HR managers are finding it difficult to recruit relevant talent due to the major challenges of working abroad for employees.


New research has found that nearly half of HR managers (46%) struggle to find good global candidates with an international outlook. The report carried out by CEMS – the Global Alliance in Business Education - alongside their corporate partner Universum, also found that 87% of respondents consider foreign language skills to be important for employability.

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

In addition to this, one in seven HR managers from larger organisations said that over 30% of managers within their company work internationally (out of their home country), though this figure was lower in smaller companies (41% of all respondents stated that less that 5% operate internationally).

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

  • 74% European HR managers stated that hiring from different countries leads to a diverse working atmosphere
  • Non-European HR managers (US 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.

Roland Siegers, executive director of CEMS, commented: “It is clear from this research that global mobility is very much on the agenda of HR professionals and particularly in larger organisations a substantial proportion of managers operate internationally. 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, 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. 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.