9/11 Makes Its Mark on International Assignments

November 14, 2001(PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employees tapped for international assignments are requiring more support from human resource professionals following the events of September 11, a recent survey finds.

The survey, titled, World Events Impact on Global Mobility survey sponsored by Cendant Mobility and the SHRM Global Forum, examined the responses of companies to the current global economic and political upheaval – particularly the responses of those responsible for managing international assignment and employee relocation.

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The survey found that 52% of the organizations surveyed have taken or are seriously considering taking action to deal with the current situation,

  • some 91% are working with an internal or external security service to advise employees, and
  • almost three-fifths are imposing temporary holds on new international assignments

The remaining 48% of participants said that they were not considering action or that it was too soon to tell.

When asked about the impact on international assignments over the next six months,

  • a little over 60% reported that they expect activity to remain about the same as it was prior to September 11 or perhaps decrease slightly,
  • while only 4% predicted an increase in overseas assignments


Regarding the type of concerns employees harbored, the survey revealed that:

  • just under 45% of employee questions and concerns involve immediate response issues such as evacuation and contingency plans,
  • while 22% were concerned with air travel safety

When asked about their own information needs, nearly 55% of participants volunteered that areas involving tactical and country-specific requests such as breaking news bulletins, government alerts, advice on action thresholds and triggers have been unmet in the past.

In light of recent events, a number of organizations also reported that they are considering alternative approaches to traditional international mobility. About a third propose more short-term assignments, while 27% will make more use of telecommuting.

A total of 218 responses were received from clients of Cendant Mobility and SHRM Global members.