Guest Post by Artur Meyster

Women continue to be painfully underrepresented in many economic sectors. Unfortunately, tech is no different—women hold only about 20 percent of all jobs in technology worldwide. If we expand our scope to STEM education more in general, the percentage is still low: worldwide only 32% graduates are women (WEF, 2016). 

Striving to improve the woman-to-man ratio, companies around the world are looking to hire female talent. However, with women so vastly underrepresented in the sector, this is no easy task. Executives are scratching their heads, wondering what they can do to increase the number of female workers and attract the best female talent. 

The answer is multilayered, with changes needed across the entire educational and professional apparatus—from early education to the workplace. Here we explore a few ways to boost female representation in the tech sector.

Promote STEM Education 

It all begins with early education. Science, Technology, Engineer and Math (STEM) is still widely perceived as a male-dominated field, which explains the low number of girls who choose this educational path. Even today, only 18 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees in the US are earned by women, according to the Computer Sciences Organisation.

Studies point out that girls tend to lose interest in STEM and related fields at around 15, which suggests that tech companies need to reach out to young teenagers before this age. For many teens and pre-teens, hearing about the job prospects in tech directly from a local leader or executive could mean the difference between choosing a technical or non-technical career.

Companies should consider partnering with schools and organizations in their area to speak to girls about the opportunities that the tech sector has to offer. But why stop there? To really pique their curiosity, firms can organize workshops where the students get hands-on experience in coding, web development, user experience design, and other skills. These events could be pivotal in helping young girls develop the analytical mindset the industry requires.

Increase Exposure to Role Models

The scarcity of female workers in the tech sector contributes to the low number of girls choosing a technical career, statistics from the World Economic Forum (2016) suggest. Exposure to more female leaders in the industry is therefore essential to encourage more young girls to opt for this career path. 

Schools and universities must prioritize the creation of spaces and opportunities for female students to meet successful women in tech. Bringing female tech leaders to discuss their experiences in the sector would allow girls to hear first-hand accounts of what it is like to work in the field, the problems they are likely to encounter, and the many opportunities available.

During these events, attendees can explore the main questions and concerns that women face, such as social expectations, family and work balance, and thriving in a male-dominated industry. These young women will benefit from the advice of professionals that have already dealt with these issues.

Access to Mentorship

Mentorship is key to support young women navigating important life decisions, as a study of young women that chose to join a tech initiative in Cambodia shows. During secondary and tertiary education, institutions must consider offering mentorship opportunities for young women who are interested in tech. 

This mentorship can take various forms. For example, the students can be paired with a dedicated mentor throughout their studies. Schools can also organize visits to tech companies in the area where students can join group mentoring sessions led by female executives.

Education institutions can get creative and consider events such as speed mentoring, where a group of female leaders is invited to talk. Each is given a certain amount of time, say 20 minutes, to introduce themselves and their work, tackle a specific topic relevant to the sector and answer questions from the audience. When their time runs out, another speaker takes the stage.

Talent Mobility

Many believe that you need to have impressive coding skills or be a math whiz to start a career in tech, but that’s nothing more than a myth. The truth is that companies in the tech sector require the services of many professionals with non-technical skills. These professionals can have very satisfying and lucrative careers in a tech company.

Compensation monitoring site Comparably recently compiled results from more than 14,500 users to determine the most popular jobs for people without a technical background, and how much they pay.

The employees surveyed came from companies of all sizes, including Apple, Uber and Facebook. The study found plenty of roles that require little to no tech experience—some of them complete with handsome salaries and bonuses. 

These are a few of the non-technical roles in high demand in the tech sector: accountants (base salary $60,249), copywriters ($65,976), customer service managers ($65,400), business analysts ($78,393), and marketing managers ($81,095).

The thing is that these positions can also serve as a springboard to a career as a tech professional. It is not unheard of to start working for a tech startup as a copywriter and then progressively transition into a more technical role. Some non-techies hired by tech companies are eventually bitten by the bug of coding, and start to learn programming languages and other tech tools on their own. Eventually, they may move on to an entirely technical role, such as a web developer, database administrator or SEO expert.

Get the skills you need

Whether you are a high school student deciding what to study in university or a professional working in a non-technical role, if you are considering starting a career in tech, you first need to acquire certain skills and knowledge. You have several options at your disposal.

The traditional route is to study Computer Science at a university or college to earn an academic degree. Many tech employers indeed favor university graduates, but earning a college degree entails a four-year commitment and a substantial financial investment.

A second—and increasingly more popular—path is to attend a coding bootcamp. Bootcamps allow you to acquire the skills you need to have your foot in the door quickly. In less than 15 weeks of intense, practical training, you will learn the basics of your chosen profession and be ready to apply for jobs. 

