Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Archive for the ‘Overseas Careers’ Category

Vault’ s Careers Blog is Moving

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An announcement: after almost a year on WordPress, we’re discontinuing Vault’s Careers Blog on WordPress. But don’t worry: you’ll still be able to get your fill of career information and advice on Vault.com–where our blogs are going from strength to strength.

Our full blog lineup on Vault.com is as follows:

Vault’s Careers Blog
Vault’s Law Blog
Consult THIS: Consulting Careers, News and Views
In Good Company: Vault’s CSR blog
In the Black: Vault’s Finance Careers Blog
Admit One: Vault’s MBA, Law School and College Blog
Insider Career Advice from SixFigureStart
Innovate with Influence: Global High Tech

Thanks for reading us on WordPress.

We hope to see you over on Vault.com soon!

–The Vault Editorial Team

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The Job Market Stays Flat: This Week in Employment

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Employment-related news hasn’t been difficult to come by this week; the fevered speculation over the August jobs report made sure of that. As it turned out, the report was neither as good or as bad as feared: a loss of 54,000 jobs overall was offset by the fact that the private sector increased hiring by 67,000. And, with the overall rate climbing only slightly to 9.6 percent, the abiding concern now seems to be stagnation. Or to put it another way: employers aren’t laying off anymore, but they don’t seem to be hiring either.

That reality is reflected not only by the flat response to Vault’s job seeker sentiment poll, but also in the postings on the Employment Tracker this week. Sure, there’s news of a major restructuring at JAL—with the airline cutting 16,000 jobs–but that event stands out precisely because it’s no longer the norm.

A look at the hiring news on the tracker seems to confirm the thesis that hiring is stuck too. While there are some fifteen reports of firms seeking to add employees, collectively they will add less than 15,000 jobs to the economy—and that doesn’t factor in the fact that many of the positions are in international markets, or that the biggest U.S.-based announcement came from the government, which is seeking 1,700 cybersecurity pros.

If that isn’t indication enough of the kind of difficulty the economy is seeing, check out the following chart from The New York Times’ Economix blog. It compares this recession to previous ones in terms of percentage of jobs lost (left axis) over the duration of the recession (bottom axis). As you can see from the chart, we’re definitely in unfamiliar territory—and bottoming out to boot.

NY Times chart of job change vs previous recession

With all of that in mind, perhaps the most telling story of the week—and certainly the most unusual—has nothing to do with unemployment figures or projections of where the economy might go next. Rather, it’s the slightly absurd news that the Irish agency tasked with job promotion was forced to lay off staff as part of the government’s efforts to balance its budget.

All told, then: lots of talk about the unemployment number, but very little action.

–Phil Stott, Vault.com

Tips for Dealing with the World Cup at Work

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Got any soccer fans in your office? Are you doing business or looking for a job internationally? Then you might want to pay attention to the following piece of information: the soccer World Cup starts next week. While that might not be of much interest to many in the U.S., it’s a really big deal just about everywhere else on the planet: so big, in fact, that more people are expected to watch it than the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

official world cup 2010 logo
So what’s that got to do with doing business or finding a job? A few things, actually, which are summarized as points to bear in mind below:

Check the schedule

Imagine if your team made it to the Super Bowl, and they held it in the middle of the day on a Thursday. Even if you went to work, you’d want to follow that game, right? That’s essentially the scenario desk-bound fans around the world face between June 11 and July 11 this year. The tournament is being held in South Africa, which poses obvious logistical challenges for fans not on the same continent. And—at least in the early stages—games take place seven days a week, meaning your overseas contacts may well be surreptitiously (or openly) watching the big game at what might seem like a ridiculous hour.

So before calling a client in Brazil or a potential job lead in England you probably want to check to see if their team (or a major contender for the title) is playing. Because even if you get them on the phone, or into a meeting, you probably won’t have their full attention. View the official Fifa schedule.

Be prepared to wait for things

It’s an established fact by now that productivity dips during major sporting events that coincide with office hours. Whether it’s March Madness, the opening rounds of a major golf tournament or a Grand Slam tennis event, people who follow the sport will likely have one eye—if not both of them—on the events. So that email you need an answer to might not get dealt with as urgently as you’re used to. The good news? Soccer is usually a quick affair: 90 minutes for the game, plus a half-time break. Even games that drag on to extra time and penalty shootout eliminations only last two and a half hours.

