Could I work abroad?

I
am an HR manager with six years’ experience and a good track record of
achievement. I have a hankering to go and work abroad for a couple of years,
although I’m not sure exactly where. All my experience has been in the UK so
I’m wondering how interested overseas employers are likely to be.

Margart
Malpas, joint managing director, Malpas Flexible Learning, writes:

Don’t
you know there’s a skills shortage in the UK? 
No seriously, the answer to your question is “very interested” providing
you can answer yes to the following questions: 
Do you have a strong people and development  background (as opposed to being a UK employment law specialist,
say)?  Are you culturally
sensitive?  Do you have good
relationship and communication skills and an interest in learning?  Do you speak at least one foreign
language?  Have you worked for an at
least moderately internationally known organisation?  Are you  sure you are not
running away from something at home – or at work?  If you answered no to any of these questions stay here and sort
it out first.

Linda
Aitken, consultant at Chiumento Consulting Group, writes:

Getting
a job overseas is going to demand tenacity if you have no contacts and do not
currently work for a multi-national organisation. If working outside the EU, it
may also be difficult to get a work permit. Most HR jobs require some
understanding of employment law and prospective employers may be nervous about
taking on someone who is not fully conversant with local legislation. If you
are serious about getting this sort of experience it might be worth taking a
longer-term view and joining a multi-national organisation in the UK. Many
companies are open to the prospect of moving employees around the organisation.
You mention that you have a good track record of achievement and this is going
to be necessary if you are to persuade an organisation to give you the
opportunity to work overseas. Usually such moves are part of a structured
career development plan and as such are often reserved for high potential
employees. Obviously if you are sponsored by an organisation it can also be
easier to get work permits etc if you need them.

It
is worth speaking directly to agencies that specialise in HR and overseas
recruitment, to find out what their views are on your employability and also on
which countries are likely to be most interested in your experience to date. If
you have some idea of where you would like to work it will also give you the
opportunity to find out more about the HR and legal environment, in preparation
for any job applications that you might make.

Vic
Daniels, director of Carr Lyons, writes:

You
need to go see a recruitment consultant who deals with overseas HR
appointments. I know that they are always looking for people to work in the US.
I would have thought that most of Europe now works to a fairly similar HR
regime, although there will obviously be variations here and there. Other than
that, keep a watching brief on the specialist and national press.

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