More and more people are choosing coding bootcamps as opposed to studying full-time at a university. This is because bootcamps represent a much smaller time and money investment and are, therefore, considered the smarter alternative. Compare the average cost of a bootcamp—$13,500—to what a university degree could potentially cost. Earning a degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for example, costs between $60,000 and $70,000 per year, making the cost of a single semester exceed that of an entire coding bootcamp.

Finally, many tech sector hopefuls choose to teach themselves. Depending on how disciplined and able to motivate yourself you are, this may be the right option for you, but keep in mind that the accreditations you’d earn by completing a university degree or bootcamp can be very helpful during the job application process.

Seek Support

The journey is always easier with other like-minded people by your side. Fortunately, there are multiple organizations and regular events to inspire young women to enter a tech career and support those already walking down this path. 

Women in Technology (WIT) is an organization with one aim—advancing women in technology, from students to seasoned professionals. To achieve its goal, WIT engages in leadership development, technology education, networking and mentoring opportunities for women at all levels of their careers. The organization has over 1,000 members in the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia metro region.

Similarly named, Women in Tech, is an international organization that aims to close the gender gap and help women embrace technology. The organization focuses on four primary areas: education, entrepreneurialism, social inclusion, science and innovation. The aim is to educate, equip and empower women and girls with the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in STEM careers.

The Women Tech Global Conference​​​​​​ is a virtual conference connecting thousands of women and minorities in tech through an interactive platform featuring keynotes, engaging panels, technical workshops, and a tech job fair with face-to-face networking sessions.​​​​​​​

Taking place in Amsterdam, the European Women in Technology is mainland Europe’s biggest celebration of the successes and innovations engineered by women from across the tech industry. European Women in Technology seeks to give women the educational tools, inspiration, knowledge and connections they need to thrive as individuals and become active participants in driving progressive change and equality in the sector.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Artur Meyster Headshot

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.

https://twitter.com/arturmeyster

https://www.linkedin.com/in/meyster

Resources

https://www.weduglobal.org/advancing-women-in-tech-in-cambodia/

https://www.comparably.com/blog/study-10-popular-jobs-in-tech-for-non-techies/

https://careerkarma.com/careers/web-development/

https://careerkarma.com/rankings/best-coding-bootcamps/

References 

Microsoft. (2016). “Why Europe Girls aren’t studying STEM.” Microsoft. 

https://news.microsoft.com/europe/features/dont-european-girls-like-science-technology/#sm.0000a046evm91crtzzd15dbmak88g%23O0g4dh2732ZlhJdB.97

World Economic Forum. (2016, Jan). “The Industry Gender Gap. Women and Work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Executive Summary. WEF. 

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_FOJ_Executive_Summary_GenderGap.pdf

Are you a Senior Manager or a Global Mobility Professional, perhaps the Manager of the Global Mobility Program in your company?

How many times have you had the realization that your Global Mobility Program is not diverse enough? Are you concretely working to achieve your company’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) goals and do you foster more inclusion within your own team?

Let’s see together how you can actively help to fill the current gap in diversity seen across organizations.

What is a “diverse and inclusive organization”? 
An organization is diverse when it encompasses all aspects of the employees from age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, family status, and background. However, an organization is also inclusive when minority groups really participate in the decision-making process and contribute to breaking the career glass ceiling. Besides being meaningless, diversity without inclusion does not drive team performance either (Czerny and Steinkellner, 2009). To quote the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, “inclusive diversity is a strength.”

Why do we Need More Minority and Female Talent in Global Mobility?

A KPMG survey highlighted that the majority of Global Mobility Programs do not have specific Diversity and Inclusion objectives as part of their department’s strategy. But why is that?

According to 59% of the respondents, the reason is that candidates for international assignments are chosen by the business unit, and not Global Mobility. This is true, however, why should you not encourage the business line to include more minority and female talent in their selection. Should your role not be to challenge the business when they always promote and select the same kind of talent?

Another 31% consider the movement of people to new countries and cultures as diverse and inclusive by its very nature and do not think that further D&I goals are needed. We think this is too short-sighted and a biased view of the world. Diversity and Inclusion at this stage needs to be more than affirmative action. We need to actively push to integrate more minority and female talent into our expat populations.

What you consider a minority will depend strongly on your home base country, usually the country where your HQ is based. However, I strongly recommend that you consider more second generation immigrants, People of Color (PoC) and refugees.

Only 41% of the respondents say they have D&I objectives as part of their Global Mobility department strategy.

You certainly have acknowledged that meeting these goals is not easy. Here are the common challenges faced by most Global Mobility Programs.

1 – There’s a Data Gap on Most Aspects of Diversity

Apart from gender and gender identity, there is a  scarcity of mobility-related data on most demographics (KPMG, 2018a). This makes it difficult for Global Mobility Teams to identify problem areas and solutions related not only to religion, ethnicity and disability status, but also educational, professional and socio-economic backgrounds.