Follow the results

Sure, it might not be your favorite game, but there are a couple of good reasons to follow the results: first, the U.S. is participating. And, second, it never hurts to be able to congratulate or commiserate with a contact from elsewhere as their team progresses or gets eliminated. Which leads us to:

If you can’t beat them, join them

Especially if you’ll be spending time abroad during the World Cup. It’s going to be everywhere, so you may as well accept the reality. Who knows? You might even like it: there has to be some reason it’s the world favorite game, right?

Oh…and while you’re at it:

Call it “football”

At least when you’re talking to someone outside the US. That’s how it’s known almost everywhere else, and even if they know you call it “soccer,” they’ll appreciate the gesture.


The Week’s Best Hiring News–Week of May 17, 2010

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What with the stock market plummeting on worries about the European economy, it hasn’t been the best of weeks for those of us willing the job market back to life. Leaving aside the potential for an economic backslide leading to a stall in hiring or—worse—the economy shedding jobs once again, there were still some fairly positive stories this week:


The Week’s Best Hiring News: Week of May 3, 2010

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In terms of hiring news, the best was kept until last this week: Friday saw the announcement that the economy added 290,000 jobs in April. Unfortunately, that was accompanied by a rise in the official unemployment rate—it went up from 9.7 percent to 9.9 percent—as more people actively began searching for work again.

That wasn’t the only good news this week, however. In fact, aside from concerns over the fate of various European economies and their potential for weighing down a recovery, most of the news that emerged this week was remarkably positive. As you’ll see below:

This Week’s Best Hiring News–Week of April 26, 2010

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It’s been another reasonably positive week on the jobs front: openings galore, not too much in the way of layoff-related news, and then this morning’s announcement that the economy grew 3.2 percent in the first quarter of the year. Little wonder, then, that there has been a steady stream of positive hiring news, with many companies announcing not just the intention to hire, but multi-year plans built around serious expansion efforts. Hopefully there’s much more of this sort of thing to come.

The End of Business Travel as We Know It?

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Business Traveler

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes


“Here’s the short version: EndoStim was inspired by Cuban and Indian immigrants to America and funded by St. Louis venture capitalists. Its prototype is being manufactured in Uruguay, with the help of Israeli engineers and constant feedback from doctors in India and Chile. Oh, and the C.E.O. is a South African, who was educated at the Sorbonne, but lives in Missouri and California, and his head office is basically a BlackBerry.”

–Thomas L. Friedman, writing in the New York Times recently about the new model for start-ups in a flat, post-recession world.

It might not be business as your parents or grandparents would have known it, but there’s little doubt that we’re witnessing a paradigm shift in business culture around the world right now—with particular focus on doing business remotely. That’s an issue that’s been gaining traction with the growing concern over sustainable business practices, and one that has been brought into sharp focus of late first by the recession, and most acutely by the paralysis we’re witnessing in Europe because of the emissions from a lone volcano in Iceland.

A recent USA Today article examined the issue of business travel and found that reductions brought about thanks to cost-cutting during the recession may have had a permanent effect on business culture. “There’s a shift, a new way of doing things that I don’t think will go away,” was how Megan Costello, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, put it in the piece. In other words: in finding ways to cut costs, companies may have irreversibly changed their ways. How does that old saw about necessity and invention go again?

In this case, the “invention” isn’t really that new: necessity has simply meant that more companies are willing to adopt an already existing technology: videoconferencing. The evidence: “The Association of Corporate Travel Executives says the percentage of its members who were ‘seriously looking’ into using videoconferencing rose from 21% in 2007 to 81% in 2009.” Perhaps, then, that old saw should read “necessity is the mother of finally waking up to the possibilities around you.”

As the excerpt at the start of this piece demonstrates, we’re living in a world in which information flows faster than humans can physically keep up with it. Geographic location is no longer a barrier to productivity or expertise, a fact underlined by the chaos caused by Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland—there is hardly a country in the world that has been unaffected by the flight ban necessitated by the volcano.

As that particular crisis wears on in Europe, plenty of businesses are feeling the effects—most notably those connected to the airline industry. There are signs, however, that companies are not standing still while they wait for the clouds—both literal and metaphorical—to pass, and it’s videconferencing that’s leading the charge. A Cisco executive, for example, offers the following “anecdotal” evidence of an upturn in demand in services prompted by the ash cloud: “you will not get a demo room in any of the Cisco facilities […] [w]e have seen a huge spike in usage.”

Of course, executives at companies that provide videoconferencing services have a pretty large stake in promoting the service, but it’s difficult to argue with the perception that companies who are forced by crisis to find new ways to do business will continue to utilize those methods even after the crisis passes. And, as the world grows ever flatter and more interconnected, those methods represent opportunity—and even if company isn’t taking advantage of them, your competitors will be.

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