According to the findings of a survey of 180 managers by London-based consultants Brookfield, more than two thirds of the major multinationals are expecting to post fewer employees abroad this year.
Nannette Ritmeester of the Dutch consultancy Expertise in Labour Mobility recognises the picture. She sees two possible responses to the crisis: either send fewer employees abroad, or economise on the facilities for expats, by cutting back on housing allowances or air tickets for trips back home.
However, spokespersons for Shell, Philips and Akzo Nobel are keen to stress that they won’t be skimping on perks for expats.
“They’re set down in the collective labour agreement – they’re agreed beforehand so you can’t change them,” says a Philips spokesperson.
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