2 – There are Still too Many Biases and Stereotypes

As you can easily guess, this issue particularly affects how women are represented within the international mobile population. Currently, women only make up from 20% to 25% of it (PwC, 2016; MacLachlan, 2018), which shows how much more work is needed to fill the gap.

The good news is that 88% of the women (PwC, 2016) feel that they need international experience to advance in their careers. The bad news is that there is a strong perception that women with children don’t want to work abroad. To make it worse, traditional mindsets still typically associate men with international assignments.

Interestingly, however, data doesn’t say the same. 66% of women would be happy to work abroad at any stage of their career (vs 60% for men), and only 17% of women cited the well-being and education of their children as a concern preventing them from embarking on an international assignment (vs 22% of men).

How many times have you consciously or unconsciously assumed that someone would not be able to perform their jobs effectively due to the situation in host locations? Or that they simply would not want to go on assignment due to family constraints, for example? Before assuming, just ask.

When I was sent on an STA to India in 2006 I had to ask for it and there weren’t many women on assignment at the time. There was a general assumption that it would be harder for a woman to perform in India and yes, sometimes we were separated from the men, which was very unusual for me at the time and I felt at a disadvantage. However, I would still consider that I had a successful assignment and managed to work through a lot of issues just by being there in person. 

3 – There’s a Lack of Transparency over who is Assigned and why

Let’s look at gender again. Data speaks loud and clear, and it’s worrying.

According to 42% of women (PwC, 2016), organisations  don’t have a clear view of employees who would be willing to be internationally mobile. This means that you may be choosing from a narrower pool than necessary.

What’s more, only 13% of women who have been on assignment said that their employer has a program that positions Global Mobility as a core part of an employee’s career plan.

Later in my career, I noticed that I was never asked again for opportunities in other countries – I always had to push for them. One time I turned down an STA to the Middle East (for the wrong reasons in hindsight) but the fact that even progressing it to an offer took a lot of persistence and relationship management is symptomatic of a system that is flawed. My assumption was that if I accepted the STA during a core restructuring program, my team in the home country would suffer from my absence, so I stayed. One year later though, with the next restructuring, things changed again. I had already moved on to start my own company. Now I wish I had taken the STA.

4 – There’s a Lack of Flexibility in Assignment Choices

You might not know that shorter and more flexible short-term assignments are notably more popular among women than men (PwC, 2016). In particular, women tend to give favourable consideration to frequent business travel based in the home country, fly-in/fly-out commuter assignments, short (6-12 months), and very short-term assignments (less than 6 months). If you expand the list of available options, you can match a wide variety of business demands.

Most companies are now frantically working on expanding their toolbox and traveler types. We know that we will have more work with these kinds of constructions but we also need to be aware that this is the future of Global Mobility. As I mentioned in the Global Mobility Workbook (2019) we are expanding our scope and this will not only help minority and female talent but also us as a function.

5 – There’s a Lack of Diversity Among the Pool of Candidates

In traditionally male-dominated types of work, such as construction and mining, casting a wider demographic net may be impossible. Likewise, some candidates may not go after mobility opportunities because they feel they are out of place. This explains why, for example, women, older workers and people with disabilities may not raise their hands for relocations to oil rigs or construction sites. At the same time, minority groups may feel discouraged because they lack role models.

This is a general issue when you are ‘junior’. Interestingly, I have seen very good initiatives in the construction industry to overcome stereotypes against gender roles in countries normally associated with those very stereotypes. LafargeHolcim has great programs for women in countries like the Philippines, for example.

6  – There are Barriers Posed by External Factors

The definition of family has expanded to include same-sex couples for most mobility teams — rising from 17% in 1999 to 70% currently (KPMG, 2018a). However,  attitudes and laws in many countries have not kept pace. A majority of countries don’t allow same-sex marriage, and homosexual acts are illegal in over 70 countries. According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, there are still 10 countries where people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgendered or transsexual (LGBQT+) can be put to death.

Still, I know several gay couples who had successful assignments to countries where societal attitudes and laws are not wholly favorable. We just need to find the right arguments and then we often end up finding solutions to these external barriers. For example, with good immigration lawyers you stand a chance of getting work visas for both partners in a same-sex relationship. Public conduct and private conduct may differ significantly. In Africa and some Asian countries men holding hands is seen as normal in public. What happens inside the apartment is often private. What is harder to overcome, in my view, are gender identity and racist issues as they are more visible than sexual orientation. 

How can you Benefit From Being More Inclusive?

Even though it may seem that the global business case for boosting Diversity and Inclusion is clear, the reality is still shockingly stuck in the last century. I even observe that we have gone back three steps in supporting minority and female talent over the last 25 years.

