by JoVon Sotak, FindtheRightSchool.com
You like what you do, but your job has become a little, well, blah. Or maybe you're just getting started in your career. Why not go international? If the idea of a new career overseas, or expanding your current career beyond U.S. borders, sounds appealing, read on to find out what sectors are hot in the international market--and which skills you need to go global.
Juan Morales, the managing director for Stanton Chase International's Miami office (Stanton Chase builds management teams for companies throughout the world), says that several sectors are making a comeback, even sectors like finance, where the outlook has until recently been "dismal." "Overall, globally, consumer products, financial services, and life sciences are where we're seeing growth. The logistics and transportation sector is starting to come back. A lot of that has to do with industrialization in other countries and the movement of goods. Technology is also making a come back in terms of growth," says Morales.
Professionals in the know agree that China is hot. ABC News recently reported that China's economy is now the world's second largest and is growing at a rate of 9.3 percent, compared with economic growth of 3.8 percent in the United States. Morales says sectors to watch in China include luxury consumer products and financial services. There is also demand for top-level sales people who can speak Chinese.
Duncan McCampbell, of McCampbell Global in Minneapolis, a business consultancy that helps American businesses find overseas growth opportunities, notes that a rapidly growing middle class in China is fueling the leisure industries. More-esoteric professionals, such as museum curators and travel agents, are also in demand, as are commercial property managers.
According to Morales, these places and industries are also worthy of your attention:
The Czech Republic is showing growth and is in need of senior management to take on leadership roles and manage growing companies.
The financial-services and consumer-products markets in Dubai are growing.
Africa, particularly Lagos and Johannesburg, have industrial- and consumer-product industry growth, in addition to banking.
Consumer-products and financial sectors in Australia are also growing.
The economy in Brazil is "dynamic" and is experiencing growth in just about every sector including finance, operations, sales, and human resources.
Working in another country raises the issues of language. America has been considered almost chronically monolingual, but that may be shifting. According to an April 2010 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, a lot more people are speaking a language other than English at home. That number has more than doubled in the past 30 years--and is rising at a pace four times faster than the nation's population growth.
Though English has been and continues to be the international language of business, professionals working in other countries frequently need to be able to communicate with coworkers and with customers. Lynne Sarikas, executive director of the MBA Career Center at Northeastern University in Boston, said that language competency can be a challenge when helping MBA graduates find international employment. "When there are students who have those language skills, they are in high demand," says Sarikas, who also noted that South America's job market is largely "untapped."
If you're considering an international job search, knowledge of language, as well as cultural customs, employment law, and visa requirements, can be crucial. According to Morales, "the little nuances of culture can make or break [an individual's] success in that environment. The world doesn't revolve around the U.S. any more. Cultural sensitivity is something people need to be aware of if they want to be successful in their careers in global or international kinds of roles."
If you need to take a little time to prepare for an international move, and your current company doesn't have any international offices, keep your eyes on jobs with companies that do. Sarikas recommends that her school's MBA graduates work in a company's U.S. office before going abroad, so that they can learn the company culture and make some internal contacts. Also, try to get on a project team so that you can get international exposure and build up your experience, recommends Morales. If you're not ready to strike now when these countries' sectors are hot, you can be ready when sectors in other countries come around.