HR Managers Struggling to Find Quality Talent

August 9, 2016 – Nearly half of global HR managers (46 percent) struggle to find good global candidates with an international outlook, according to recent research by CEMS, the global alliance in business education, and its corporate partner Universum. The survey also found that 87 percent of respondents consider foreign language skills to be important for employability.

HR managers see the major challenges of working abroad for their employees as understanding a new culture (48 percent), cultural shock (24 percent) and language / communication issues (16 percent). Other concerns raised include problems with finding a position when employees return (repatriation), high costs for the company and visa issues.

The research involved in depth interviews with 80 global HR managers, half of whom were based in Europe. Over half of the survey group were from major companies with over 1,000 employees.

One in seven HR managers from larger organizations said that over 30 percent of managers within their company work internationally (out of their home country), though this figure was lower in smaller companies (41 percent of all respondents stated that less than five percent operate internationally).

The main advantages of hiring globally were seen differently depending on the region:

  • 74 percent of European HR managers said that hiring from different countries leads to a diverse working atmosphere;
  • Non-European HR managers (U.S. and Asia) focused more on the need to close recruiting gaps that are hard to fill and meet graduate expectations of working with international colleagues.

Upon graduation, students’ careers take a truly international path in a great variety of sectors and in many cases within multinational companies:

  • 95 percent are employed or continuing their studies;
  • 50 percent are living outside of their home country;
  • 80 percent work for multinational companies.

Global Mobility

“It is clear from this research that global mobility is very much on the agenda of HR professionals and particularly in larger organizations a substantial proportion of managers operate internationally,” said Roland Siegers, executive director of CEMS. “Despite this, many still say they have some trouble recruiting the right global profiles.” Respondents also identify the many challenges involved with placing employees internationally, he said, including cultural awareness and language barriers.

“In time of global challenge the world requires internationally educated, inspired leaders and employees, who can build bridges across the divides that separate us and who are globally-minded, while sensitive enough to know when it is appropriate to act locally,” Mr. Siegers said. “Because of this, and in light of these findings, companies need to invest in employees and managers to make sure they are equipped with the skills to operate globally.”

Inadequate Talent Supply

Finding top international talent is not the only problem HR managers face. Numerous reports continue to come out citing that lack of quality talent is an issue among companies despite a large amount of people seeking new employment opportunities.

The inadequate supply of qualified and skilled talent is the second-biggest threat to U.S. companies’ ability to meet revenue or business performance targets, second only to “increased competitive pressures,” concluded a  recent Randstad ‘U.S. Workplace Trends’ report. Nearly eight-in-10 hiring decision makers (79 percent) agree that when positions become available at their organization, they struggle to find people whose skills match the job requirements.


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“Often the challenge for hiring executives isn’t the quantity of available candidates, instead it’s the increasing difficulty in finding talent that is qualified, with the right skills and cultural fit for the position,” said Jim Link, chief human resources officer (CHRO) of Randstad North America. “People are the key factor linking innovation, competitiveness and growth for companies today. But securing skilled workers is getting more complex and challenging than ever before. As organizations further increase their hiring activity, low unemployment means business leaders will have to work harder at hiring and keeping quality talent particularly as employees gain more options and confidence to change employers.”

According to a recent Right Management report, companies are struggling to find people with the precise skills or combination of skills they need. Over one third of employers worldwide said they were having trouble filling positions due to lack of suitable talent.

As the global demand for highly skilled labor continues to grow, the Right Management report suggests that leaders will need to align their talent strategies with their business strategies to ensure that they have the right people in place, and rethink old assumptions about work models, people practices and talent sources.

“As the struggle to find the right talent continues, and candidates with in-demand skills get the upper hand, employers will be under pressure to position themselves as ‘talent destinations’ to attract the best workers that will drive their business forward,” noted Kip Wright, senior vice president, Manpower North America.

With the U.S. unemployment rate recently reaching an eight year low, competition is fierce for skilled talent. That means it’s more important than ever that companies resolve to invest in the recruitment and development of top talent and explore creative, progressive staffing solutions,” said Joyce Russell, Adecco Staffing USA president.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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