Job-hopping the key to a ‘razor sharp global career’

Businesses must be flexible and provide alternative career paths for their employees in order to survive the current skills drought.

Professor Maddy Janssens from Katholeke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium spoke candidly in Melbourne this week about the steps employees should take to achieve a global career. Her opinions are based on her research across the visualisation, pharmaceutical and vision technology sectors in Europe.

“Start by observing and interpreting the particular career script being offered to you by your existing employer. A career script is everything a company does in terms of international human resources and career planning.”

“Once you have interpreted what drives your career in your existing organisation, the second step is to set your career expectations,” Janssens said in a statement.

Professor Janssens warned that if there is a mismatch between a company’s career script and the aspirations of the employee to work internationally, it could be time for employees to look elsewhere.

“In some instances, the compensatory actions involve changing companies. If your aspiration of defining global strategy is not met, you might need to leave your current employer to search for an environment that gives you strategic power. For many managers – that I researched – that meant searching for a job in headquarters as this often is the centre of decision making.

“Our research showed that companies do not yet offer a career script that fits with the global aspirations of individuals who want to work in the global economy,” she said.

With a skills drought affecting the IT industry in Canberra, the news could be seen as another blow for CIOs already grappling with staffing issues. Savvy CIOs, however, are increasingly looking at strategies to identify and retain talented staff.

Allan Davis, CIO of the Asia-Pacific region of material handling systems company Damatic, said stronger IT management will prevent staff from becoming restless.

“The idea of job hopping to achieve career goals is just a misnomer. It’s driven by people who are unhappy with where they are and think the grass is greener on the other side. It’s up to managers or leaders to ensure that they don’t get to that stage,” Davis told CIO.

Davis said while job-hopping may be an option for larger companies to look at, the size of his team prevents it and Damatic looks to cross-promotion instead.

“We have a small team so there isn’t a lot of opportunity for career progression per se. Up until two months ago, I hadn’t had anyone leave the company in five years.

“We try to get staff more involved in the business and we’ve had people move from one side of the business to another. When I was working in the service sector, I hired one guy in the lab and he is now the general manager of the sales division. If I see anybody in IT who is looking a bit stale, I look at their interest profile and personality and sit down and tell them of opportunities match those criteria and give them a chance to have a break from IT,” Davis said.

Davis conceeded retaining staff is a challenging aspect of the role of CIO but said this can be managed.

“The challenge for the CIO is how to make the job intersting and keep them skilled. One thing we focus on here is basically customer service and understanding the business. I don’t believe an IT group can deliver solutions until they know how the businesss works,” he said.

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