In my view, if you want to expand your global competitiveness, you need to be a pioneer of equal opportunities, promote acceptance and understanding, and highlight the value of each of your employees. You need more than unconscious bias training for managers. You need to establish facts. And facts are only established with data. Here are the four main reasons to establish D&I goals for your Global Mobility Program.

1 – You Tap Into a Bigger Pool of Resources

Establish concrete goals for sending minority and female talent and persistently work towards achieving them. You will then automatically broaden the pool of talent from which the mobile population is drawn. This way, you will also help ensure that the executive pipeline reflects your customer base, developing a more diverse group of future leadership. Report the data regularly to your Senior Management. Without data, nothing will change.

2 – You Control Costs Better

One of the main mobility cost drivers is not related to pay packages and policies as such but to the fact that companies often have a limited choice of candidates for assignments. A broader talent pool facilitates assignment success and indirectly helps control costs better. You depend less on only one candidate and can negotiate better packages if you have a broader pool. You probably also have better candidates if you have more than one in the pipeline.

3 – You Improve Your Brand and Reputation as an Employer of Choice

Having international experience is nowadays a precondition to reach top managerial levels within many multinational companies. Employees develop essential skills and build a network that boosts their careers immensely. It’s therefore important that you promote mobility as part of your talent brand. If you do that, you will also be advantaged when competing for minority and female talent. In your reviews and competition for being an “Employer of Choice”, offering international opportunities to minority and female talent will put you ahead of the competition.

4 – You do What is Appropriate in 2020

In times of crisis, #blacklivesmatter, #metoo and refugees being part of our workforce, we need to take a stance and stand up for minority and female talent. Who knows, had my employer sent me to Dubai in 2011, I may still have been there today. In January, I made a commitment to hire at least one professional from a minority group or from a country I am not familiar with at all. I’m hoping to challenge myself against my biases and assumptions. It’s a baby step, but you can do this too.

If you wish to discuss how to make your team or your Global Mobility program more attractive for minority and female talent, please contact angela@globalpeopletransitions.com directly for a proposal.

We also offer RockMe!, a coaching program for expats which can help minority and female talent define their global career goals and follow through with them.

Resources 

https://www-srf-ch.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.srf.ch/article/18661443/amp 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/5/18/21260209/facebook-sheryl-sandberg-interview-lean-in-women-coronavirus

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2020/06/three-degrees-racism-america/613333/

References

Czerny, E. J. & Steinkellner, P. S. (2009). Diversität als Basis erfolgreicher Teams. Eine ressourcenorientierte Betrachtung. Unpublished Working Paper, Vienna: PEF Privatuniversität für Management.  

Human Rights Campaign Foundation. (2019, Sep. 23). World Report 2019: Human Rights Watch Country Profiles: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/interactive/2019/02/28/human-rights-watch-country-profiles-sexual-orientation-and

KPMG. (2018a). Inclusion and Diversity: How Global Mobility can help move the Needle. KPMG. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle-FINAL.pdf

KPMG. (2018b). Inclusion and Diversity in Global Mobility. KPMG. Retrieved May 13, 2020, from https://assets.kpmg//content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/06/global-mobility-inclusion-and-diversity-how-gms-can-help-move-the-needle.pdf

Maclachlan, M. (2018; Mar.). Why Female Talent Are the Future of Global Mobility. Learnlight. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://insights.learnlight.com/en/articles/female-talent-future-global-mobility/

PwC. (2016). Women of the world: Aligning gender diversity and international mobility in financial services. Pwc. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/assets/women-of-the-world.pdf

Cultural Overlaps

By Sara Micacchioni

Yachi Namamoto is Japanese, an expatriate residing in Hawaii, and a quiet intelligent individual. Though he initially is shy with strangers, he likes a lot to play host for his friends. In conversations, he will demonstrate techniques of jujitsu, in which he holds a high-ranking belt. He will also talk about the incidents that he experienced in his travels throughout Asia and America. Brought up in a middle-class, though relatively traditional home, Yachi Namamoto finished high school and taught ikebana, the art of flower arrangement. In high school, he became a member of a splinter faction of the Zengakuren, the militant student movement in Japan. He participated actively in numerous demonstrations and student revolts too.

How would you describe Yachi Namamoto? Do you think he identifies more as a Japanese or a Hawaii resident? Maybe he applied to and obtained his Green Card and he’s now a US citizen. Perhaps, sometimes he introduces himself as an expatriate and ikebana teacher, and other times as a middle-class man who is into politics. 

