• Type: Business and industry issue, Press release
  • Date: 4/18/2008

KPMG says there is a trend towards short term assignments 

18 April 2008


As companies take a more global approach to doing business, there is a trend towards more short term assignments. This is a key finding of the recently released 2007 KPMG Global Assignment Policies and Practices Survey (GAPP), conducted by the International Executive Services Practice of KPMG.


The survey of 348 human resource executives worldwide also revealed that:


40 percent thought that their international assignment programmes are "more generous than they need to be", compared with 38 percent in 2006; and

49 percent believe that international assignment programmes "take too much time and effort to administer" up slightly from last year's result of 48 percent.

"Companies with regional or international operations need to better understand the commercial needs of an assignment and consider the expected return on investment," says Barbara Forrest, Director of the International Executive Services Practice of KPMG China. "The benefits of the assignment can then be maximised if proactive planning, including tax planning, is done well ahead of the relocation."


The survey also found that tax and immigration services remain the most outsourced processes.


Short-term assignments (STA) - the way forward?


The survey reveals that the number of companies sending international assignees on STA continues to trend upwards, with 80 percent of those surveyed utilising this option. Furthermore, according to the results of KPMG's Extended Business Traveller- Short Term Assignment Survey (EBT-STA Survey) released in September 2007, 38 percent of corporate respondents in that survey expected their use of STAs to increase over the next 18 months.


"With companies facing increasing pressure on costs and the perception that long term assignments are expensive, it is likely that short term assignments to Hong Kong and China (and throughout Asia) will become even more popular. However, short term assignments are not without problems - and require careful planning and monitoring."


In respect of assignment types, the GAPP survey found that for Asia Pacific Headquartered companies, developmental / training and project / contract specific assignments were more likely to be used than for companies located in Europe or the United States.




The 2007 GAPP Survey found that the programme functions most frequently outsourced include tax compliance (87 percent), assignment orientation sessions related to tax (82 percent) and immigration / work permit assistance (74 percent). When asked to select the top reason for outsourcing, 49 percent of companies said to gain access to the service provider's global resources and expertise, 22 percent said to reduce administration to concentrate on core activities and 21 percent said to improve service quality and efficiency.  

Notes to editors:


About 2007 Global Assignment Policies and practices Survey


Since its inception nine years ago, more than 400 organisations worldwide have participated in KPMG's Global Assignment Policies and Practices Survey, a dynamic Web survey. The 2007 date is a snapshot, capturing the results as of January 2007 for comparative purposes. This year's survey also included four distinct data cuts, which included headquarters location, organisation size, programme size and industry classification.

To access the survey, please visit, (registration required).


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About KPMG


KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 145 countries and have more than 123,000 professionals working in member firms around the world.


The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International, a Swiss cooperative. KPMG International provides no client services.


About KPMG China


KPMG China has eleven offices (including KPMG Advisory (China) Limited) in Beijing, Shenyang, Qingdao, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, with more than 7,000 professionals.


In 1992, KPMG became the first international accounting firm to be granted a joint venture license in China, and our Hong Kong SAR operations have been established for over 60 years since 1945. This early commitment to the China market, together with our unwavering focus on quality, has been the foundation for accumulated industry experience that cannot be rivaled, and is reflected in our appointment by some of the China's most prestigious companies.


As China businesses join the global economy and international companies seek to enter the China market, KPMG's blend of international experience and local knowledge makes us well-positioned to serve our clients in this increasingly complex, but exciting market.


Our single management structure for all our China offices allows efficient and rapid allocation of experienced professionals wherever the client is located in China. The flexibility of this single structure allows us to effectively serve companies across China - and we have many projects where staff from different offices work together on project under the control of a single nominated client partner, who has operational control of all resources.


Our business in China has established industry groups, enabling targeted, industry-specific experience to be delivered where needed. For our clients this focus on industry and country specific knowledge means we can deliver exceptional people with an intimate knowledge of your specific business issues, as well as an overriding commitment to strive for the highest quality services. KPMG has a leading position in the China market and our clients include the most prestigious and sizeable companies.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Nina Mehra

Director, Media Relations

KPMG China

 +852 2140 2824 (Direct)

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