Mercer Launches New Expatriate Housing Portal For Mobility Managers

Mercer has launched Mercer Mobilize Housing Solution™, giving mobility managers a self-service portal where they can access a current, up-to-date, detailed view of expatriate housing costs. This greater transparency will empower managers to be confident that they are providing fair and cost-effective housing allowances. It will also help them to better frame expatriate expectations and reduce exceptions when relocating staff abroad.

Mercer Mobilize Housing Solution provides regularly updated housing data and market availability, maps and information across more than 320 cities worldwide. Mercer surveys these local housing markets at least twice annually, with more frequent updates when markets are volatile to ensure that data is current and reflects changes in market conditions.

Mobility managers can examine and filter information with ease, getting an in-depth view of expatriate housing markets around the world. According to Barb Marder, Leader of Mercer’s Global Mobility business, “With a few clicks of a button, a mobility manager in Paris can assess housing prices, availability, and local facilities in Shanghai or Sydney as easily as they can in Strasbourg or Saint Tropez in France.”

The new interactive platform features:
  • Interactive Mapping Technology: Users can see maps, street-level photographs, and local information detailing where expatriate neighborhoods and schools are in relation to the local company office.
  • Flexible Data: Mobility managers can easily configure data by a variety of factors like including/excluding specific neighborhoods so that the housing data reflects their specific needs, for example, by choosing the neighborhoods close to the company office where the company’s expatriates tend to reside. Rental cost is recalculated instantaneously to reflect neighborhood selection.
  • Sample Real Listings: Actual listings, posted at the time of Mercer’s surveys, help visualize what type of housing a budget provides. Details like amenities, utility costs, and size are available, and users can even see street-level photos to examine the surrounding area.
  • Reverse Lookup: Users can see what a given budget will provide across a range of neighborhoods and unit types, helping expatriates understand potential tradeoffs. For example, a certain amount might let a person rent a 2-bedroom apartment in the city center or a 3-bedroom house in the suburbs.
  • Varied Reporting Formats: The intuitive user interface allows for output of various levels of detail and different formats, making it easy to share information customized for each stakeholder, from senior management to the assignee.

“Determining the location and cost of housing can be a protracted process for anyone,” continued Ms. Marder, “let alone for those arranging it from another country. Employers trying to set fair, cost-effective expatriate accommodation allowances need information that gives them an accurate view of the local housing markets so they can make informed budgeting decisions.

“They also need the flexibility to create company-specific policies that tailor housing allowances for different types of expatriates and their families. This can be best achieved with access to timely rental prices and housing descriptions, with the ability to control what is included in the budget calculation. And giving users more visual tools helps everyone get a better idea of just what the housing will be like in context.”

About Mercer

Mercer is a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments. Mercer helps clients around the world advance the health, wealth and performance of their most vital asset – their people. Mercer’s 20,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global team of professional services companies offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and human capital. With 52,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue exceeding $10 billion, Marsh & McLennan Companies is also the parent company of Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and risk management; Guy Carpenter, a global leader in providing risk and reinsurance intermediary services; and Oliver Wyman, a global leader in management consulting. For more information, visit www.mercer.com. Follow Mercer on Twitter @MercerInsights.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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