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A Job Abroad Worth Big Bucks At Home

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This article is written by Eithne Dunne, edited from the Ireland edition of  The Times, 10.11.2016. View original article.

 


 

While not a prerequisite for every job, having some international experience on your CV will almost always gain you brownie points with employers.

This is particularly true now that Ireland has become home to an increasing number of multinationals, for whom experience beyond the Irish market is desirable if not essential among new hires.

Frank Farrelly, chief operating officer of Sigmar Recruitment, said Ireland has a strong reputation for having an adaptable and mobile workforce, many of whom have worked abroad at some point. This, he said, will stand to us.

 

“A lot of US and Asian companies are coming to Ireland, and they assume that international experience is here due to the mobility of the Irish in general and the influx of European talent,” he said. “With the exception of London, we have probably got one of the best mixes of international experience.”

 

There are some roles for which international experience will not just give you a leg up — you simply won’t be considered without it. Farrelly said his company deals with a lot of international accountant roles, for example; for these, experience abroad is a non-negotiable prerequisite.

 

Janis Heather, recruitment manager at KPMG, said that while it’s not essential for candidates to have lived or worked abroad to work, it is looked on favourably. “International experience can broaden a candidate’s skill set. If they are in a professional services role abroad, they get to work with international clients while navigating the different jurisdictions they operate in. They also tend to be more easily adaptable to different cultures and environments.”

 

Rather than waiting for applicants with the right overseas experience, some companies take their strongest applicants and provide them with that experience. The Jameson international graduate programme, run by parent company Pernod Ricard, is a good example.

 

The global drinks giant wants its new hires to have international experience. After three years, graduates from its international programme could be dispatched to any corner of the globe.

 

There are currently 75 graduates dotted across 42 countries as part of this programme. The company’s biggest market is the US, so there are 10 graduates based there, but the rest are scattered around the world. “This programme is for people who want to build an international career,” said programme manager Sinéad D’Arcy.

 

According to Farrelly, the value of international experience will only increase in the coming years, particularly post-Brexit. “More and more, Ireland is becoming a global economy, so international skills and languages are important,” he said. “Also, after Brexit, we will need more international skills and skills in business development. Exporters and financial service companies will demand these skill sets.”

 

He said the many multinationals that have set up global and EMEA headquarters here already pay a premium for international experience. “We get a lot of queries from international employers as to whether Ireland really has access to a global talent pool,” said Farrelly.

 

Heather said KPMG’s clients seek people with this experience. “With many of our clients operating in international markets, it’s increasingly important for our people to have a global mindset,” he said. “Ireland is a hub for many EMEA headquarters, and with that comes a requirement to be culturally flexible.”

 

Those who gain their experience in a non English-speaking country can reap even bigger benefits. D’Arcy said language skills — often acquired in university but only honed living abroad — are highly valued by employers.

 

“Graduates don’t always realise what a selling point languages are with employers, especially a global brand like us.”

 

Of Pernod Ricard’s employees, 70% speak at least one non-native language. Whatever about how much you learn about your job while away, you pick up plenty in the way of soft skills.

 

D’Arcy said Pernod Ricard places an equal premium on its graduates’ personal development as their professional development. “They learn a lot of competencies when they move abroad,” she said. “Employers look for graduates who have persistence and are self-starters.”

 

International experience is rarely a negative. “A company that is only looking at the Irish market might not put a premium on it,” said Farrelly. “For example, if you are applying for a job as a sales person selling into the Munster market and you have been abroad for six years, your competitors will have contacts you don’t have. Having said that, some employers will pay a premium if you have experience in opening up international sales channels.”

Posted by Recruitment Consultant, Sigmar on 1 December 2017

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