The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

Chinese managers are better than Western counterparts

Western managers are falling behind their Chinese counterparts in education and training, research has warned.

China has the fastest growing global economy and - according to a study by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) - also boasts a highly ambitious, sophisticated and commercially astute management population that poses a challenge to managers and businesses in the West.

The Global Management Challenge, which surveyed 327 managers in the UK, US, France and China, reveals that Chinese managers are underestimated by their Western counterparts and are launching a serious challenge to established Western business and management practices.

Read more > Chinese Managers 
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Hiring intentions slowing

 Some of the strongest hiring intentions recorded are in Singapore, India, Peru and Romania, while China reported the weakest hiring outlook according to Manpower’s latest Employment Outlook Survey.

Thirty-two countries and territories expect positive hiring activity for the second quarter.  However, as the majority of the predictions are weaker compared to the previous quarter, the general trend indicates a step back in hiring for many of the world’s largest economies, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Some of the strongest hiring intentions recorded are in Singapore, India, Peru and Romania.  These results reflect a high demand for talent in markets where foreign direct investment and labour mitigation are increasing.  China reported the weakest hiring outlook.

Read more > Expatica 
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Charity calls for business leaders to take up diversity challenge

A charity that campaigns to provide a "secure base for Britain's minority ethnic communities" has called for effective leadership to promote diversity, after a poll revealed that almost nine in 10 recent graduates have experienced some kind of discrimination at work.

The Ethnic Minority Foundation, called for leaders to be held accountable for discrimination which, it says is "ruining the life chances of young people".

It follows a survey of 200 graduates by recruitment site Milkround.com which found that 86% of had faced discrimination while working.

Race discrimination affected two in five respondents, with age discrimination affecting 14% and gender 12%. Other reasons for unfair treatment included sexual orientation and height.

One respondent said: "People like me coming from a different country or continent to study and then try to get a work placement here are very vulnerable, particularly if they are unfortunate enough to have employers or managers as ignorant as the one I [worked for]."

Read more > Diversity 
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Multilingual jobs website

Lingua-Jobs is proud to announce the official launch of Lingua-Jobs.com, an exciting new job portal dedicated to the entire spectrum of multilingual and bilingual job vacancies on a global level.

The new language job site aims to connect ethnically diverse language groups with employers committed to fostering a diverse workplace or simply having the need to recruit for language speakers.

As the European Union, the Internet and other globalizing forces create new and expanding business relationships throughout the world, Lingua-Jobs.com provides clients with access to talent not found at more generalized job boards. With this focused talent pool, we help our clients leverage the advantages of diversity, filling key positions and increasing the strength of their organizations.

Read more > Lingua-Jobs 
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The impact of expats in 2008

The impact of expats in 2008
Companies are aware that knowledge workers are key to the success of the Dutch economy and, focusing on this growing community, a new congress 'The Impact of Expats' aims to cover everything which companies in the Netherlands bringing knowledge workers into the country need to know.


ZuidasThe success of the Dutch economy is knowledge-based and Dutch business and industry know only too well that it is the presence of highly skilled workers in a city which increases its capacity for innovation and makes it attractive for new business.

Amsterdam, with its highly rated quality of life, cultural diversity and lively reputation is becoming increasingly popular with skilled internationals seeking to develop their careers abroad.

Read more> Expatica
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Migrants' safety getting lost in translation

Many employers are risking migrant workers' wellbeing by not providing adequate health and safety training warned the Institute of Occupational Health and safety (IOSH).

It said many non-English speaking migrant workers are especially at risk as H&S training is usually delivered in English. IOSH recently conducted a pilot study into how H&S training is delivered to migrant workers in the food processing sector.

Half of the 26 companies polled admitted their H&S training did not address how non-English speaking workers were informed, instructed or trained in H&S issues and practices.

"The evidence from the food and drink sector is that too many employers are taking risks with their migrant workers by not offering proper training in H&S issues," said IOSH policy and technical director Richard Jones."Within this sector only 42% of employers provide English lessons to staff."

Read more> Migrants 
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Recruiters have a key role to play in helping ethnic minorities into work

Following the publication of the National Audit Office’s report that showed there was still a significant gap between the employment rate for ethnic minorities and the general population, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation has again highlighted the need for more work to be done in this particular area.

The report stated that the employment rate is 60 per cent for the ethnic minority population compared to 74 per cent for the general population.

Read more > Diversity 
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Finding talent globally

The war for talent never ends. Middle managers in China? Good luck finding them, let alone keeping them. Assembly line workers in Central Europe? They're well-educated and hard-working: Trouble is, every company wants them. The cubicle warriors of Bangalore? They get the job done—if they stick around. I For corporations, managing this widely scattered, talented, restive, multicultural workforce has never been harder. This Special Report, written to coincide with the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, brings readers to the front lines of the struggle. It delves into IBM's (IBM) effort to rein- vent the way it gets tasks done around the world, follows a Nokia (NOK) manager as he recruits a workforce from scratch in Transylvania, meets a restless generation of IT workers in India, and hears from the corporate road warriors who never, ever stop traveling.

