International recruitment challenges and how to combat them

One of the best aspects of modern life is how much smaller the world has become. Better connected by transport links and communications, our perceptions of international borders widen. However what influence does this have on global recruitment? How do jobseekers view the viability of overseas work and how should employers respond?

These are all pertinent questions raised and answered by the Global Talent Survey 2014. Conducted by recruitment alliance The Network ( and management consulting firm the Boston Consulting Group, the study polled 200,000+ subjects from 189 countries. As the biggest of its kind the findings allow high-level UK employers to better scope the landscape when trawling a multinational talent pool.

In this feature we will identify five of the most prominent international recruitment challenges, how they are reflected within the survey and the implications.

Is there a “willingness” to relocate?

In general terms, global recruitment hinges on a desire from jobseekers to relocate. Typically this “willingness” is associated with countries of emerging economies, weaker domestic prospects and political instability.
The Global Talent survey reflects this in part but not exclusively, with the Netherlands and France in the top five with 94% and Australia placed 16th of 70 countries.

Germany, United Kingdom and United States prove least willing to work abroad – from 44% polled down to just 35% Conversely this is despite a healthy quota from Ireland, UK and USA declaring prior foreign work experience. It is perhaps no coincidence the regions least willing rank most attractive to migrants.

Creating attractive job prospects

The conditions that constitute an attractive global job prospect are varied, with salary and benefits not always prioritised. Candidates migrating for economic motivations naturally place higher importance before the majority of Europeans and North/South Americans less fixated on remuneration package.

More importance is generally placed on work environment, with those from the Philippines, Africa and India all surveying nine out of ten – only Denmark falling below eight. With standings similar for an importance on employer reputation, the Global Talent Survey 2014 suggests more desire being placed on diversifying culture (55%) and experience (64%) alongside a pursuit for professional development (56%) less forthcoming in domestic, naturalised career paths.

Alleviating relocation difficulties

If the willingness and job prospects present strong enough pull, the logistics of relocating for work needn’t be prohibitive. Certainly moving within Europe for member state citizens is easier certainly if assisted by a current employer. Many of the perceptions of relocation ‘toughness’ could be addressed however at lower-level education and made much clearer within international corporate job listings.

A typical barrier here like language sees 12% willing to come to the UK with at least elementary proficiency while 27% are fluent. Internationally though the relocation ‘red tape’ sees 36% not yet commencing relocation preparation, while 27% claim to know what is required without applying, compared to 11% “vaguely familiar” of entry requirements.

Hiring for the long and short term

When businesses often allocate more resourcing to international recruitment, commitment can be a concern. Survey figures suggest more sought after staff from similarly desirable employment hotspots are more inclined to seek shorter work periods, perhaps with an intention to return to a home of economic parity or continue development elsewhere.

Notable countries including Germany (27%), USA (26%) and China (24%) all inhabit the top seven standings in terms of preferred employment durations of up to three years. These same talent pools fall back out of the top 50 when considering longer terms of prospective employment of over ten years, with Serbians (43%), Croatians (42%) and Tunisians (40%) much more perceptive to substantial commitment.

Targeting the right industries and skills

The 2014 survey also sheds light on the types of employment most popular for migrating employees and hirers. With a majority 31% of those willing to come, or indeed already within the UK boasting at least 4-10 years of working experience – we’re predominantly looking at qualified candidates.

In fact a largest share at 27% are skilled, non-management staff from a strong academic background. With 36% holding a Bachelor degree and 27% a Masters or post-grad qualification it stands to reason the higher percentages of employment are in specialised fields. Engineering (17%) and Business (11%) account for highest with IT (9%) and Economics/Management (8%) next up.

Given such trends extend beyond UK territory, it is clear these are perceived as the best vocations for willing migrants – providing the richest talent pool for global recruiters.

Trading places

The overarching message from 2014’s Global Talent Survey is that nearly two out of three jobseekers are happy to consider relocating for work. Conducive to a furtive world market, UK employers will be encouraged by the country’s high desirability in driving competition and talent.

However with prospective professional migrants also focusing in on particular cities and London leading the chase with 16% popularity, a drive for enticing top talent outside the capital could be worthwhile over the next twelve months.

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