World of Work

Are global workforces still vital for big businesses?

Why, in a world of digital communications and virtual working, do organisations still want to physically send people to work internationally? What do they seek to achieve? Do their staff still want to take on these international roles, and how does that impact their careers and their lives? How should organisations recruit, reward, retain and protect the talent they need?

AXA has surveyed senior directors responsible for global mobility at 250 multi-national companies in eight countries and, separately, spoke to 372 people in 11 countries who are employed to work on international assignments.

The findings highlight three major barriers that organisations need to address if they are to effectively recruit, reward and retain the global talent they need:


  • ‘Motivational barriers’: matching the available roles with the way that people want to work (some based permanently in another country, others commuting)
  • ‘Wellbeing barriers’ which require employers to support staff in managing both their mental and physical wellbeing
  • ‘Financial barriers’ which see employers having to juggle demands to cut costs with the paradoxical need to invest to attract the best people

Understanding how to overcome these barriers will give businesses a core competitive advantage and we believe the findings of AXA’s World of Work report should help companies achieve just that.

Download the report for the full insights and watch the video to hear what Tom Wilkinson, the CEO of AXA’s global healthcare business, has to say about the report’s findings.

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A global workforce is critical to success

Despite unstable economic climate and globally rising political populism, businesses still view a flexible and globally-mobile workforce as key when it comes to building a successful business. However, the way people want to work as a globally mobile employee is changing. Download the report for more on the challenges businesses face in managing a global workforce

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Cost of international assignees

It’s common knowledge that sending employees on an assignment abroad takes considerable investment.The question is - how do companies offer an attractive benefits package while making the costs sustainable? Read the full report for more detail on the challenges employee managers are facing when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

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Hostility and personal security concerns

Are they on the rise? Red-tape issues and security are seen as increasingly pressing with businesses citing concerns about staff security and safety while abroad. Coupled with security worries, the tightening of visa and immigration rules came out as being an issue for sending staff on international assignments. Download the report for the full findings.

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Mental Health is key for employee wellbeing

The report found that companies are concerned about mental health issues affecting staff on international assignments. Coupled with the finding that the main reason international assignments fail is due to personal reasons, it’s clear that mental health is an important issue businesses need to consider. Read the report to find out more about mental health and global employees.

Our contributors


Professor Sebastian Reiche,
Department of Managing People in Organisations, IESE
Sebastian Reiche earned his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne, Australia and is currently Associate Professor and Department Chair of Managing People in Organisations at IESE Business School in Spain. Prof. Reiche’s expertise focuses on forms of global mobility and global work, knowledge transfer, talent retention, and global leadership. 

He has published over 40 contributions to books and articles in leading academic journals. His research has been acknowledged by several awards from the prestigious Academy of Management, the IESE Alumni Organisation and has featured in The Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes, BBC Capital, and Handelsblatt, among others.

Prof. Reiche is Associate Editor of Human Resource Management Journal and regularly blogs on the topic of expatriation (



 Olga Kravchenko 

With over 20 years’ experience in HR, Olga Kravchenko has worked across the FMCG and financial sectors in a variety  of senior level roles. Olga’s experience includes bringing HR expertise into businesses at different stages of development and maturity. 

In 2015, Olga accepted the role of Global Head of International Mobility and Centre of Excellence for the AXA Group, a business which employs over 118,000 staff across 64 countries. Olga is of Ukrainian nationality and holds a Master’s Degree in International Economic Relationships.

World of Work report

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