Like Yachi Namamoto, we all hold multiple intersecting identities which define who we are and how we understand and experience the world. When we think of these identities individually, they are just a snapshot. In fact, depending on the context in which we find ourselves, the importance, salience and awareness of certain identities change. This means that the perception we and the others have of our identities not only varies during the course of our lives, but it may change throughout the same day. At the same time, other identities might as well fade away in time as a result of growing older and having different responsibilities in life. For example, “student identity” may be a rather central one during university time, but it then gradually fades away in favour of other features such as “career identity” once graduates move onto different stages of their lives. 

And if you were to conceptualize your own understanding of who you are, what are the most important identities that come to your mind? 

How might others think of your identities? Is this answer similar or different than the first one?

Like Gardenswarts and Rowe (2003) point out, there are many aspects of identity, such as age, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, ethnicity, race, parental and marital status, religion, union affiliation, department or unit group, etc. The list is actually much longer.

The way our multiple identities overlap is a fundamental symbol of our existence and functioning aspect of our individual personality, placed at the core of the scheme proposed by the two authors. 

The Kaleidoscope of Identities

Imagine a kaleidoscope with several different colorful pieces. Think about those pieces as your relevant identities. There are also three mirrors, and depending on the lens through which you observe the reflection, different patterns are generated. With a turn of the lens, one can see things from a different perspective and understand better what all the identities at play are.

Very often, we are too focused on our national identity, which we often use to describe ourselves in an international context where, given the abundance of nationalities, our national identity becomes more relevant. In fact, even if we rarely think of ourselves in these terms, we are a patchwork of multiple identities. We act according to certain internalized roles, rules, norms and functions which are typical of certain subcultures. 

Who we are is not individually determined by the single subcultures to which we belong. Rather, psychologically and socially, we are the result of the overlap of all these subcultures taken together and each person’s identity is shaped by this multiplicity of traits. As we said earlier, they are generally all equally relevant at the same time, though they always co-exist. They can also confer privilege and power or can be marked by oppression and marginalization.

Try to recall a situation in which you might have had a wrong impression about someone and think of what made you change your mind. 

About Sara

Author's Headshot
Sara

Sara Micacchioni is currently working as Academic Intern at Global People Transitions, where she is head of research and quality assurance projects. At the beginning of 2020, she graduated from an international English-taught master degree in Intercultural Management at the University of Burgundy, France. In the past, she also carried out several short-term and long-term voluntary work projects in Europe and South America.
Sara lived, studied, and worked in seven European countries and speaks four foreign languages. She considers herself an interculturalist with a real passion for globetrotting. In her mission to travel the world, she has now ticked off 30 countries globally.

Resources

Adler, P. (November 2002). ‘Beyond Cultural Identity: Reflections on Multiculturalism’. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://www.mediate.com/articles/adler3.cfm#comments

Gardenswartz, L & Rowe, A. (2003). Diverse Teams at Work: Capitalizing on the Power of Diversity, Society For Human Resource Management.

Ngo, C. (2014). ‘Kaleidoscope of identities’. Tedx UOregon. University of Oregon. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRGqgNuJDIk

Blogs

Edgar Schein on Culture

Milk Car

by Oyin Adedokun  

oyindamola@globalpeopletransitions.com 

There is no doubt that the novel Coronavirus has taken its toll on your business. A lot of things are not working perfectly and the little things that are, are only doing so skeletally. There is a current wave of uncertainty, volatility, and complexities that is sweeping the world. However, I have some good news for you. Yes, good news! You are not the only one in this whole drama. We are all in this together. There is nothing to be gained from asking the question ‘when will this pandemic be over?’ because nobody knows. The best you can do instead is to start taking measures to stay ahead of the pandemic. Now, here is the good news. I will give you seven strategies that will allow your business to stay afloat this pandemic and its gruesome impacts.

Identify the unique challenges confronting your business. The starting point to proffering viable solutions to any problem is to first identify the problem itself. It’s quite amazing that many people run helter-skelter seeking solutions, yet give vague answers such as Coronavirus when asked what exactly the problem is. You must be explicit about the challenges confronting your business.

Be Flexible. This period requires the fortitude to be able to adapt conveniently with the series of changes that are sweeping across the world. A lot of decisions would need to be made promptly as events continue to unfold.

Embrace technology. The novel Coronavirus has fast-tracked the emergence of a digital world. As the need for physical touch and presence in executing and managing business suddenly fizzles out, the need to embrace digital contacts has further been accentuated by the pandemic.  According to Forbes’  the Corona Pandemic is forcing digital transformation. 

Apply for social security packages. You might be eligible for a support package for your business in your location targeted at cushioning the effect of Coronavirus. Governments are making a lot of fiscal and monetary policies geared towards stimulating the economy by supporting companies from suffering bankruptcy and facilitating a sustainable recovery.

