Magazin Inter-Consulta
international employees, inter consulta GmbH

The advantage of international employees

The world is getting smaller (not necessarily, but definitely easier to travel!) and people are no longer staying within the country that is printed on their passport. This is great news for employers. Why? Well, whilst trying to navigate (avoid!) the global political minefield that is immigration, there are numerous reasons why having an employee who is not native to your country is advantageous …

Filling roles for which there are shortages

It is widely known that within Germany, as in much of the developed world, there is a ‘Fachkräftemangel’ – a lack of skilled employees in certain sectors. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Social Care e.g. Carers
  • Medicine e.g. GPs
  • Manual Labourers e.g. Electricians
  • STEM/MINT e.g. Technical Sales, Engineers

According to the Instituts der Deutschen Wirtschaft in Köln (IW), two out of three jobs where you need a technical background are difficult or even impossible to fill. By 2040 it is expected that there will be lack of 3.3 million professionals. It is obvious then that ‘home-grown talent’ will not fill this deficit and that other sources need to be found to overcome this issue. This is where international employees help.

It is simple maths, you are increasing the potential talent pool meaning the chance of finding somebody who has the skills needed will be higher, decreasing the likelihood of not being able to fill your position. Simple. This does not mean that you are still not unable to look within your own country but by making your process and company open to further resources, you will only aid your chance of finding an individual who benefits your business.

Language and foreign knowledge

According to a Study by GfKfor the Sprachkursanbieters Wall Street English(WSE) only 2% of employees feel they are secure enough in their English skills to use it confidently at work. Of course, this varies when you look at the different age groups. For example, 54% participants aged between 20-29 consider their English to be excellent. This is still not enough in the workforce, as only 13% of participants feel they are able to confidently communicate with customers and partners.

The increase in international workers bridges this language gap. Not only do they speak their native language but usually also speak English (if this isn’t the native language) and the language of the country they are moving to. Of course, this advantage is not limited to English, with the rise of the Chinese and Latin American markets, other languages which are not widely taught in German schools will be brought into the workplace.

Even if your employee has learnt a language to a high-level, there are often cultural differences which are not transferred by just learning. For example, knowing how to send an email to a partner in England without coming off too rude (a problem many Germans have as their style is considered too ‘abrupt’) or understanding the use of first names (even for your boss!) will improve the relationship with international customers and partners putting your business above those who do not have this skill.

New customers and markets

Non-native employees have a greater linguistic and cultural knowledge, but they also know the patterns of perception, habits and tastes of their compatriots. This perspective makes it easier for you to open new markets and customer groups. This is particularly important in sales positions where new ideas can make a business stand out from competitors and break into new markets that have not yet been explored. The blending of ideas and perspectives from various cultures is the best possible recipe for creativity and innovation that can take your company to new heights.

Furthermore, news is spreading faster than ever today. Your employees as well as your customers – especially those from abroad – will talk about the international orientation of your company in their private and professional networks meaning the company will gain notoriety beyond its borders.

Rich workplace culture

Not only does an international workforce and international employees lead to more creativity and productivity in the workplace, but it also helps to build a rich and more fulfilling workplace culture for all employees. The sharing of different global perspectives and ideas benefits both native and non-native employees alike and can lead to better employee morale as well as a positive reputation for your company’s culture, which in turn can lead to better talent coming to work for you.

This can be as simple as celebrating different holidays or embracing different foods which your employees have not yet discovered. On a professional level, job seekers are drawn to companies with diverse workforces because it is evident that the companies do not practice employment discrimination. Potential employees want to know that employers treat their staff fairly, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. Not only are such firms able to attract new talent but they can also retain existing talent.

There are numerous reasons why having an international employee (not even just international, maybe even just from a different part of Germany!) is advantageous. By being open to new possibilities, you may just find a new path that was not available before.

Titelbild: Danke an rawpixel auf Pixabay


Nina Palmer

Juli 2019
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