New analysis from Compass Pacesetter Research (previously known as ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research) finds that professional service providers and their clients have mostly worked through much of the regulatory speed bumps created by the economic and political turmoil that arose in the wake of the 2008 recession and Brexit, challenging company mobility strategies. However, clients in 2023 are still grappling with mobility challenges, and some new (Russia sanctions, West-China relations) and some old (the continuing rollback of globalization), and with the elevated focus on the employee experience, mobility continues to be a global concern. As a result, the service emphasis among innovators in professional services has moved from a compliance checklist approach towards a more actively-managed employee-centric approach that anchors mobility in service delivery and the customer experience.

Research Highlights

  • In 2023, professional services providers still operate in a fairly reactive mode focused on compliance issues related to mobility, such as immigration, taxes, and employment law 
  • Employees are increasingly placing more value on jobs that provide training and development, career advancement, skills growth, developmental leadership opportunities, etc.,  and some organizations struggle with delivering successful solutions that meet overall business goals, causing clients to look to the human capital dimension of their service delivery models for a solution
  • Many clients are looking to technology platform solutions that combine a full scope of services (e.g., payroll & benefits, cost projections, immigration and visa document management, travel advisories, and project lifecycle) for solutions
  • Advanced data analytics are increasingly used to help clients more actively manage skill sets (e.g., skill mapping),  employee career development and pathways, etc.
  • With ESG regulations and mandated scheduled disclosures, Innovators are integrating ESG, specifically DEI initiatives, as part of their strategic talent management approach
  • The pandemic created new ways of working (hybrid/remote), which have further complicated the definition of mobility

What Makes A Pacesetter & Innovator in Mobility?

As detailed in the report, innovative professional services providers approach mobility challenges first with a talent management lens in addition to the standard regulatory requirements helping clients build comprehensive long-term service delivery models. The Pacesetter Advisory Council assessed dozens of providers to arrive at fifteen Innovators recognized for their ability to help clients navigate an increasingly complex market environment.

The 2023 Mobility Innovators & Pacesetters

  • Accenture
  • Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP (BAL)
  • Crown World Mobility
  • Deloitte
  • Eversheds Sutherland
  • EY
  • Grant Thornton
  • KPMG
  • Mayor Brown
  • Mercer
  • North Highland
  • Vialto Partners
  • Withersworldwide

the methodology

The goal of Pacesetter Research is to help buyers of professional services navigate an increasingly complex landscape with confidence. We use a multidisciplinary perspective to identify best-in-class providers of legal, consulting, financial, insurance, employee benefits, and other professional services and analyze how they are evolving as an ecosystem of interdisciplinary service providers. Our research is grounded in over 50 years of accumulated market insights and qualitative research models that combine knowledge of management science with case studies and other sources of knowledge to understand patterns of market supply, demand, behavior, and ways of doing business. Our research also includes voices/perspectives from both the sellside and buyside, as well as knowledgeable people working in industry associations, academia, etc.

  • The Pacesetter Advisory Council (PAC) convenes in advance of the research project kick-off; members include ALM journalists and editors, and external experts such as consultants, general counsel, and industry thought leaders

  • The PAC selects the set of Innovators that will be covered in the research topic from a larger group of providers that members have identified in the normal course of their work

  • PAC members also provide expert knowledge and insights to the ALM Pacesetter team throughout the research and analysis process

  • The Pacesetter Team within conducts primary and secondary research

  • Primary research includes in-depth interviews with practice leaders at the provider firms covered in the research; satisfaction interviews with clients referred by those providers; and in-depth interviews with thought leaders, recruiting professionals, and other sources

  • Secondary research includes data gathered from annual reports and earnings calls, management presentations, public filings, case studies, press releases, journals and publications, online information databases and other publicly available resources

  • Innovators that achieve a Pacesetter Impact Score equal to or over 85 are designated as Pacesetters

  • Pacesetter analysts map markets and stakeholders and write market trends

  • Market segment overviews are peer reviewed by the appropriate PAC member

Service providers are evaluated and scored based on five core criteria

Business Model

Provider’s ability to reposition core competencies around new products, services, and business models to adapt to shifting patterns of market supply, demand, behavior, and ways of doing business.

Value Proposition

Provider’s ability to deliver on its value proposition, i.e., the positioning statement that communicates the benefits and economic value a prospect will receive by purchasing the provider’s products and services over a competitor’s.

Service Delivery

Provider’s ability to mobilize resources and configure assets to serve clients.

Client Impact

Provider’s ability to help clients affect continuous, sustainable change, mitigate risk, improve performance, and achieve growth.

Brand Eminence

Provider’s ability to leverage brand and marketing strategies to differentiate in its marketplace as an expert practitioner and thought leader.

About The Analyst

Ruth Sierra is an Analyst on the Pacesetter Research team at ALM. Prior to joining ALM Ruth worked in education and research. She served as an Elementary Educator and Team Chair Leader using creativity and collaboration to promote a growth mindset.She has over 10 years experience in research. She worked for a consulting company as a Senior Global Manager for the market research team.Her responsibilities included Project Management, specifically research design, implementation, analysis, and presentation to clients. She completed her graduate degrees from Hunter College and Hofstra University in NY.

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