Engineering and construction companies know they need to compete in a global marketplace and doing so requires the ability to move talented, highly skilled people around the world. While companies in other industries may send only a few expatriates on international assignments, a major construction project often requires mobilizing large teams, composed of both in-house staff and external contractors. This kind of large-scale mobilization brings with it some large-scale challenges.
A good international mobility plan means understanding the key issues that will impact your ability to relocate staff to foreign markets successfully and profitably. These issues include: international compliance, talent management and effective reward/retention strategies.
Once there has been a successful bid, an overseas construction assignment moves at an extremely fast pace, and employees are often already working before regulatory compliance issues even come under discussion. Addressing compliance later in the process may increase overall costs; worse, the ramifications of noncompliance can be severe in terms of penalties and a damaged reputation. E&C companies need a dedicated plan early in the project cycle to ensure full compliance around such matters as tax, social security and immigration.
The engineering and construction sector faces skills shortages in a number of areas. Focusing on those people who consistently bring the most value to an assignment is crucial to long-term growth. Your company needs a program for managing talent, one that provides a framework to recruit and develop key people and includes strategies for appraisal and reward. Given the growing importance of new markets for many companies in the E&C industry, integrating talent management into your existing international assignment policies could provide a vital competitive advantage.
Many E&C companies fail to prioritize the retention of high-performing staff on their return from an international assignment. Yet hanging on to highly skilled, highly talented staff is fundamental to an E&C company's long-term performance and profitability. When companies are facing pressure on the bottom line, it can be tough to justify financial incentives, even for top employers. Understanding the implications of incentive programs (including those of your competitors) and their impact on international mobility is particularly important for the E&C industry.
How PwC can help
Our Engineering and Construction practice has the experience and dedication it takes to help you address the myriad challenges of international mobility. We can help you craft a successful international assignment policy that not only addresses your compliance with international law but also helps you retain your top talent. Our E&C industry specialists are augmented by a wide network of tax and human resource professionals — all with the skills and experience you need to help make every international assignment a successful one.
Contact us today to find out how we can help.