International Recruitment

Door Bas van de Haterd op 21-09-2009 09:44.

digitalnativeNot to long ago the world had three centre’s of knowledge: Europa, America and Japan. Only there could you find decent universities. That’s where the knowledge was. I met a man recently who went to Malaysia arround 1970. He said: it was England’s plantation. Nothing more. Now Kuala Lumpur is a thriving capital with high rises all round.

The west and Japan lost it’s monopoly on knowledge. In 2008 the university of Hong Kong was ranked 26 and that of Singapore 30 in the best universities arround the world. In total there are 5 universities from China or Hong Kon, 2 from South Korea and 2 from Singapore in the Top 100 of the Times Higer Education. And we’ve even seen some decline already, since the university of Being was once top 20 and the Indian institute of technology has dropped out of the top 100 and was once top 50 (in 2004).

This worldwide spread of knowledge had several implications, also for recruitment.

Speed of change

The speed of change is much faster. That’s not more the logical, since more brains are working on a problem and although they compete, they also help each others, whether they want to or not. Isaac Asimov said it best when he said: there is a single light of science, to brighten is anywhere is to brighten is everywhere.

Because the progress in science is so fast, it’s no longer possible to be an expert in a field. Field experts are generalists, the true experts are in a certain are of a field or even a sub set of the area. Hiring the right knowledge will become more important, but also more difficult. A recruiter really got to know his or her stuff when it comes to the actual work.

Another factor is that companies will need different sub sets of knowledge during different fases of the process. The question is: will you still want these people on the payroll? What is the benefit (cost) to have them work for you and what are the downsides (less expertise, long time costs) for hiring someone on your payroll?

International labour pool

A second implication is that the labour pool for top talent has become much more international. Intel for years now has been hiring top talent from around the world to work at their plants in the US. Last week someone told me maybe 20% of those workers are American. Not because of lower labor costs, they are not hiring cheap Mexicans, but because of the knowledge of those workers.

Intel insources the talent. Another organization I know outsources the offices. A large gaming organization chooses it’s new locations world wide in a large part on the local talent pool and development of that pool. The chief talent officer has a place on the table whenever new locations are discussed.

Local culture

Of course you cannot just outsource every job internationally. The law is something local, so a laywer from the US would loose every case in the Netherlands. Just like accountants. Knowling local culture is important too, so marketing will be locally oriƫnted for a while. Although Ikea proofs me wrong on that one for some time now.


The globalisation of labor and labor markets is something almost every company should be at least looking at. What talent is there? Were is it? How can I get it into my organization? Do I need to hire them? Can I outcourse or insource? Or maybe I should crowdsource something.

The before mentioned gaming organization gives away a lot of tools, so players can build their own levels, monsters, etc. Next to this being free labor (some of the stuff is as good as the paid designers make it), it’s a great recruitment tool (you know what someone can do) and it’s a perfect research tool (where is the talent in the world). A fantastic example of crowdsourcing.

We’re only at the beginning of this trend. Universities in Eastern Europe are not yet at the level of top universities in the world. Africa and South America are totally undiscovered territory in the field. The global talentpool is growing. What’s the impact going to be on your organization?

Over de Auteur

Bas van de Haterd Bas van de Haterd is professioneel bemoeial en expert op het gebied van technologie en werk. Hij schreef o.a. de boeken '10 banen die verdwijnen & 10 banen die verschijnen", "de maatschappelijke impact van de zelfrijdende auto" en "(R)evolutie van werk". Hij schrijft over recruitment in de brede zin van het woord en hoe dit beter kan door technologie slim in te zetten. Hij adviseert hier bedrijven over en geeft over dit onderwerp ook regelmatig inspirerende lezingen. Hij is te bereiken op

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