THE GLOBALIZATION OF WORK

     

It is often a casual conversation that alerts us to a fundamental shift in the world.

“So where are you looking for jobs,” I asked my American-educated Mexican friend about eight months ago.

“I’m looking at opportunities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul and Dubai. I might stay in London, if something good comes up, but really I just want to be in Asia.”

He ended up in Seoul.

This, and countless conversations like it got me thinking about where the world is on the curve of globalization. For years, globalization meant increasingly connected business, trade and finance. Over the last two decades, it has included the movement of people - from the growth of international air travel to the ‘normalization’ of international careers. Modern careers are no longer drawn by national boundaries. Success in today’s interconnected world depends on building global capabilities and networks, most often acquired through cross-border lives.

A recent study by recruiter, Michael Page, looked at the salaries and international experience of more than 4,300 CFOs globally. The study concluded that ‘CFOs who can demonstrate international knowledge typically command higher salaries. In fact, 74% of the CFOs in the highest pay bracket stated that they had some level of working experience abroad.’ Moreover, six out of ten CFOs have spent time working abroad.

Today more than 40% of profit for firms on the S&P 500 is generated overseas. Modern employees know that the fast track to management is a ‘global zig-zag’, a term used by Lorna Davis, former President of Kraft China, during the 2011 Financial Times Women at the Top Conference. This zig-zag offers them the capabilities, networks and cultural sensitivities necessary to lead a multinational organization. As noted in a recent Harvard Business School blog by Gianpiero Petriglieri, “global leaders must learn to live in and between two homes – a local home and a global home.”

The globalization of work has changed the way professionals look for and select jobs, both within and outside organizations. At MOVE Guides, we increasingly see young professionals screening jobs by opportunity, not location. This means increasing numbers of people will move around the world seeking opportunity and global capabilities. They will transact in a global marketplace and seek out organizations that allow them to pursue a global zig-zag.

For organizations, this will mean new policies to support globally mobile staff, and a decline in monetary incentives for international moves - as the incentive becomes professional opportunity and global capabilities.

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About The Author

Brynne Herbert

CEO and Founder