Local Job Openings Poorly Promoted Overseas : Global survey by international employment agency Robert Half reveals that Australian companies are falling behind in recruiting employees from overseas

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Australian companies are poor in promoting local job openings overseas and are losing out to their Asian counterparts in the race to entice international candidates to take up overseas jobs, according to a 17 country global survey conducted by international employment agency Robert Half.

Countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong are attractive destinations due to the appeal of securing regional roles, largely due to these countries hosting regional hubs as well as lower taxes and attractive bonus packages.

The Robert Half 2008 Global Workplace survey found that less than a quarter (23%) of Australian companies actively recruited employees from overseas. In comparison, neighbours Hong Kong and Singapore are beating Australia to it, with more than 50 per cent of companies actively recruiting globally.

Asia (49%) and the UK (38%) were the two main regions targeted by Australian companies that actively recruited internationally. This was followed by New Zealand and Western Europe on par at 21%.

The results show that Australian companies are not capitalising on the opportunities global recruitment brings, particularly in light of Australia's current skills shortage extending from skilled tradespeople to processionals in the accounting and financial services area, says David Jones, Robert Half Managing Director Asia Pacific.

"While there is a realisation within Corporate Australia that internal job fulfilment must come from beyond our borders, the results show that we have not bridged this gap as yet in attracting the world's best by promoting our economic outlook and high liveability conditions," he said.

"Countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong are attractive destinations due to the appeal of securing regional roles, largely due to these countries hosting regional hubs as well as lower taxes and attractive bonus packages."

"That said, we have an excellent window of opportunity to attract people now given the economic slowdown in the UK and the US. Our research shows us that potential employees are looking to move to Australia and take advantage of its buoyant economy," he said.

For those Australian companies not actively recruiting from overseas, lack of local knowledge of local legalities (19%), lack of local industry network (18%) and difficulty in obtaining work visas (12%) were cited as the main reasons for not actively looking overseas.

"Overall, there seems to be reluctance on the part of corporate Australia to incorporate cross border opportunities into their recruitment practices, despite their global economic outlooks," said Jones. "Our findings show that an opportunity exists for greater collaboration between businesses and government in working to overcome these issues."

There are a number of strategies that companies can easily adopt in extending their recruitment practices overseas, said Jones. Internally, these could include encouraging staff to inquire about overseas transfers with their direct reports, via global intranet sites and company noticeboards. Externally, it could be broadening hiring programs to tap into international media, keeping up to speed with visa requirements and changes to programs, thinking outside of obvious locations such as the UK and the US as well as collaborating with Government funded programs.

According to the survey, Australian companies reported using online job boards (40%), industry associations (37%) and their own websites (27%) as the three main vehicles for attracting international candidates. Globally online job boards (39%) and internal transfers (22%) were the most popular mechanism to attract foreign talent.

"Clearly online channels allow businesses to broadcast job opportunities much more cost effectively and quickly. To reflect the trend to use digital mediums to seek and promote job opportunities, Robert Half set up a website last November to help finance and accounting professionals seek information on employment opportunities around the world. Since the site went live, Robert Half has had some 11,274 visits to the Australian section, and this is growing steadily by 12 per cent each month," said Mr Jones.

The website, called Finance Jobs Abroad, features 14 destinations and numerous online jobs can be viewed at http://www.financejobsabroad.com

Additional key findings:

Australian companies listed international experience (48%) and an inability to find candidates with suitable skills locally (47%) as the two main reasons for actively seeking international candidates. Exposure to emerging trends in foreign countries (25%) and ability to adapt to new cultures (19%) were also cited as reasons for looking overseas The UK was on par with Australia in actively recruiting from overseas More than half of New Zealand companies (54%) surveyed cited Australia as one their main targets Globally, Western Europe (37%) was most popular for companies to source employees, followed by Asia (33%) and Eastern Europe (33%) Sponsoring industry or tourism events (12%) was least cited as vehicles to attract overseas candidates by Australian companies A total of 4516 HR and Financial respondents were surveyed from 17 countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. There were 402 respondents from Australia. Out of this total 50% had less than 50 employees, 22% had between 51-200 employees and the rest between 200-1000.

About Robert Half

Robert Half International Inc. (RHI) pioneered specialised staffing services and today is the world's leader in the field. Founded in 1948, the company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol:RHI) and operates four separate divisions in Australia, each serving distinct markets. They include: Robert Half Finance & Accounting, for temporary and permanent finance and accounting personnel; Robert Half Financial Services Group, for high-calibre finance and banking professionals; Robert Half Management Resources, for specialised interim financial professionals and OfficeTeam, for highly skilled temporary administrative support. There are more than 360 Robert Half International locations in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and South America.


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Finance Jobs abroad


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Pia De Lima
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