THE VALUE OF INTERCULTURAL SKILLS IN THE WORKPLACE

The modern workplace is increasingly globalised and competitive. Communicating with customers, colleagues and partners across international borders is now an everyday occurrence for many workers around the world. Consequently, employers are under strong pressure to find employees who are not only technically proficient, but also culturally astute and able to thrive in a global work environment.

A study conducted by British Council, Booz Allen Hamilton and IPSOS Public affairs shows that there is real business value in employing staff who have the ability to work effectively with individuals and organisations from cultural backgrounds different from their own.
ABOUT THE RESEARCH:
As a result of global economic realities, which are driving continuous change in the workplace, employers’ needs and expectations are constantly shifting. This means that employers increasingly look for job candidates with skills that go beyond the traditionally defined technical skills and knowledge necessary for a given role.
While formal qualifications and traditional skills remain important, employers say that they are looking for candidates who can navigate a workplace that transcends national and cultural borders, particularly for positions that require interaction with individuals and organisations from nationalities and cultural backgrounds different from their own. 
What is perhaps less understood – and the impetus for this research – is the question of why employers value these skills. Which specific skills are they seeking? What do employers define as intercultural skills? What is the business benefit of having employees with intercultural skills, and what are the risks of not having them? Which skills are most valued? How are these skills weighed against the necessary technical skills and formal qualifications? 
To answer these questions, and to better understand how intercultural skills are considered, assessed and developed in the modern workplace, the BritishCouncil, Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs conducted a survey of HR managers at 367 large employers in nine countries: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Jordan, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US).
BY THE BRITISH COUNCIL

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