A survey by KPMG has found that a mobile workforce is becoming increasingly prevalent as more companies send their employees on overseas assignments.

Some 72 per cent of more than 600 organisations surveyed worldwide said that global mobility programmes are used to support overall business objectives, said the annual KPMG Global Assignment Policies and Practices report.

Almost all companies surveyed offer long-term assignments (96 per cent); slightly less offer short-term assignments (81 per cent). Almost half the firms offer permanent transfers or transfers for an indefinite length of time (47 per cent).

Ooi Boon Jin, the head of International Executive Services, KPMG Singapore, said: "A globally mobile workforce is as popular as ever. Over the 15 years of this survey's existence, in those companies where use of mobility is the norm, we have seen continued expansion and adaptation to the programmes."

He added that companies with headquarters in Nordic and Asia-Pacific regions are beginning to jump on the globalisation bandwagon by moving their staff to new strategic growth locations.

In terms of compensation, the majority of survey respondents (61 per cent) pay assignees according to the compensation levels in their home country.

Many survey participants still provide a foreign mobility premium to their assignees (71 per cent), which is primarily offered as a percentage of base salary. However, this premium is sometimes offered as a lump-sum payment and can vary based on job grade, family size and host location.

The majority of survey participants (65 per cent) pay "hardship and danger premiums", with respondents split between offering an unlimited premium and limiting it to a pre-determined cap.

Those in the energy and manufacturing sector tend to be more generous with uncapped hardship and danger allowances (49 per cent and 42 per cent respectively), since their assignees tend to be based in locations with higher security risk.

Despite the vast majority of companies riding on the global mobility trend, most grapple to track the returns of investment (ROI) of their programmes.

Some 27 per cent do not know the percentage of assignees that leave the organisation within 12 months of repatriation, and 31 per cent do not know why they leave.

Thirteen per cent of companies do not know what percentage of assignees were recalled from the host country or dismissed from the organisation because of inability to perform effectively during the international assignment.

Mr Ooi said: "Having agreed-upon metrics to demonstrate ROI helps any global mobility programme demonstrate objectively their value to the broader organisation and secure continued programme funding."