

Indeed, the new report acknowledges that relocations and assignments are becoming increasingly complicated more generally. Despite business leaders still believing employee mobility is needed for commercial growth, it’s also acknowledged that immigration complications and the changed political climate are threatening international mobility. To manage business leaders’ and employees’ expectations on the potentially slower pace of enabling relocations, global mobility teams need to be proactively engaging business leaders to ensure they are involved at the earliest intentions of an international assignment and ensure mechanisms are in place to facilitate mobility. 

Neil Bothams, Regional CEO of Santa Fe Relocation, Europe said: “Despite intense speculation about  around Britain’s standing in the world, these new report findings show Britain is still open for business. The UK, which is approximately 20 per cent of the US in population terms, still packs a punch when it comes to global commerce.

“Whilst the UK remains second place as the largest sending country, the drop from a 13 per cent share to 9 per cent is significant.  As far as we can determine from the data and speaking to our clients, some UK based companies are utilising other shorter term approaches including business traveller solutions and are more hesitant about committing to long term assignment programmes.  The pressure is on Global Mobility professionals to support their businesses’ with appropriate solutions to facilitate mobility whilst much of the uncertainty persists.”