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07/17/2012

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Interesting article on a seldom discussed topic. Global nomads are outliers for whom survey data does not, and cannot not, apply. Survey data by its nature flattens outliers. The data associated with these people is too small, too varied and too scattered to be accurately portrayed in compensation surveys.

1) Where does the global nomad “live” when not on the road? If he/she always goes back to the same country, maybe we could just treat him/her as an expatriate from that country?
DW: Most of these nomads, live where they are. In my experience, the good ones are simply paid at levels, for their skills set, equal or greater to the highest paid country in which the company operates

2) In what currency do we pay him/her?
DW: Again, special circumstances. Often paid in the home currency of the company and equalized, converted as needed.

3) Will there be so few of them we should just ignore creating a policy and treat each one as a “one off”--- with a compensation package that is individually negotiated?
DW: Yes, unless your company has a plethora (some big consulting firms and energy companies have large populations)

4) If we do create a policy/structure, how do we benchmark externally to arrive at a competitive compensation package?
DW: For companies with large populations, where a standard policy can be created, there are usually a few other peers to use for comparison.

5) What is their career path? Do they not even want one because they love their “nomadic” life? Maybe they don’t want to become part of management and have to “fit” within a corporate system.
DW: I find these people often find a "favorite" country after 7-15 years. They tend to settle down an find a more traditional career path at that time.

6) How do we create a retirement plan for them?
DW: We need to pay them enough to create their own retirement plans

7) How are other companies that have global nomads handling these issues?
DW: I would love to hear more about this too.


Of course, my brief answer above do not apply to every situation, and are based only on my experience with these people and their careers. I hope others who read this article will take 5 minutes to provide their own answers to these questions. I would love to see what kind of disparity actually exists.

Thanks for your comment Dan. Lot's to think about. Can't wait until we get to the "CEO convergence" issue! Bring on the fun!

You have described the typical Swiss second son. For decades immemorial (but particularly since they began restricting the growth of jobs in Switzerland so "excess" population were forced to go elsewhere), their tri-lingual skills have made them the mobile global transferees of choice. Other nationalities supply candidates, too, of course. In fact, many of my immediate neighbors are TCNs, one from UK, another from China, one family from Japan and another from Korea.

Agree with Dan. Since they hold unique KSAs, they are not easily accommodated by standardized policies and practices. Special people command special treatment.

I have no experience with this breed of cat, but my instinct is to use them on a contract or special project basis. An analogy might be made to government agencies that utilize various 'assets' in countries where they can obtain information and provide intelligence (or maybe I watch too many movies/TV). My hunch is that you are trying to force fit these folks into a corporate culture, using existing norms, which by their unusual nature/function will not work.

Thanks for your comment John. Yes, this is a different breed of cat --- and they make a ton of money. With globalization I suspect we will see a lot more of them.

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