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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

International recruitment programmes

ncreasingly, employers of actuaries are working within a global business community. As such, one of the key challenges to international companies is how to recruit a global workforce that is married to the ideals of the organisation.
There is not a simple one-size-fits-all international recruitment model. A company looking to recruit a pool of international business managers that will be ‘parachuted’ into any country at short notice will have very different requirements and, therefore, follow a different process from those who recruit locally for each office around the globe.
The first step to find this international team is to conduct an in-depth study of the universal competencies required for the role, ie what does a brilliant global manager look like? This is not an easy process, as a great manager in São Paolo could be different from one in Paris. However, work needs to be done on what skills and competencies they all have in common.
Once this has been decided then the focus will change to more practical considerations, such as where should the organisation advertise to attract a high calibre of global applicants? What is the right language in which to conduct recruitment?
On the recruitment process, one fundamental issue to bear in mind when recruiting a number of candidates from different cultures who will have a global remit is to appoint an interview and assessment panel with an in-depth understanding of diversity. For example, if required to interview an American man, followed by a Chinese woman, and then a Spanish man, the cultural differences will be enormous.
This model is relatively expensive and more appropriate when an organisation is looking to move individuals across the globe. More commonly, organisations are looking to develop a global recruitment programme that will be used in each country to recruit staff who will remain in their country of origin.
However, there are two clear benefits of developing a central recruitment programme:
– It is generally more cost-effective for a global company to set up one recruitment process rather than a separate one in every region.
– It can help companies to clearly define the global standard of person required. For example, if an organisation’s structure is based on a series of global programmes then it will require a workforce that is comfortable being parachuted into new teams at short notice. This can be addressed by developing a set of global recruitment guidelines.
To be successful, organisations need to invest time in defining what the core values of the workforce will be. These should be directly linked to the company’s culture. A company needs to ask if it needs creative and innovative actuaries, commercially minded actuaries, or a mix of both to achieve its business aims.
Once this has been decided, the focus needs to switch to how the theoretical ideas are going to work practically in each country. What is the common language in the country and is it the most appropriate? Translations will then need to be arranged. As there is no global educational standard, time needs to be invested in understanding standards and qualifications globally.
A crucial factor in rolling out a successful global programme is ensuring that the central authority has regional buy-in. Consultation needs to take place with management teams allowing them to adapt and develop the process to suit their needs. By giving them ownership, it is much more likely to be put into practice.
Finally, the process needs to be continually reinforced by regular audits of the global programme in each country. The data also needs to be reviewed to check that it is working in all areas and if not, specific spots around the world should be isolated where the methodology is inappropriate.