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Gen X, Y & Z: Are You Ready for Next-Generation Mobility?

Worldwide ERC® - Mar 09 2020
Published in: Mobility
As multiple generations comprise the global workforce, employee expectations and priorities are shifting, and HR and talent mobility programs are evolving right along with them.

Millennials, representing more than one-third of the workforce, are a demographic ripe for helping bring much-needed workers to fill global mobility assignments. But the mobility programs that will attract them - along with Gen X and Gen Z employees - will look very different than those of Baby Boomers.

The ABCs of Gen X, Y and Z: How are they defined?

Baby Boomers Born Mid-1940s-1964
Gen X Born 1965 – 1980
Gen Y (Millennials) Born 1981 – 1996
 Gen Z Born 1997- 2012

Source: Pew Research

Is your mobility program next-generation ready? Here are some key things to consider.

A Rite of Passage.

Numerous studies show that millennials expect to have a global work assignment as part of their career growth. In fact, they consider an overseas assignment a rite of passage, says PWC in its Talent Mobility 2020 report.

“Having grown up in a world where international travel is a regular occurrence and having attended universities where international diversity and the opportunities to study abroad are widespread, the new workforce generation is keen to work abroad and expects to do so as part of their career development,” notes Dr. Sue Shortland, Senior Lecturer in HRM at the University of Westminster.

What draws them to an overseas assignment is their desire for adventure,
experiencing new cultures and regions, and learning a new language – all while expanding work skills.


The one-size-fits-all approach is quickly giving way to individualized talent management offerings. Case in point: the average number of mobility policies per company was 5.3 in 2019, up from 4.4 in 2018 – and just 3.4 in 2011, according to AIRINC’s 2019 Mobility Outlook Survey. And at least one-fourth of companies give employees flexibility in choosing their benefits.

For millennials, that customization is critical. Consider tailored solutions geared around the assignment type, individual lifestyle and demographic, career aspirations, and grade or level within the company.

Non-traditional Housing

It used to be that the traditional remote worker was a 40-something white, married male. For him and his (typically non-working) spouse, expat housing was a standard part of their mobility package. But for many next-gen workers, buying or even the long-term renting of a home falls low on their priority list. Instead, these younger digital nomads want flexible, short-term, low-cost housing – even co-housing – near the urban core. As Worldwide ERC® noted in a related article, “The fact is housing options vary widely, but forget the long-term apartment rental or leased homes in a community of expats.”

WeLive, Roam and The Collective are just a few examples of a growing cadre of companies that cater to millennials’ desire for non-traditional and co-living options.

Transportation Options

Likewise, mobility professionals may want to revisit their transportation assistance programs in light of Gen X, Y and Z’s preferences. Many don’t feel the need to own a car either for financial or environmental reasons, or both. Particularly for those living in urban cores, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, non-traditional car rentals like ZipCar, and bike sharing can fill their transportation needs at much lower costs.


How This Impacts Mobility

When it comes to attracting Gen X, Y and Z to remote global assignments, companies must consider ways to offer adventure - not simply a job; including access to a community and social network; and flexible, personalized program options that address individual needs while meeting business goals.

For more insights into talent management trends and solutions, check out the most recent issue of Mobility magazine.