These and other stories make a simple but powerful point: The old way of managing across borders is fading fast. In the first half of the 20th century, the globalization of business was based on the British colonial model. Headquarters, functions, and capital were in one place, with managers dispatched to run regional operations like colonies. In the second half of the 1900s, companies adopted the multinational model, replicating their home country operations in other places where they did business. Country units rarely dealt with other divisions in other markets.

Today, global corporations are transforming themselves into "transnationals," moving work to the places with the talent to handle the job and the time to do it at the right cost.

Read more: transnationals 
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2008 top 10 trends in business training

2008 top 10 trends in business training

What are the top ten trends in training and human resource development that are expected to dominate in 2008?

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Home Office on course to meet diversity targets

Targets for the recruitment and retention of staff from minority ethnic communities are on course to be met across the core Home Office, a report published today revealed.

The eighth annual Race Employment Targets Report shows progress against the Home Office's 10-year race equality employment targets. The Border and Immigration Agency, Identity and Passport Service, the Forensic Science Service and the core Home Office areas all exceeded their aims.

The news comes just days after a new mentoring scheme aimed at preparing black and minority ethnic (BME) staff for leadership roles in the Civil Service has been put into action.

Read more > Home Office 
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BA "culture of hostility" against

A British Airways check-in clerk who was suspended for refusing to conceal a small crucifix on a necklace at her post at Heathrow Airport has accused her employers of having a "culture of hostility" to Christianity at an employment tribunal.

When Nadia Eweida was suspended, without pay, in September 2006, she claimed it was her human right to express her faith by having the crucifix on display. She returned to work this February after BA revised its uniform policy.

The case caused a storm and prompted criticism from then prime minister Tony Blair who told British Airways that its attempts to stop staff wearing the crucifix was a waste of energy.

Read more> British Airways 
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Cross Cultural Interviews

Cross Cultural Interviews


At this moment in time, the increase in cross border human traffic has meant that companies are no longer dealing with a homogenous native community from which they recruit their staff. Companies are now facing cross cultural challenges in how they recruit, manage and develop a multi-cultural staff. One area of note where HR and management are finding difficulties is in the interview room.

With companies recruiting from a pool of candidates from different nationalities, cultures and faiths the cross cultural interview is an area that must be analysed properly if recruiters wish to capitalize on the potential available to them. This is necessary to ensure that candidates in cross cultural interviews are not discriminated against through misperceptions and poor judgements.

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HR costs soaring in Dubai

Dubai has attracted many international companies and employees over recent years, as it bids to become a global economic superpower.

Managing the UAE's HR Environment, a report by Mercer HR Consulting, showed that average salaries for expatriate staff rose by 6% last year. Daily allowances rose by more than 20%, and multinationals now pay an average of about £240 a day for executive expats on short-term assignments in Dubai - one of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

These soaring costs are leading companies to be more creative with their HR practices, according to Markus Wiesner, head of Mercer's UAE operations.

Read more: Dubai 
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Muslims, Ramadan and the Workplace – a Guide for HR

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins next week. Millions of people from Morocco to Malaysia will fast everyday from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. Among these will be significant numbers of Muslims working in offices in Europe and North America where Ramadan slips past unnoticed. This lack of awareness can and does cause inconvenience, stress and unhappiness to practicing Muslims in the workplace. Commisceo Global, a leading cross cultural communication training provider, has released a free guide for employers with Muslim staff to help them better understand the month and what it means to Islam’s adherents.

Depending on the sighting of the moon, the Islamic world will once again begin their annual exercise in spiritual and physical cleansing through fasting and other religious exercises next week. In countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Indonesia where the majority of the population will be fasting, the social cycle changes to accommodate people’s needs. Work may start later due to people praying late into the night, it will certainly finish earlier to allow people to prepare for iftar (breaking of the fast) and the general pace of life drops down a couple of gears, especially for the important last 10 nights.

However, in Europe and North America the pace of life continues as normal. Although many Muslims will be going through the same rigours as people in Syria or Singapore, Ramadan can be that little bit tougher. This is mainly down to the lack of cultural awareness within businesses nowadays. Although people may know who a Muslim is they may not appreciate what a Muslim does. Unawareness of aspects of the religion such as food & drink, interaction between genders, moral obligations, prayers and holidays is widespread.

As a result there are always stories of Muslims being invited to business lunches, not being provided with time or space to break their fasts at sunset or expected to work on the Eid holiday following Ramadan.

“We know of Muslims working in organisations that had no idea what Ramadan was and what it entails. Stories include buffets being set up next to someone’s desk at work who was fasting, a manager insisting on a Muslim colleague attending a working lunch and adequate time not being given at the time to break the fast to drink and eat properly,” explains Commisceo's Managing Director, Neil Payne.

Respecting cultural diversity in the workplace is simply best practice. If staff feel that they are being taken care of and understood on a personal level, a business will experience greater retention, morale and ultimately productivity.

