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It’s a Small World…Or Is It?

June 16

What's the best way to reach women in technology in China, find financial analysts in Taiwan, or build brand awareness in Malaysia? At TMP, the answers to these questions are all in a day's work. Because we deliver client solutions in 26 countries, understanding both global and local recruitment strategies is imperative to our success. In today's society, where communications and technologies can make the world feel like a very small place, we have to assume that the engineer sitting in Bangalore is talking to the engineer sitting in Silicon Valley – and using the Internet to connect and learn. How they feel about work and what matters to them in an employer may be different, but a consistent corporate message is critical. Equally critical to the success of building an employer brand globally is local knowledge of each market.

Despite how small the world can feel, the contrasts can be surprising, and at no time has this contrast been more apparent than in the past five years of global economic turmoil. We've seen countries big and small come together to focus on how to improve the overall economic health of the world. And it's acknowledged that a key piece to recovery is employment. The topic of jobs and unemployment rates has been a main subject of discussion, as many countries have watched their jobless rates rise and rise. In the U.S., recent indications that the economy is turning have yet to impact the employment market significantly. However, in this "small" world we live in, that is not the case everywhere. For another example, consider the current global unemployment rates. Countries like Singapore, Vietnam, Norway, Hong Kong and Switzerland enjoy some of the lowest rates in the world, all at or under 4%. In contrast, South Africa, Spain, Latvia and Namibia are the highest, at over 17%.

We've long known that emerging markets are experiencing tremendous growth, but did you know that some of those same countries are projected and are well on their way to having record breaking economic years? Yes…2011 is a record breaking economic year! As the U.S. still struggles to come out of the slump, these emerging markets have fared favorably. Take what's known as BRICS; traditionally the BRIC countries are Brazil, Russia, India, and China, with very recently the addition of South Africa. In the past decade, these countries have grown to contribute a quarter of the world's economy, and even more surprising, are projected to continue to grow to account for a third of the global economy within the next ten years. As these countries experience economic growth, the landscape of their demographics change, with an increasing middle class and a rise in standards of living. This emerging middle class will further influence the strengthening of the global economy, positively impacting many industries, consumer product demand, retail, leisure, natural resources, etc., and continue to level the global playing field.

It's because of these trends and unique cultures that understanding the local market is important when recruiting globally. Whether you're a recruiter with a large multinational corporation that's well established or are making your first foray into an emerging market, the rules may remain the same on the surface, but just because you may have a strong brand or a good story to tell in one country does not mean it is universal. So take the time to understand the local market, its nuances, its culture, and its daily norms. Be sure to build a local presence that encapsulates your organization's brand, mission, and goals and marries them to the motivating factors of your local target audience, and make sure to utilize the right mediums for the message. Here in the U.S., print ads are all but obsolete, but they still play a strong role in some markets in the Asia Pacific region; for instance, the newspapers with the world's largest circulation are in Japan. Utilize other sourcing tools, like employee referral programs, which exceed expectations in some of these countries, where one's network and peer/family approval are important assets.

We've certainly seen more and more clients come to us for assistance with penetrating a new market and building global employer brand awareness. As the world gets smaller, it is important to remember that one size does not fit all. In order to succeed in a global marketplace, companies must remain culturally appropriate and relevant to their target audience's needs at a very local level, and recruitment strategies and messages must reflect those same sentiments.

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