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Global Energy Companies Sending Employees on International Assignments at Record Levels

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RISMEDIA, Oct. 29, 2007-Leading global energy companies show no signs of slowing down as they aggressively expand their operations and dispatch record numbers of employees to assignments throughout the world, according to a recent survey conducted by GMAC Global Relocation Services. The survey found 86% of global energy companies are sending more employees on assignment in 2007 as compared to 2006.

But there is a downside to this accelerated expansion and the resulting demand for talented employees willing to relocate to various corners of the globe. Companies report they sometimes need to go the extra mile — by offering shares, stock options and greater compensation packages, among other incentives — to prevent competitors from “poaching” their employees.

“The global energy industry is experiencing robust growth, which in turn creates extraordinary demand for skilled expatriates,” said Rick Schwartz, president and CEO of GMAC Global Relocation Services. “This has led to fierce competition for the limited pool of talent and expatriates, with companies trying to entice employees of competing firms with more attractive offers. Our goal is to help companies manage their international assignments and provide solutions to these and many other unique business challenges.”

This energy industry-focused survey was conducted as a supplement to the annual Global Relocation Trends Survey that has been published annually by GMAC Global Relocation Services since 1993. Each year, the Global Relocation Trends Survey provides companies with in-depth information and analysis on global mobility trends.

The supplemental energy industry survey included interviews with corporate human resource professionals responsible for international assignment strategy at some of the world’s leading global energy companies.

Among the survey’s key findings:

Experienced? Pack Your Bags — Twenty-three percent of expatriates in the energy sector had previously been relocated (the industry average is 10%, according to the 2006 Global Relocation Trends Survey). According to the companies surveyed, this is partly due to the technical proficiency and levels of experience needed to prevent accidents at oil-extraction sites.

Long-Term Assignments: Worth the Money — Only 23% of companies in the energy sector were seeking alternatives to long-term assignments (over one year) as a way to control costs, compared to 55% among companies from other industries. This is largely due to the fact that energy sector companies have a greater range of assignment types, ranging from drilling-rig rotations of four or five weeks on (followed by four or five weeks off), to multi-year assignments.

Assignment Failure is Rare — Companies surveyed were nearly unanimous in reporting that early returns from assignments are rare in the oil and gas sector. Fully 40% of companies stated it didn’t happen at all. The remaining 60% acknowledged it occurred, but stressed that assignment failure was very rare.

Cross-Cultural Training Not Widespread — Cross-cultural preparation and participation in programs was low in the energy sector. While only 58% of companies in the energy sector provided cross-cultural training of some sort, just eight percent made it available for all assignments. These figures were significantly lower than the respective 80% and 34% figures from companies in other industries, according to the 2006 Global Relocation Trends Survey.

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