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Multinationals 'increasing expat workforce'

Two-thirds of US-based multinationals plan to increase or maintain the size of their expatriate workforce, a new survey has revealed.

The Expatriate Market Talent Trends poll by strategic human resources firm Sibson Consulting also found just over half (53 per cent) of businesses employing migrant workers in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan plan to keep their foreign staffing at the same level.

Most companies likely to reduce numbers of expatriate employees cited high compensation costs as their primary reason for doing so.

Replacing staff from overseas with local talent was ranked as the favourite cost-reducing method, with 51 per cent planning to invest more in home-grown workers.

Michael Norman, senior vice-president of the consultancy’s organisation and talent practice, said the model for the ideal expatriate employee has changed.

While industry knowledge, leadership and technical skills are still top-ranked qualities, language proficiency, cultural awareness and sensitivity are becoming increasingly important, he explained.

In related news, Singapore has been named as best in the world for shopping and easiest to do business in by a new survey.

The Country Brand Index, published by brand consultancy FutureBrand, ranked it in second place for overall appeal to business travellers.

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