Ensure effective Communication. This point ought to be at the head of the list because it is a non-negotiable factor to keeping your business running successfully during and even after Coronavirus.  You must be able to keep in touch constantly with your employees, clients, and customers. This is simply because you must keep intact the trust that relevant stakeholders have in you. The greatest tool for achieving this is tomaintain constant and effective communication with both your customers and stakeholders. Employ the service of a copywriter, if possible.

Think ahead.  It is imperative to think about what would be obtainable after Coronavirus is over or perhaps, when the social restrictions are totally lifted. You need to put strategies in place that would give you a competitive advantage. Think about what could be done differently. How do you deliver to your clients in the most dynamic way that keeps them glued as patrons of your services? These and more are the questions you must consistently ask yourself. Our RockMeApp provides you with the facility to help you get ahead. 

Lastly, keep a positive and optimistic mind. I know that the world is currently a difficult place to live in. And even the image of the Coronavirus itself looks scary on its own (well, maybe for me). However, I want you to know that things will fall back to normal. It might interest you to know that this is not the worst pandemic that has ever confronted the world. The world has conquered over and again. We will whip this pandemic as well. But you need to have a positive and optimistic outlook about life to keep your sanity and maintain belief. The fact that you are taking out time to read this piece means you already have hope that things will get better, and trust me, they will.

This too shall pass. Remain positive. Cheers.

Oyin.

Further Reading:

Is COVID-19 Forcing Your Digital Transfomation? 12 Steps To Move Faster:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/04/05/is-covid-19-forcing-your-digital-transformation-12-steps-to-move-faster/#44f6f1f5617b

ILO: Social protection responses to the COVID-19 crisis-Country responses and policy considerations 

Oyin is an immigration specialist in Nigeria and will work for GPT from September 2020 as an Academic Intern.
About Oyin
Oyin-Ayo Adedokun is a seasoned Immigration Specialist, who engages effective and efficient measures in providing expatriates with the processing of all relevant visas such as, Residence Permits, Quota Approvals, Temporary Work Permit and any other work-related documents required to enable expatriates to work in Nigeria, with a demonstrated history of working in the oil and energy industry.
Oyin has a practical insight into how the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Ministry of Interior work and so, facilitates itch-free immigration processes.
He prides himself in mobilizing human capital for international businesses, as well as investors from the global pool of human resources while ensuring that they have a stress-free immigration process both in Nigeria and at various Nigerian Embassies and High Commission all over the world. He is currently managing the immigration facilities of well over 100 expats in one of the leading oil servicing companies in West Africa.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/oyindamola-ayomide-adedokun/
Posted on

Over the last twenty years in Human Resources, I noticed that a lot of international talents were frustrated in the process of moving to another country for work. It was not only because their companies paid them another package than what they expected. It was also because a lot of international assignees underestimated the challenge of moving to another country.

For example, expats moving to Switzerland often think it will be easier to find affordable childcare, high-quality apartments, and a job for their “trailing” spouse. Most expats believe it will be easy to learn the local language (or they even think we speak English). Most expats believe that they are going to have a great career step after their repatriation. I have seen a lot of anger when assignees went to another country and when they returned home and did not get that promotion or the role they were hoping for.

Regularly, I have clients break out in tears because they feel overwhelmed by the international assignment experience. When I worked in India and when I moved to Switzerland from Germany it was not always just “Cricket & Bollywood” or “Cheese & Chocolate”.

 

Five Gaps in the Global Mobility Approach

There are five gaps in the Global Mobility approach and I think this is true across industries and countries.

  1. Expats are often selected on an ad-hoc basis and intercultural competence is hardly ever taken into account in the selection process. Female Expats are still greatly underrepresented.
  2. International assignments hardly ever have a- business case showing assignment drivers, measurable targets, expected gains, growth opportunities, assignment costs and a repatriation plan for the expat.
  3. Most companies lack succession plans where repatriates could be included with their future roles and often expats are overlooked when it comes to filling roles in headquarters or when promotions are due.
  4. Global Mobility Professionals are hardly ever considered strategic partners of the business. They are often just seen as administrators of the process while the decisions about who is going where are taken solely by the business.
  5. The Expat Family is hardly considered in the Global Mobility Approach. Only a few forward-thinking companies offer career support for spouses. I have not seen any company who helps with educational considerations and advice for the Expat Children. Relocation companies only give minimal support and hardly understand the concerns of globally mobile parents. Most relocation consultants have never moved to another country in their lives.

There are also five global trends that have made Global Mobility more difficult in the last 10 years.

Budget cuts due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The financial impact of the global coronavirus pandemic has yet to be fully calculated, though McKinsey and the BBC have presented analysis based on the available datasets and the outlook is bleak. Combine that with the fact that the world was still recovering from the worldwide financial crisis of 2008 and you realize how deep the effects are. With both crises, it has been observed that travel and expat budgets get reduced to a minimum. With the current pandemic, especially, that has left Expats stranded, with their support system from the employer vanishing. The Expat Experience coming out of this COVID-19 driven financial crisis – will get worse.

