A review of 109 practitioner publications on organisational international assignment policy and practice was conducted to identify trends across three decades in minority expatriation and employer interventions to widen expatriate diversity.
The purpose of this paper is to report on trends in the deployment of minority expatriates, review organisational interventions to increase expatriate diversity, and to consider the challenges facing employers in widening expatriate diversity through a review of practitioner publications published by relocation management companies/consultancies.
Practitioner publications record percentage female expatriate participation and expatriate age profiles. While expatriate diversity challenges are reported, employer interventions focus on supporting women and LGBTQ+ assignees but with little detail on their outcomes. There is little emphasis on ethnicity/race, religion, disability, pregnancy/maternity, intersectionality of diversity characteristics, and inclusion.
Practitioner publications consulted were primarily Western-focused, with access to a ‘complete’ publications record precluded. Academic research that compares employer policy on diversity interventions with how it is implemented is needed.
A stronger focus on supporting the full range of expatriate diversity attributes and intersectionality is required, explaining how challenges have been addressed and inclusion achieved.
Analysis of employer interventions could assist organisations to widen expatriate diversity and inclusion, and minorities to access international careers.
This review of practitioner data reveals trends in the deployment of minority expatriates, interventions taken by employers, and challenges they perceive in widening expatriate diversity, providing a unique perspective and enriching our understanding of academic expatriate diversity research. Path dependent organisational action may hinder employers’ future focus on diversity, inclusion and intersectionality.