Alternative International Assignments Survey

A close look at the policies, practices, and trends of prevalent alternatives.

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The Alternative International Assignments Policies and Practices Survey (AIA) reports offer an in-depth look into policies and practices governing six alternative types of international assignments:

  • Permanent / One-way Transfers
  • Talent Development
  • Short-term
  • Commuter
  • Intra-regional
  • Global Nomad
  • Plus: Global Executive Summary comparing all six assignment types

These reports examine the latest trends in global mobility and build on Mercer's database of custom benchmarking solutions.

  • Latest Survey Findings
  • Product Details
  • Participation
  • Pricing / Buy Now

Latest Survey Findings

Latest Survey Findings

Most reported challenge by assignment type:

  • Permanent transfers – Salary and benefits package in host location          
  • Short-term – Cost containment
  • Commuters – Tax and social security compliance
  • Talent development – Return on investment
  • International business travelers - Immigration and tax and social security compliance

More than 60% allow families to visit short-term assignees in lieu of home leave. A majority of respondents do not allow assignees to spend home leave in a location other than the ‘home location.’

On the rise, compared with previous survey results, more companies:

  • Have a formal policy for permanent transfers (up 8%) and plan to develop a formal commuting policy
  • Provide a home-finding trip to permanent transfers (up to 10%)
  • Consider governmental tax-free per diem limits when setting their per diem/daily allowance for commuters

Consider governmental tax-free per diem limits when setting their per diem/daily allowance for commuters (65%).

Flexible benefits are (still) rarely used in policies for alternative assignments. 20% offer them to one-way transfers, but less than 5% to commuters.

Product Details

Data Analyzed

For each assignment type, the survey examines:

  • Recent trends
  • Policy and administration
  • Compensation approach
  • Living costs
  • Tax
  • Housing and utilities policies
  • Mobility incentives and Hardship
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Travel and home leave
  • Flexible benefits and lump sums
  • Other support
  • Benefits

The Global Executive Summary Report offers comparative findings on trends and management among the alternative assignment types.


Participate in any or all of the four assignment type questionnaires. For each one you complete, you will receive a 66% discount on the full report of that assignment type, plus exclusive access to customized reports of the data. To participate in this survey please click here.


The four reports are available in PDF for USD 1500 / EUR 1260 each for non-participants or USD 500 / EUR 420 each for participants. Only results from companies that completed the survey by April 2018 are represented in these reports, but you may still participate in this survey to receive both the discounted pricing and access to custom cuts of the data.

Custom cuts start at USD 2500 / EUR 2100. Please contact Client service  or Olena Oleksyienko to discuss this option.

Order Two or More and Save

If you purchase two or more editions of these reports, a 15% discount will be applied to your order. Please contact your mobility consultant or call your region's client service number noted below.

A Global Executive Summary Report from the 2016 AIA Survey, offering a comparative look at trends and management of six alternative assignment types – permanent transfers, short-term assignments, talent development, commuters, global nomads, and intra-regional transfers – is available for USD 1150.

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Alternative International Assignments Survey

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  • IsOrderingSetYes
  • Ordering TypeMultiLevelMultiSelection
  • RegionUS
  • Sub TitleA close look at the policies, practices, and trends of prevalent alternatives.
  • Short DescriptionPolicies, practices, and trends for six prevalent assignment alternatives.