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The 5 Talent Challenges for Overseas Managers

As we mark the halfway point for 2019, it is a good chance for us to recap what has transpired in our industry since our 2019 Forecast back in January and look at possibilities for the rest of the year. The overseas contracting space is a vast ocean of opportunities for highly skilled, experienced management professionals. After all, being able to function at a high level under challenging circumstances in a multicultural environment is a rare competency that most “domestic” managers never have the chance to master. So it should be like “fish in a barrel” for us top-performing industry professionals to find top jobs. But, even more so than in the domestic market, our industry has its challenges:

  1. Limited by our network (fishbowl) - Most job opportunities come via our networks as people we know move around to new companies. This is a great, tested tactic that gives high quality leads, but this is limited by only exposing ourselves to a fraction of a fraction of the opportunities. Meanwhile, we are missing the rest of the ocean. Quality but certainly not quantity. And we need both.   
  2. Busy staying afloat - We are busy. Really busy…doing our jobs out on the project. Our heads are down, and we are clocking the equivalent of two jobs worth of work every week. Who has time to keep a finger on the industry pulse? No one wants to be seen slinging resumés and fishing on job boards. The ocean is big, but it is not that big. Word travels fast, and who knows who is looking over our shoulder while our heads are down? Risky, and no time.    
  3. Overseas is a funny place - Things out here on the project work differently than back home. Same goes for the job search. Compensation norms are different. Hiring timelines are longer. Decision makers are dispersed. Certainty is hard to find. Traditional job search techniques don’t work when you are out on a project.   
  4. No place to seek bluer waters - Even with the churn and the mercenary nature of the contracting industry, there is no place for high quality talent to go. LinkedIn is saturated, job boards are focused on domestic work, and company career sites are a black hole. How does talent find opportunity, and how do companies find talent?  
  5. Fishing from the same pond - For corporate recruiters based back in the HQ, it is a challenge to find new talent. Posting job advertisements brings in the same resumes (normally, those not working). Candidate databases all have the same names. And it is the fish who are not feeding (the passive talent who are currently on projects) who a recruiter is seeking to find.        

How do you get out of this fishbowl and really leverage the valuable experience that you have accumulated? How do you get exposed to the Business Development folks as much as the HR people? Who are the Key Personnel being submitted in proposals today for tomorrow’s work?    

Overseas project insight is not something you can buy or find through traditional talent acquisition channels. Finding a guide in the overseas job search can be helpful to know where the fish are biting, the right bait to use, and where they will be biting next. Get out of your fishbowl!