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Interview with Brian Friedman : the latest trends in Global Mobility

Brian Friedman is a veteran of Global Mobility having worked for nearly 40 years in the industry. His leadership positions have included UK CEO of EY’s Human Capital practice, Global Head of Human Capital at Arthur Andersen and Founder and CEO of the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM). He is currently a visiting professor at ESCP Europe and Strategy Director at Benivo. His extensive experience in Global Mobility gives him a unique insight into the future trends affecting the industry. Didier Hoff, UniMobility’s Head of Center of Excellence, sat down with Brian Friedman to discuss the latest trends in Global Mobility with a focus on new digital offerings. 1) What do you think are the major challenges for Global Mobility in the near and long term future ? I think there are 4 major challenges facing global mobility over the medium term. Firstly, all of us have grown up in an era when globalisation was seen both as inevitable and as a good thing but these days the very concept of globalisation is being challenged by the forces of populism. Economic nationalism is now becoming increasingly vocal throughout the world (notably in the US and the UK but also with the rise of parties such as the AFD in Germany and the 5 Star movement in Italy. The resulting impact is that cross-border working may become more difficult as visa and immigration rules are tightened. The days of moving staff globally with minimal legal obstacles may soon be over if populist parties start a race to bottom with retaliatory measures to restrict labour mobility. Secondly, technology makes it easier to work cross-border without physically moving so we may see more and more “virtual assignments” where peopl