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| 4 minutes read

Internal mobility. Helping to solve today’s talent crisis across EMEA

Talent shortages and skill gaps continue to have a huge impact on the talent climate and finding the right people to fill crucial roles is still a struggle for businesses across EMEA.

So, what’s the solution? Over the last year, some organisations were simply throwing money at the problem, offering inflated salaries to entice new talent to come on board. Whilst in some cases this may have temporarily helped organisations, the pain was then felt by other organisations because of the finite talent pool available. All this amounted to the recycling of existing talent but at higher cost.   With the economic outlook on a knife edge, and many businesses cutting back on costs, this approach has proved not to be sustainable.

Those organisations with a more sustainable approach and mindset are looking to increase internal mobility. Instead of looking outside to external hires, they are starting to look inside at the talent they’ve already got and moving people around to fill the gaps. 

AMS recently held a roundtable event with some of EMEA’s leading Talent Acquisition (TA) professionals. They discussed the approaches being used to deliver internal mobility in their businesses, and the barriers they currently face.  

The bad news

The most common and difficult barrier to achieving internal mobility that all panellists agreed on was keeping up with talent’s salary demands. As one expert said, “People are leaving us for salaries they wouldn’t have achieved with us for 3 to 4 years”.

But many agreed that simply giving out more money isn’t the core solution. It’s a risky approach in today’s economic climate. Wage inflation continues to be an issue, borrowing is becoming more expensive, and companies have less access to credit. Rushing into large salary increases could leave an organisation in a precarious position.

This is where internal mobility arises as a strong alternative. As one panel expert pointed out, “Internal mobility is always top of the agenda, we can’t hire ourselves out of this mess.”

The good news

It was encouraging to hear many roundtable participants say that their internal mobility programmes were performing well. Over 50% of new hires were appointed through an internal process – some as much as 90% in certain markets. So, a lot of businesses are successfully promoting from within. 

But how do you follow this lead, and ensure internal mobility is a success? Here are some of the approaches that were being used by some of the panel experts. 

Build a common platform

According to the panellists, internal mobility can often falter when businesses are trying to achieve it on a global scale. Even though a global organisation is seen as one brand, it can have many different policies and ways of working. That’s why it’s important to create a unilateral way of thinking. 

For internal mobility to thrive, it’s a good idea to build a common platform and create more oversight of open roles within the business. This allows employees to “look over the fence,” at other potential positions – both locally and in other regions. It helps break down geographical barriers to internal mobility and gives people the opportunity to jump out of their comfort zone.

Taking a chance

While encouraging employees to try something different from their usual role may seem risky to some businesses, the roundtable panellists agreed that keeping an open mind on this matter was one of the key ways to achieving internal mobility. 

As one of the panel experts said, while an employee may not be the perfect candidate for a specific department to start with, they can join the team for a short period of time to learn the job, develop new skills and sell themselves internally. This is a highly effective way to combat long time-to-hire wait periods searching for an external candidate. 

A few of the panellists also spoke about how their organisations promote people into roles early, to mitigate some of the effects of salary inflation with new hires. This was found to be very successful, particularly with more niche, hard-to-fill roles. What’s more, by investing in people’s future, the businesses showed their internal talent that they were committed to career progression, which is also good news for employee retention.

As one expert put it, “If we offer them development and opportunity, they will reconsider the attractive external offers and stay with us”.

Focus on culture

Like any initiative, to make internal mobility a success, everyone needs to be on board. A key factor that all panellists agreed on was that internal mobility needs to be driven from the top down. 

In addition to TA and HR, management needs to support in helping internal talent take ownership of their career. This includes encouraging people to have conversations with their supervisor, discussing where they’d like to be in 5 to 10 years, and how to get there. Internal mobility will only become a reality if managers help their teams to move and grow within the business. 

What’s more, HR leadership must ensure there is the right amount of operational and strategic governance around internal mobility. For example, they can help ensure that when a role becomes available, the business first looks at what talent they already have, before looking externally. 

Delivering better DE&I

Finally, internal mobility is a strong platform for building a diverse workforce. Allowing employees to move around the business and gain internal promotions not only nurtures a culture of personal growth but can also provide opportunities to underrepresented talent who may otherwise have been overlooked for an open role.

As one expert put it, “The ability to grow people and move them into areas that, as an external candidate, we wouldn't have considered them for, is a really positive strand for the DE&I strategy”. 

Internal mobility can be a way to bring new perspectives into internal teams. As one panellist said, “It’s opening up positions for different people, trialling people out, and allowing employees and teams to work with different people in terms of skill sets and personality”. 

Need help in solving your talent shortages? Speak to one of our experts about how AMS can help build the right internal mobility programme for your business. 
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internal mobility, leadership, talent acquisition, talent climate, talent retention, technology