HR professionals often ask us how – and whether – they can work overseas. Indeed, we regularly place many HR professionals into international posts.
However, it’s not as easy to work in a different country if you’re in HR as it is in some disciplines. Read on to find out what you can do and whether you’d be suited to it.
Local employment laws – obviously integral to the work of any HR function – vary greatly by country. In many locations, employers therefore prefer people with local experience. You’ll need to be aware of this from the outset. HR is simply not as fluid as other professions, where skills and knowledge are more adaptable.
If you know you want to relocate abroad, joining a multi-national organisation is the best way to achieve this. These companies are very globally aware and will generally do everything in their power to retain their best employees, including offering overseas relocations.
You should remember that if you work overseas, you’ll be away from family and friends in an unfamiliar place and you won’t necessarily have access to things you’ve taken for granted. You may have to sacrifice your favourite comfort food and you’ll probably have to contend with TV programmes in a foreign language. And simple things you take for granted back home, such as opening a bank account or paying an electricity bill, can be a challenge. Add to this the fact that you may not know many people and it could be quite tough. You have to want to make it work!
At the same time, some Middle-Eastern and Asian-based companies are looking to tap into the UK HR jobs market. So make sure you speak to your recruiter regularly to find out about the latest opportunities available.
A recruiter can help you move overseas by giving you advice on the global jobs market and can tell you how easy it is for you to find a job overseas. He or she will know which countries the opportunities exist in, what jobs are available, how realistic it is that you will find a job abroad and what skills you need to develop.
If you know you want to relocate abroad, joining a multi-national organisation is the best way to achieve this.
Working overseas shows strong adaptability and cultural awareness skills and also demonstrates a broad legislative knowledge. Something to bear in mind is that international experience is particularly relevant to multi-national companies. UK-based employers may not see it as such an advantage.
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