In order to provide businesses with access to timely cultural knowledge on Muslims, Islam and the month of Ramadan, Coomisceo have released a free downloadable file that offers employers a summary of the main issues. These include looking at what Ramadan is, what it means to Muslims, the impact it has on their daily lives for a month and how in turn this impacts their working lives.


“The future is culturally diverse and if we are all to have a successful future, then cultural awareness is critical,” adds Payne.

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NHS HR staff accused of ignoring racism and bullying of Asian doctors

eading figures have told Personnel Today how HR teams are allowing a minority of racist line managers to make working life tough for migrant medics.

Their comments come after a General Medical Council (GMC) report showed that doctors trained overseas were twice as likely to face formal disciplinary hearings once a complaint had been made as those who graduated in the UK.

Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, told Personnel Today: "There is no doubt that bullying of Asian doctors goes on.

"The small minority of racists in the NHS take complaints [about foreign doctors] to HR. HR needs better training in handling these issues."

Read more: Doctors 
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Global Teams - A Guide For Multinationals

For global corporations, the borderless world offers a glimpse of what's to come. International success once meant having bodies and factories on the ground from São Paulo to Silicon Valley to Shanghai. Coordinating their activities was a deliberately planned effort handled by headquarters.

The challenge now is to weld these vast, globally dispersed workforces into superfast, efficient organizations. Given the conflicting needs of multinational staff and the swiftly shifting nature of competition brought about by the Internet, that's an almost impossible task. And getting workers to collaborate instantly—not tomorrow or next week, but now—requires nothing less than a management revolution.

Complicating matters is the fact that the very idea of a company is shifting away from a single outfit with full-time employees and a recognizable hierarchy. It is something much more fluid, with a classic corporation at the center of an ever-shifting network of suppliers and outsourcers, some of whom only join the team for the duration of a single project.

To adapt, multinationals are hiring sociologists to unlock the secrets of teamwork among colleagues who have never met. They're arming staff with an arsenal of new tech tools to keep them perpetually connected. They include software that helps engineers co-develop 3D prototypes in virtual worlds and services that promote social networking and that track employees and outsiders who have the skills needed to nail a job. Corporations are investing lavishly in posh campuses, crafting leadership training centers, and offering thousands of online courses to develop pipelines of talent.

Read more: Global Teams 
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Diversity and equality workers want a professional association

Diversity practitioners are calling for a new professional association to help them to establish industry standards and define proper career paths, according to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

A report commissioned by the LSC, due to be published next week, has revealed that despite educational and vocational training, diversity experts feel they cannot carry out their jobs effectively as there is an "unstructured" mix of standards and guidance available to them, through 'on the job', formal and informal training.

Read more: Diversity 
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Culture still a major factor in expat failure

The Cartus Emerging Trends in Global Mobility: Policies & Practices Survey shows that an accelerated shift from long-term to short-term international relocation assignments is expected by the end of 2009. China's popularity as a destination is growing the fastest when compared with the U.S., Great Britain and India.

Cartus, a global mobility management and workforce development consultant, conducted the survey with 184 respondents from companies in 25 major industry segments. The organizations surveyed represent more than 83,000 assignees and have headquarters in 19 different nations.

Cartus also identified why these international assignments fail, regardless of being on a short-term basis. The top three reasons were family adjustment, at 71%; assignee personal style, at 48%; and cultural differences, at 40%.

This is easily remedied with intercultural and language training, which more companies are offering. The survey shows that intercultural training was offered by 55% of companies in 2007, versus the 28% offered in 2004. Meanwhile, 58% of companies offered language services for families, an increase from 30% in 2004.

Read more: Cartus 
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Recruiting, Retaining and Promoting Culturally Different Employees

Picture it: the CEO of a pharmaceutical company is brainstorming with his staff, and the idea of gift certificates is tossed around. One employee, an accountant and a recent immigrant from Romania, has never heard of a gift certificate, because although she’s fluent in English, gift certificates don’t exist in Romania. She asks, “What’s a gift certificate?” and everyone looks at her like it’s the stupidest question they’ve ever heard.

Unfortunately, this is a true story. It’s just one example cited in Recruiting, Retaining and Promoting Culturally Different Employees by Canadian cross-cultural specialists Don Rutherford and Lionel Laroche.

Although cross-cultural challenges exist in Canadian workplaces, entrepreneurs can employ tactics that help minimize the difficulties to ensure they retain and capitalize on the ideas and skills that culturally diverse employees bring.

Read more: Recruiting, Retaining and Promoting Culturally Different Employees
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Diversity given low priority despite legislation

UK employers are failing to address workplace diversity, despite the country's long standing equality legislation.

A survey conducted by online recruitment firm Monster, questioning 660 employers, found that six in 10 respondents did not have a diverse workforce or were unaware whether they did.

Four in 10 said diversity is a "big priority", while 36% said it was not at all, with 15% unsure.

One employer in 10 said was starting to think about it, but was not yet a reality.

Read more: Survey 
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