Takeaways from the WERC® London Summit

By: Dale Collins, Chief Strategy Officer

The world’s talent looks to London, among other major influential cities, to set the tone and perspective of global workforce mobility. It is with this backdrop that Worldwide ERC® once again held its EMEA Summit in London last Friday February 24, 2017. In conjunction with the GMS® training that occurred earlier in the week, the Summit capped an anticipated week that had everyone waiting anxiously for the keynote speaker – Sir Malcolm Rifkind. The former Foreign Secretary and former Chairman of the Intelligence Committee for the British Parliament addressed the WERC EMEA Summit last year, and what a difference a year makes!

In his keynote, ‘The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be’, the topics Sir Malcolm elaborated on this time around were less about what the outcomes of Brexit and US elections would be, and more aligned to how the mobility industry, and all aspects of the economy, would have to deal with the “new normal” in which we find ourselves. He expressed his optimism and consistent faith in democratic institutions, that regardless of whether one was happy or unhappy with the outcomes, the process works. He was also keen to admonish us that all over the world the populist movement continues to evolve and further upsets and unexpected outcomes may yet become part of the landscape.

Continuing with the theme established by Sir Malcolm, there were several excellent sessions that looked to the future impact these events will have upon global mobility.

The immigration session did an excellent job in taking the emotionally charged politics out of the equation and focused on the pragmatic issues arising due to the Brexit decision and the potential changes in US immigration regulations. While there was some clarification to the recent executive orders, it was clear we remain in a “wait and see” mode, with much of the mobility level visa questions yet to be determined. The Brexit process will clearly place burdens on employers and employees alike. Employees will want to safeguard their current jobs and employers will need to provide proper support. To continue the spirit of the free movement of people that has been at the heart of the European Union’s purpose, employers and employees will need to ensure all parties are well informed on the best course of action.

Whatever the outcome – both in the UK and the US – it was clear Worldwide ERC is committed to working with its government affairs committees so it remains the vanguard of the global mobility space, staying up-to-date on issues involving migration and immigration reform and talent management and mobilization across the globe.

By the end of the London Summit, I had been advised about data and analytics, updated on key aspects of global immigration, and informed about the deployment, retention and reward requirements for the new Gig Economy that will soon encompass up to 40% of the mobile global workforce. I also had a lovely opportunity to network with fellow mobility professionals from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as catch up with longtime friends from our industry.

Cheers to you London – well done and see you again next year!


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