The Push for Rainbow Talent in Global Mobility – Part 1

Ayeesha

Why We Need to Support Rainbow Talent

The Push for Rainbow Talent in Global Mobility is a series we created for Pride Month to raise awareness of the issues diverse talent might experience in the realm of Global Mobility. Although international organizations have a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) objective, according to a report by KPMG (2018), many need to catch up due to failure to understand how Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion impact Global Mobility. 

Another KPMG (2018) survey highlighted that most Global Mobility Programs do not need to have specific Diversity and Inclusion objectives as part of their strategy. 70% of the companies with diversity and inclusion practices in place stated that this was due to a strong business case for diversity across all business areas.

While I understand that we might not need to develop a DEI strategy ONLY for Global Mobility, we should still include Global Mobility in our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals.

Globally, the proportion of female employees engaged in international assignments is merely 14%. While this percentage may differ across industries and regions, the overall picture is clear: even in well-developed markets, achieving gender parity is far from satisfactory (Mercer, 2019).

Female and minority talent miss opportunities because they are not transparent. They need to be made aware of the possibilities and often need access to the informal networks where participants are nominated for such opportunities. Even worse, white men tend to nominate other white men for international career opportunities within the military tradition and other old boys’ clubs. Most assignments are still nomination based. You get the gist. The outcome of the survey by KPMG (2018) brings hope in this aspect, as nearly half of the companies surveyed indicated that the review of their Global Mobility processes would broaden communication to all employees about opportunities. 

How we define Rainbow Talent

As there are many different groups and changing identities I would like to summarize them under the umbrella of all colors by the term “Rainbow Talent.”  I’m using this term as an inclusive summary of the following groups:

  • Women of all skin colors,
  • BIPOC: The acronym BIPOC refers to black, indigenous, and other people of color and aims to emphasize the historical oppression of black and indigenous people.
  • LGBTQIA+: LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, and other sexual identities and genders.
  • Religious and other marginalized groups in your home and host countries,
  • People with disabilities 
  • People with a broad range on the mental health spectrum
  • Refugees.

You will often see unconscious bias because the Sponsoring Manager assumes that a woman has a house to keep and children to raise. They would not assume this for male talent. Sometimes the prejudice is just as simple as “women don’t do this kind of job or can’t work in this country.” 

Or there is the assumption that a married gay couple would have a hard time in specific locations because of the lack of legal acceptance of their marriage. Sometimes members of the LGBTQIA+ community are not even out of the closet within their companies. Although society has become much more open in the last 20 years, we must remember there could be many reasons why employees might not want to disclose everything about themselves to their employers.

There is enough evidence that companies having gender, ethnic, and cultural diversity are more likely than ever to outperform their less diverse peers.  Still, we hardly see any progress in this space within Global Mobility, so I wish all of us to push for Rainbow Talent within our expat population and communities.

Six Tactics

Here are our six tactics to give Rainbow Talent a seat at the Global Mobility table.

1 – Identify Strong Candidates with Performance and Potential Data:

Eliminate most of the prejudices, stereotypes, and biases by relying on hard data. Create a system of identifying those qualified for international work and projects. Performance and potential data are vital points to consider for an ideal selection. You can go back to “The Global Mobility Workbook” chapter 6 “Selecting Your Expats” for a framework. You must base selection on data and facts rather than sentiments.

2 – Select Candidates Based on Intercultural Competence:

Every candidate who meets the requirements should go through an intercultural competence assessment or even an assessment center designed to prepare for international assignments. The potentially stressful or dangerous context in the host location might deter some employees, but before assuming, have a conversation with your potential assignee. Work with a professional to assess their intercultural competence.  I can recommend the more academic Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)™. We also work with the Individual Cultural Blueprint Indicator (ICBI) ™.

3 – Provide Inclusive Guidelines to Recruiters:

We have witnessed a surge of different “expatriates,” such as International Hires, Cross-Border Commuters, Global Nomads, International Business Travelers, and International Transfers. To be inclusive, we must support these people, their needs, and the “classical expatriate”. As mentioned in this interview, many international moves are now local-to-local transfers. Hence, often we do not involve a Global Mobility Manager in the process. An HR Manager or external recruiter is the point of contact for the “Expat Family”. We recommend that you upgrade your definition of the “Expat Family” and give more support to all involved. A “Box of Chocolates” approach can be helpful here. 

4 – Ensure Commitment from all Senior Managers to the Cause:

Promote intercultural competence within your senior workforce. Offer “Unconscious Bias” training to your senior managers and ensure your senior managers lead a diverse workforce. Expose them to other cultural styles and make sure that they are committed to the cause of inclusive leadership and that they are trained to speak to “Rainbow Talent” appropriately. We are working on a new publication called the “Global Rockstar Album” which supports leaders to become more inclusive. If you want to be informed about the book and join the launch party please sign up here.

5 – Offer a Global Job Platform with a Self-Nomination or Open Application Process:

Most companies work like social media, despite official structures there are informal networks. You have fans and followers, occasionally a sponsor or supporter. You can make your job opportunities transparent by allowing a self-nomination process. All talents want a fair chance at success, and you must find ways to motivate them to apply. 

6 – Target Your Job Ads to Rainbow Talent:

You also need to write more inclusive job profiles so they match real professionals and do not “sound” like you only want a white alpha male. As I mentioned in “The Global Career Workbook (2016)” most job profiles I’m reading have been written for Batman and Robin. We need more Wonder Woman and Supergirl profiles. It’s hard enough for Rainbow Talent to feel worthy to apply. Let’s make it easier by not setting totally unrealistic expectations from the beginning. 

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References and Further Reading

Four Ways Organizations Can Support Their LGBTQ+ Employees

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

Cohen, E. / Weinberger, A. (2023): “The Push for Female and Minority Talent in Global Mobility” , Video Interview ANGIE W 1:1 6/6 (spkr)

Coaston, J. (2019). Intersectionality explained: Meet Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term. Vox. https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/5/20/18542843/intersectionality-conservatism-law-race-gender-discrimination

Wettstein, R. (2020, June 22). ‘We must strive to be anti-racist’ SWI swissinfo.ch. https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/-we-must-strive-to-be-anti-racist-/45847188

Vargas, J. A. (2013, February 6). My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/magazine/my-life-as-an-undocumented-immigrant.html

Waldman, K. (2018, July 23). A Sociologist Examines the “White Fragility” That Prevents White Americans from Confronting Racism. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/a-sociologist-examines-the-white-fragility-that-prevents-white-americans-from-confronting-racism

Kramer, S. (2018). How Inclusion and Diversity Impact Global Mobility Programs [Report]. Retrieved 15 June 2021, from https://fowmedia.com/how-inclusion-and-diversity-impact-global-mobility/ 

McKinsey & Company. (2020). Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters [Report].
Diversity wins: How inclusion matters

Paton, T. (2021). DiversityBusiness.com | News. Retrieved 15 June 2021, from Minority and Gender Expatriate Challenges on International Assignments by Tom Paton 

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

Weinberger, A. (2019): The Global Mobility Workbook, Third Edition.

Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified. (2014). Retrieved 15 June 2021, from https://hbr.org/2014/08/why-women-dont-apply-for-jobs-unless-theyre-100-qualified 

Expatriate Management: Women in the Workforce. (2019). Mercer Mobility. https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/insights/article/expatriate-management-women-in-the-workforce

Why Only 25 percent of International Assignees Are Women 121: Why Only 25% Of International Assignees Are Women



One thought on “The Push for Rainbow Talent in Global Mobility – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Rainbow Talent | Angie Weinberger Expat Coach Zurich |

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