Many Expats and Repatriates are finding themselves unemployed in their respective home countries. We also see that companies are struggling to sustain, with even large organizations filing for bankruptcy (like Virgin Australia). More are merging or getting acquired. Even those that have managed to transition to a work from home structure have had to downsize, with the working employees not guaranteed fixed working hours, which means that job security for all staff is non-existent. Especially in the EU, many countries are new to this kind of unstable job market and do not yet have the tools and systems in place to allow their workforce to work fluidly and flexibly from anywhere. Cherished and spoilt expats dwell on the verge of desperation because they have been made redundant, even if they may not be at the end of their contract.

Local Plus is the New Black

Other expats receive a local contract without really understanding what that means for their social security, long-term pension and often they do not know that their work and residence permit depends on their employer too. Employers find “Local Plus” convenient but they do not really consider all the risks these moves entail because many business decisions in the last ten years are driven by controllers.

The Talent Gap

We now lack the critically needed talent in important growth areas. Programmers and engineers are examples of professionals that are in high demand.- There is certainly a mismatch and gap between demand and supply. There are a number of reasons related to the sourcing process as well. Recruiting has become a science and needs to go through a transformation. Recruiters need to learn to cope with the demand and supply in a globalized market of talents. Check out Avoiding Global Talent Acquisition Failure – Six Basics To Add to Your Recruiting Guideline. Language is still one of the main barriers to an influx of highly skilled migrants in Europe. Even though we launched the green card and blue card initiative we have not managed to attract the potential and talent needed within the EU for example in IT.

Health and Security Concerns Hinder Free Movement

Security concerns are growing in Global Mobility. Expats frequently face acts of terrorism, natural disasters, mugging and burglary as well as health issues. Check out Global TV Talk to gain perspective on this. While often the issues are normal in the local environment they can also be inflated disproportionately in our media. The images we have of countries such as Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan to name a few make it hard to convince families to work in these countries. Each terrorist act — in Istanbul, Jakarta, Tunis, Paris or Beirut will reduce the willingness of expat families to move into these cities even though expats probably have the best security support you can have in these locations.

Global Migration Challenges

Look back to 2015, the year global migration became pop culture. The term “refugee crisis” was coined in Europe. Even though we have had proportionately more refugees coming to Europe since the Arab spring started in 2011 in Tunisia, we all had more interaction with refugees since 2015. While I am personally concerned about the right-wing propaganda, I do understand that the intercultural and societal challenges of integrating refugees at least temporarily are considerable. – I am concerned about discriminatory practices in Recruiting and Global Mobility. In 2020, global migration faces another challenge in the form of the travel restrictions that have been imposed on the entire world by the highly infectious COVID-19. Many countries are not letting in any people, especially those on temporary visas (such as temporary work visas). Delays in paperwork processing due to shutdowns, mandatory quarantine periods and more means that a highly qualified international workforce has been robbed of all mobility.

All of this has led to Global Mobility being flawed, expats not able to go on international assignments anymore and overwhelmed GM Professionals who feel the pressure from all ends as they are in the firing line of assignees, business line, talent, HR and Finance managers. In addition to having been undervalued, overworked and squeezed by their interest groups, classical Global Mobilitytasks have been outsourced to Third-Party Service Providers and Shared Service Centers, or put on indefinite hold for those organizations that have stood down their employees and halted operations.

Working in Global Mobility used to be a career dead-end and a Sisyphian task. We roll up the stone assignee by assignee only to see it roll down again. We run KPI report after KPI report only to be told that no one knows what we are doing or who we are. We are often managed by HR Directors who don’t get us. We are online 24/7, involved in GM improvement projects, listen to depressed spouses in our evenings and do not get the promotion or salary we deserve.

But there is hope. I am not willing to give up. Yet.

We see the change in Global Mobility.

The more complex our global markets become, the more we need to reevaluate our assumptions of how we run Global Mobility

We need global leadership competency in our international talents and if they do not have it yet we need to send them out on long-term assignments earlier in their career. We should force expats to learn the local language and coach them through the Expat  Experience. Intercultural briefings are not enough anymore.

We need to ensure that there is a- Global Mobility Business Case showing assignment drivers and targets, expected gains or opportunities, assignment costs, and a repatriation plan. I explain this at length in “The Global Mobility Workbook (2019)” and my lectures.

We need to implement succession plans and add our current assignees as potential successors. We need to ensure that the knowledge, skills, and network they gain while on assignment is appropriately reflected in their following role and repatriation plan. We also need to ensure better handovers to their successors in the host location.

