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Operating in a Time of Uncertainty: The Potential Impact of the United States’ New Administration on the Global Business Environment

by Taryn Kramer

The extreme rhetoric regarding the U.S. regulatory and policy landscape both during and after the Presidential election, coupled with a Republican-controlled Congress, have raised the prospect of significant changes by President Trump’s administration. The post-election rally in stock prices suggests optimism surrounding the Trump administration’s impact on corporations and the broader business environment. The potential for increased infrastructure spending – a key Trump platform – is cited as an overall positive for growth and job creation. While the details related to potential increased expenditures remain unclear, industries directly involved in infrastructure projects are likely to benefit most and more jobs could stimulate increased consumer spending across the broad economy and in key areas such as housing.

However, significant uncertainty remains with regard to the potential impact of policy changes on the financial markets and certain businesses practices, particularly for companies operating on a global scale. Potential changes to immigration (restrictions on visas and work permits), trade and tax policies are top-of-mind as companies contemplate the reality that existing business strategies may need to be modified. The level of uncertainty has created a challenging environment for management teams, particularly those who rely on deployment of resources to manage talent gaps and developmental priorities. While it is unlikely that clarity regarding the path forward will be gained in the near term, planning for various scenarios and remaining nimble will be key to successfully navigating the potential challenges ahead.

Overall, the protectionist, “America first” tone – which has been mirrored by populist movements in other countries, such as “Brexit” in the U.K. – along with a number of the new administration’s platform issues, are important for companies to bear in mind. In particular, companies should be mindful of how potential changes to immigration, trade and tax policies, as well as trends in the housing market, may impact their overall workforce and the ability to attract and retain talent.  The business of talent mobility is an evergreen business in today’s world, and mobility leaders (along with the leadership teams that support and rely on them) are advised to keep a close eye on administrative directives that will have a direct impact on talent deployment.