New research has found that HR managers see adapting to new cultures and speaking foreign languages as the two biggest barriers for employees wanting to work abroad.
In addition, only one in five (19%) of HR managers rate the geographic mobility of their young employees as strong. This means the majority of hiring executives think there is more their new hires can to do to develop the skills or levels of self-confidence to work internationally.
This is despite 92% of the undergraduates being keen to work in abroad in the early stages of their career.
The global survey of over 1,200 hiring executives, graduates and students was carried out by Universum and CEMS (the Global Alliance in Management Education) for the new report Going Global.
48% of HR managers identified the inability to adapt to new cultures, while one-in-six highlighted language problems, as the two main barriers to employees working abroad.
61% of hiring executives recommended that working outside comfort zones is a key career driver for new hires, while 36% said that taking on international assignments helps to boost the career growth of young professionals.
87% of HR managers rate speaking more than one language as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for future employability. 89% of undergraduates agree, stating that they believe speaking more than one language is important.
Bertrand de Laleu, Global Vice President HR at L’Oréal said, “With English you just have half of it. We need to enlarge the scope. Beyond the language skills, the ability to work in very contrasted economies is a differentiator. Organizational diversity is crucial. It’s no longer only about New York, London, Paris. Now it’s also about Sao Paulo, Lagos and Mumbai."
Roland Siegers, Executive Director of CEMS, adds:
“Our research suggests that despite young people being eager to take on international assignments in the early stages of their career, only a small proportion of global HR Managers actually believe that these young employees have the optimum levels of skills and self confidence to work abroad. The main barriers hiring identified are difficulties in adapting to new cultures and speaking foreign languages.”
“In an ever-changing, fast-paced working world, competition is high, so graduates need to find ways to set themselves apart. As international assignments within global companies open up, candidates with the language skills and the ability to adapt to new and challenging environments have a clear advantage when it comes to securing roles and progressing in the workplace.
“In order for young professionals to acquire these skills, it means going out of their comfort zone, living and studying in a foreign environment at an early stage in their career and immersing themselves in different cultures. In addition, many students are still under the impression that English is the international language of business, but learning a range of languages fluently will make the difference between an average candidate and excellent one.”
CEMS was founded in 1988 and the network includes 30 Schools across 5 continents, working with 73 Corporate Partners (multinational companies) and 7 Social Partners (NGOs). There are currently 1,264 MIM CEMS students of 70 nationalities and 12,029 alumni of 85 nationalities, working in 75 countries. Upon graduation, students’ careers take a truly international path in a great variety of sectors and in many cases within multinational companies:
- 98% are employed or continuing their studies
- 46% are living outside of their home country
- 78% work for multinational companies
Notes to Editors:
Researchers surveyed 1200 hiring executives, CEMS graduates, and students. 445 of these were global Bachelor students about to embark on their careers/further study and 80 global HR managers, half of whom were based in Europe and the majority from multinational companies with over 1000 employees.