We need to upgrade the GM Profession- and the GM function needs to sit closer to business development and potentially move out of HR. We need to up-skill the case managers and train GM Professionals for a consultative approach where they can work as trusted partners with the business line managers.

We need to consider the Expat Family in the process more by providing spouse career support, elderly care and educational advisory. We also should offer 24/7 support to our expat families in crisis situations such as marital issues. A helpline to professional counsellors is needed.

What I believe in and what makes me get up in the morning:

  • I believe that Western managers of my generation and the baby boomer generation have to develop their relationship-building skills before becoming effective leaders of global teams. The performance of most global teams can only improve through higher global leadership competency following a holistic global competency model.
  • I believe that a great Expat Experience is linked to assignment targets, an international assignment business case and a repatriation plan and also to the Human Touch.
  • I believe that companies will focus more on creating succession plans and ensure that roles are filled in a more structured manner, handovers improved and teams will function more self-managed going forward. Leadership itself will change significantly.
  • I believe that GM Professionals have the potential to become critical players in the international growth of businesses post-crisis and are valued more as the subject matter experts that they are. They will move out of HR and be closer to business development.
  • I believe that assignees and spouses need to have a valuable intercultural experience and both can further their career and life vision together. Expat children need support in moving from one culture to another and even though they might be multilingual at the end of their school life, they have to cope with identity loss and loss of their roots.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

FlyMe! – Boost Your Global Mobility Career in 180 Days 

Globe and Covid19
The Smell of the Big, Wide World awaits you.

The Smell of The Big Wide World Where Adventure Awaits You

It’s Monday morning at 8 AM and instead of starting your laptop to go through another uninspired day of filling forms online and playing appointment bullshit bingo with your colleagues you look at the map of the world that is hanging in your home office. You have been home too long and you wish to smell the spices in a market in Amritsar, walk through the East village of New York City, sit in a rickshaw in Lahore or go on a hike in Northern Italy.

The big wide world, it’s never been so hard to get access to it. You are thinking about moving into the field of Global Mobility because this might at least give you the option to feel connected to the wider world than your home village.

You have experience in the relocation industry and you sometimes feel that you are not entirely clear on basic knowledge of Global Mobility which would help you to serve your clients better. Recently, you have considered that being a Subject Matter Expert in one area of Global Mobility might be a good career path for you but you are not yet sure which area you would enjoy most.

You have lived in your home village for most of your life and you would like to get a job that you can take to other countries. You would like to deepen your knowledge of other cultures and work in a global context where you speak English most of the time.

You Could Join us and Become a Global Mobility Specialist

If you would like to become a Global Mobility Specialist or deepen your knowledge, improve your skill set and build your professional network at the same time, this program is for you. FlyMe! helps you to understand the world of Global Mobility and even gives you insights into intercultural collaboration. Being part of the global network of the Expatise Academy™ we will not only help you technically, you can also book individual coaching sessions with Angie Weinberger in case you feel stuck or need advice from an industry Yoda. You will also have access to other industry experts and meet colleagues based in other countries than your home market.

FlyMe! Boost Your Career in Global Mobility in the next 180 days.

Angie Weinberger wrote the FlyMe! content which is essentially a digital version of the Global Mobility Workbook (2019). From us you will receive a weekly chapter with homework. In addition we give you 12 months access to our #RockMeApp. The #RockMeApp is an online platform for our clients where you define your career goals, learning targets and weekly practices. You are also invited to a weekly reflection exercise. Angie Weinberger reviews your input and will give you pointers on how to work on your Global Mobility career.

You can also buy coaching sessions with Angie Weinberger as per our Terms and Conditions.

FlyMe! is included in the Expatise Academys New Program for Relocation Professionals and GM Newbies. You will receive a EUR 200 discount if you sign up before 30 June 2020. You just have to mention “GPT” when you sign up.

https://www.expatise.academy/comprehensive-courses/hr-gm-for-relocation-professionals/

The regular tuition fee amounts to EUR 1’950 + VAT per participant.

 

The Full Program includes:

  • A 12-months license to the use of the online Global Mobility certification course © by Expatise Publishers with video and audio lessons, Q&A tests, topical libraries and peer communities.
  • A 12-months license to the use of the MemoTrainerApp © ANewSpring;
  • A digital copy of the Expatise Handbook for Global Mobility Professionals © by Expatise Publishers;
  • A 12-months license to the use of the FlyMe! program © by Angie Weinberger;
  • A 12-months license to the use of the RockMeApp © by Angie Weinberger;
  • A Certification and EC-registration,
  • The membership of the Expatise Alumni Network.

Additionally, the participant can opt for extension of this program with six one-hour live webinars with our lecturers for EUR 210 + VAT. VAT will be applied where appropriate. Expatise Academy will set up live webinars depending on demand.

Click here to sign up and for queries.