It costs money to have a global workforce, and the way to offset that cost, writes Mercer, the huge human consultancy, is to try to "localize" compensation. In other words, try to get American employees, as much as possible, to accept the same pay, or close to it, as the locals receive (i.e. less).
Today the company put out a list of 12 pointers for expatriate staff. I thought it was interesting. Some issues raised were to consider whether the employee is in the expat assignment to perform critical strategic functions or to prepare for advancement in the company. Compensation for those two categories of workers may follow different philosophies. Mercer also suggests paying attention to how currency fluctuations impact compensation and to how families adjust. Also important, the company said, is a developing a plan to transition the returning expat into American corporate culture. Obviously, job one is to make sure there's a safety plan in place, given all the weirdness in the world.
I'm copying Mercer's pointers and commentary here:
Mercer’s action items for employers with globally mobile employees are: