The Commisceo Global Blog - Perfect for Culture Vultures

Whether a press release, a case study of cultural difference, some tips on working abroad or some lessons in cross-communication, we try our best to satiate your inner culture vulture.

The Expat Checklist

Research and Markets has announced the addition of “The Expat Checklist” to their offering.

The Expat Checklist is a practical and simple guide to items that should be considered in an expatriate agreement, including hints on developing a successful expatriate agreement.

"Kudos to the Expat Checklist! This checklist was really the only thing I found on the web that discussed all the upfront issues and gotcha's to watch out for in negotiating my expat contract. This definitely helped me to think of a few things I would've forgotten until it was too late. It was very helpful!" - Expatriate in Geneva

The Expat Checklist is based upon the experience of the author - a sales and marketing executive with an International MBA. It includes input from other expatriates, and most importantly benefits from the mistakes the author and others made during various expatriate agreement negotiations. The author's own expatriate experience was ultimately successful, despite an acquisition by a competitor and resulting lay-offs during the assignment. His expatriate agreement was the key to that successful experience.

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UK court permits slaughter of "sacred" cow



Shambo, a sacred bull kept by a group of Hindus in Wales who has tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, can be slaughtered, a London court ruled on Monday, overturning last week's block on his death sentence.

The Shambo saga began earlier this month when the Welsh regional government ordered that the six-year-old animal, the temple bull at the Skanda Vale community in Llanpumsaint, Carmarthen, be put to death on health grounds.

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France allows family members to work during an expatriate assignment

France is the latest country to allow family members of skilled international staff to work during an assignment. The changes, which apply to intra-group transfers and a new category for `competences and talents', were part of the 2006 Immigration and Integration Law, implemented in May 2007.

The change is applauded by Permits Foundation, which promotes open work permits for the spouses and partners of international staff worldwide.

Read more: France 
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L'Oreal ads found to be racist



L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics firm, says its business is a "celebration of diversity" and its famous slogan is "Because you're worth it."  But is the company referring to White women only?

A French civil appeals court apparently saw it that way and found the cosmetic giant guilty of racial discrimination because it ruled out all but White women to promote its shampoo.

Read more: L'Oreal 
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Bid to ban 'racist' Tintin book


tintin racist book


The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is calling on high street books to pull a Tintin adventure from its shelves over claims it is racist.

Complaints about Tintin in the Congo have led to Borders and Waterstones moving it to their adult section. A spokeswoman said the book contained "words of hideous racial prejudice, where the 'savage natives' look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles". Borders said they are committed to let their "customers make the choice".

Read more: Tintin 
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Language and Cultural background holding foreign-born workers back

“When you're looking at skills and technical professions there's a good body there of commonality,” said Tom Ryan, who's in charge of Communitech's recruitment strategy. “What we also find is culture shock. We find culture shock and language as a two-part killer.”

Not always, according to Herbert Hess, president of Hess Associates, which provides a placement service for people looking for work in the IT sector. Hess said that while language and culture shock can be a problem for some immigrants looking for work, people from countries such as India are used to working 10 to 14 hours a day - the kind of work ethic employers are looking for. “They've got language skills, communication skills and are very well educated. They don't seem to have a problem in terms of fitting in.”

Hess said he's seeing more Middle Eastern people looking for work nowadays compared to previous years, when Russian and Asian workers dominated the field.

Read more: Hess 
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Communication holds key to M&As

As companies conduct cross-border courtships and inter-marry , the one glue needed to hold all the pieces together seems to be missing. Language and communication skills seem to be the one major casualty of the technical education pursued by most managers and coveted by most employers. However successful an organisation, the lack of proper language skills can derail the most audacious merger or turn the most breath-taking innovation into an ordinary process shift.

That’s probably why Astra-Zeneca , Boeing and Citigroup have all hired well-known poet David Whyte to figure out how to conduct conversations within their organisations.

Read more: Whyte 
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Chinese Translations of Ballot Papers a Tricky Proposition

Boston's 2008 presidential primary ballot could read like a bad Chinese menu. There might be "Sticky Rice" in column A, "Virtue Soup" in column B and, in column C, "Upset Stomach."

Those could be choices facing some voters if the names of Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Hillary Rodham Clinton were converted into Chinese characters, according to Massachusetts' top election official.

Read more: Ballots 
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Chinese Translations of Ballot Papers a Tricky Proposition

Boston's 2008 presidential primary ballot could read like a bad Chinese menu. There might be "Sticky Rice" in column A, "Virtue Soup" in column B and, in column C, "Upset Stomach."

Those could be choices facing some voters if the names of Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Hillary Rodham Clinton were converted into Chinese characters, according to Massachusetts' top election official.

Read more: Ballots 
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Being British

"Being British is about driving a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, the travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows and a Japanese TV"
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UK Employers plan positive Diversity Recruitment

Employers in Britain are planning to more aggressively recruit gay, disabled, female and Asian workers in 2007 and 2008, a new poll reveals.

More than 215 hiring managers and 500 workers were surveyed for job site CareerBuilder.co.uk by Harris Interactive and 21 per cent said that they planned to enhance their recruitment process for women, 16 per cent for disabled workers, 13 per cent for Asian workers and gay/lesbian workers (eight per cent).

A quarter of employers polled (26 per cent) said that they planned to increase their staff numbers by more in the last six months of 2007 than the first, with nearly 49 per cent of bosses hiring more workers in the first half of the year.

Read more: Recruitment 
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Expatriate Life in Mexico

 

 

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BBC fails to meet Diversity Targets



Diversity experts have applauded the decision by BBC executives to forgo their bonuses collectively worth £350,000, after the broadcaster failed to meet its diversity targets.

The corporation set itself stringent targets in 2004 of increasing the percentage of black and minority ethnic staff to 12.5% and 7% at senior management level, to be met by 31 December 2007.

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Very un-Canadian Canadians!


Canada flag


Most Canadians know so little about their own country that they would flunk the basic test that new immigrants are required to take before becoming citizens, according to a poll released on Friday.

The Ipsos-Reid survey showed that 60 percent of Canadians would fail the test. A similar poll done in 1997 showed a failure rate of 45 percent.

"Canadians appear to be losing knowledge when it comes to the most basic questions about Canadian history, politics, culture and geography ... (they) performed abysmally on some questions," the firm said in a statement.

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Global Diversity Career Expos for 2007 & 2008

The upcoming Global Diversiy Career Expos for 2007 & 2008 have been announced. "In today's borderless workplaces and marketplaces and at the peak of the “global war for talent”, these exceptional global diversity career expos and multilingual job fairs take diversity recruiting beyond race, gender and all other aspects commonly mistaken for it [diversity], thus helping employers achieve optimal global capability and true inclusion through strategically acquired multilingual and multicultural workforce, whether operating locally or internationally" said Mohamed Ly, MultiLingualPros.com Executive Director. "These events respond to an increasingly vital need for organizations of all sizes to effectively combine global capabilities with strategically developed local resources in order to succeed in an era of borderless marketplaces".

These events also offer seminar/conference components with focus on career development:

- affording powerful effective employer branding opportunities to diversity-committed and global organizations thru corporate presentations by company officials

- and lining up top diversity experts and employment/career coaches to share a wealth of information (strategic job search and career tips) for multilingual, multicultural and international candidates to become more competitive while fully leveraging their potentials to maximize their success in the workplace and contribution to society.

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High Translation costs for Multicultural N. Ireland

The impact of foreign immigrants on the translation costs for Northern Ireland's courts has been revealed today. The Court Service had to fork out almost £200,000 to hire 946 language interpreters during 2006, according to figures released by the Government.

The figures give one indication of the dramatic changes happening in the increasingly multi-cultural Northern Ireland as workers flood in from far and wide, boosting what is a thriving economy. They reveal 936 translators were engaged to work in criminal court cases during 2006. The most often featured languages were:

1. Lithuanian 344.

2. Polish 209.

3. Russian 90.

4. Portuguese 63.

5. Mandarin 43.

Read more: Ulster Courts 

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Union publishes Safety Guide for Migrant Workers

The TUC has published an employers’ guide to help ensure the safety of migrant workers.

The document, Safety and Migrant Workers, warns employers that many migrant staff are more vulnerable than UK employees to illness, injuries or death at work due to a lack of safety training, non-existent or inadequate safety clothing and equipment, and poor English skills.

Problems with language and a poor understanding of the culture in British workplaces means that some ‘rogue employers’ are likely to be cutting corners and risking the health of their migrant workforce.

Read more: Safety and Migrant Workers 
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Monster Launches "Top Companies for Diversity"

Monster®, the leading global online careers and recruitment resource and flagship brand of Monster Worldwide, Inc.  today announced the Monster Top Companies for Diversity TM a comprehensive, employee-focused quantitative assessment methodology for evaluating a companys diversity and inclusion performance against a national standard. Monsters Top Companies for Diversity measures the perceptions of a companys employees regarding the employers performance on specific diversity factors across three broad categories: organizational commitment to diversity, fairness in compensation and culture of inclusion; results are then compared against an established national benchmark for analysis.

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Asian applicant takes Amec Utilities to tribunal for Racial Discrimination

An Asian man was turned down for a job at a top engineering firm, but then offered an interview when he re-applied posing as a British man with a double-barrelled name, a tribunal heard last week.

Qamar Malik said he was rejected by Amec Utilities only to be offered an interview two days later under the name of Mr R Lloyd-Hilbert. An employment tribunal in Cardiff was told the fictitious second candidate was a year older and was less qualified for the £30,000-a-year job than Malik.

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The Intercultural Football Plan



The Football Association of Ireland has recently launched what has been coined as an "Intercultural Football Plan" - the plan  is designed to examine how best, in the context of a more diverse society, the FAI can encourage increased participation in football among people from minority ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The plan also challenges and prevents the spread of ‘racism’ within the game and thus contributes towards a fully integrated and intercultural society.

Read more: FAI 
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