Will Schofield: Stability and support – the keys to mobility success

Schofield has worked for PwC for 26 years, during that time he has completed three international assignments, one in Australia, Russia and the Czech Republic. As a Partner at PwC he offers both HR and Global Mobility related advisory services.RedSquare300

How many years of your life did all your international moves take up?

Of the 26 years I’ve spent working with PwC I have only spent eleven in the UK.

Have you noticed an improvement in the way HR departments run mobility programmes over that time?

When I first went on assignment the HR teams were very helpful in pointing me in the right direction for relocation vendors and removal firms as well as providing a list of recommended “to do’s”, for example updating the electoral register and the post office for change of address. The support I received for more recent moves though had gone up a notch or two with the team in Russia being particularly supportive, helping to negotiate tenancy agreements, setting up bank accounts and other critical admin in the early days.

What about in terms of assistance with immigration law?

Yes, I was helped with that a great deal and it took a lot of anguish out of what we needed to do. We just needed to come up with the relevant paperwork. The HR departments were always very supportive, for example, when my wife lost her Australian passport that had her Russian visa in it, they resolved that problem very quickly.

I would imagine a country like Russia has a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy to get through before they allow you to work in the country?

Yes, a lot of bureaucracy and had we been left to deal with it without assistance there would have been a language issue too.

You mention language, is that another area you were offered assistance with?

Yes, we were offered language lessons and my wife did somewhat better at those than I did. For us as a couple, and we had two children as well while we were in Russia, it was absolutely critical that one of us at least could speak some of the local language. Learning the language allows you to manage life so much more effectively. If I had my time again I would make far more of an effort to learn the language.