An annual survey by iLogos Research, now in its sixth year, reveals that in 2003, 94% of the Global 500 maintains a corporate careers website. The near total adoption of corporate website recruiting by the Global 500 group of companies indicates that the Internet is the global medium companies are using to communicate with candidates. But are staffing functions and infrastructure of global corporations aligned to meet the challenges of recruiting in a global medium? Regional Parity in the Global 500 iLogos’s “Global 500 Website Recruiting, 2003 Survey” finds an emerging parity between geographic regions in the prevalence of careers website recruiting, with only two percentage points separating Europe from Asia-Pacific and North America. The gap in Careers website adoption seen in previous years between North American and European Global 500 companies has narrowed, with only two percentage points separating those two regions. Remarkably, adoption of a careers website by Global 500 companies in the Asia-Pacific region is on par with the adoption rate for North American Global 500 companies. The Mobility of Labor The acceleration in the past two decades of regional and intra-regional economic integration has had a profound impact on the global flow of human capital. The most extensive regional economic integration has been in Europe, where the European Union has been a zone of free movement for EU nationals since 1998. Increasing industrialization in Southeast Asia also has lead to rising levels of migration of skilled talent. Trends in labor migration show an increased mobility in the global workforce. Approximately 175 million persons currently reside in a country other than where they were born, which is about three percent of world population, and double the number since 1970*. iLogos Research has discovered that the number of candidates applying to a position located outside of their country of residence is as high as an amazing 49% in the case of one Global 500 company. Other Global 500 corporations show that the phenomenon is sensitive to industry and the company’s recruitment marketing efforts. The flow of talent is occurring primarily within a regional context, but is increasingly becoming intra-regional and truly global. Increasing Visibility of Hiring Demand Corporate careers website recruiting fosters the conditions for a global workforce. The Internet is the accepted medium in which to attract new talent. In contrast to traditional print media, the Internet attracts candidates without geographical implications or limitations. As I wrote about in my article, The Ubiquity of Skills Demand, the corporate careers website allows a global company to publicize its human capital needs to the broadest audience possible. The visibility to jobs around the world will be an additional stimulus for labor migration. The Need for a Global Database The global workforce is becoming more mobile, as migration legislation and policies change and as economic globalization becomes entrenched. Global corporations must ensure that staffing infrastructure stays ahead of the curve. A global workforce calls for a global candidate database. Since all positions in a global corporation are equally accessible through the careers website to candidates in any country, a candidate should be able to apply to one position in Europe and one position in North America using the same saved candidate profile. That is to say, the Careers website should be integrated with a robust backend, where every candidate has a unique record. It is too cumbersome for the candidate to create multiple candidate profiles in multiple regional databases. For the corporation, there is a risk of losing the candidate altogether. Candidates want the convenience of a single profile for use across the corporation. The wholesale structure of a staffing system ought to be based on what is best for the candidate and best for a scalable, repeatable process, not what is most convenient from an IT point of view. Careers site technology should facilitate interaction with candidates in the smoothest, most streamlined way. To accomplish this, the careers site technology must be based on a configurable platform to be able to localize properly for the candidate in his or her particular location. Staffing is a Global, Continuous Process Staffing is becoming a global, real-time process. The lack of a global candidate database hampers a global staffing function unnecessarily. Separate databases create artificial barriers to the smooth flow of talent between locations or regions: internal mobility opportunities are missed; accurate reports are difficult to generate and thrown off by duplicate candidate records. Even more critically, it is impossible for a recruiter to know when another region is making an offer to the same candidate. A North American-based corporation with multiple locations would not consider separate candidate databases in each of its locations. A centralized database works best in any multi-location situation, no matter what the scale, for candidate sharing, process consistency, coordination of recruiting efforts, and reporting. Global corporations have a global presence and a global employment brand. To use a global employment brand to best effect, a global staffing function needs a global candidate database.
*International Migration Report, 2002. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. New York, 2002.