This article is part of a series in which Reverse Tide explores some of the most critical skills in today’s economy. While not every job necessarily requires such skills, these are some of the most in-demand generic skills found on job postings and employer wish lists. Whether you are looking to expand your career, make yourself more attractive to prospective employers, or learn some of the most topical skills, we will explain why we believe these are so important.
Imagine your typical large corporation these days. Pick any from the Fortune 500 and imagine the scope of their operations. Without being specific, I’d venture to guess they are interacting with people on every continent and across many languages. While they will certainly have specialists hired to deal with those specific localities, someone certainly has to interact with them.
Again, let’s avoid being specific since I don’t want to speculate on an individual company. However, this company you’re thinking of might have a global reach resembling the following:
- They sell their goods on every continent. This means shipping the goods to every country they sell in and interacting in that country’s markets. They have to understand the local culture/language in order to market, sell, distribute, and service customers in that region. They may have a local office but the strategy is likely to come from a headquarters location and will have to interact with that office.
- They may have to deal with local governments, regulators, and unions. Each market will have differing laws and customs associated with doing business there. For example, in a Western culture, bribery is considered unethical and illegal. However, in many markets it’s the only way to do business.
- Chances are they take advantage of global wage and cost arbitrage in some way. Some of the popular places for certain activities include China/Vietnam/Mexico for manufacturing. India’s populace are especially trained in IT development, testing, and support. Philippines has a lot of talent in process outsourcing and customer service.
- Chances are also high that they are interacting with certain markets based on their competitive advantages. To give a few examples, Japan and South Korea are often at the forefront of electronics. Financial services are strongest in London, New York, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
- Taxes are an important consideration for many large corporations, where location plays a large role in tax jurisdiction. As an example, many companies set up operations in places with low corporate tax rates like Ireland to save big money.
- The company’s external communication channels are optimized through translation to the world’s other major languages. This includes their website, social media pages, e-commerce platforms, external software offerings, physical packaging, print marketing, and press releases. Every time any one of these is changed in their native language, the same changes have to be made in any other language offered (thus a lot of knowledge and coordination required). In addition to literal translation, ensuring awareness of cultural norms is extremely important (which many companies have made mistakes on in the past!)
- Today’s economy is so globally inter-connected that every major company needs to pay attention to macroeconomic factors that may influence their business. The sudden drop in oil prices has impacted so many companies. The debt crisis in Europe, economic concerns in China, instability in Ukraine, and much more are all required considerations of major businesses. Even if you don’t sell directly in some of these markets, it still requires close attention.
We hope to make it clear with this list just how important international skills are. While not every job requires global expertise, by having international experience to draw upon you will open yourself up as a more attractive candidate to a lot of positions or even uniquely qualify yourself for others. One way or another, you’re likely to need some global awareness and education as you’d have to live in a real bubble not to encounter some global exposure at some stage of your career. If you work in a smaller business or own your own, you will likely see your business opportunities expand at the same rate as your international expertise.
Reverse Tide wants to help you expand your international knowledge. We arrange our international business series by major country and also provide an international business career guide. Here they are:
USA – International Business
European Union – International Business
China – International Business
Japan – International Business
UK – International Business
India – International Business
The International Business Career Guide
*** Work with us directly on your international skills and resume!!! Reverse Tide has launched its own personalized career & education services. We want to work with YOU to build the best international skills and give you the best chance at the jobs of your choice. We offer tons of services where we interact and work with you directly! For more information on what we offer, check out Reverse Tide Personalized Career Services