42% Fail in Overseas Assignments


As many as two in five managers fail in their overseas assignments, according to a survey released by Right Management. A worldwide average of only 58% of international postings were judged to be successful by their organizations, with little variation across regions.

“This has to be one of the most disappointing findings of our survey,” said Bram Lowsky, Group Executive Vice President Americas at Right Management. “Given the investments being made in bringing along a new generation of leaders and their growing need to be able to think and operate globally, for 42% to fail when they’re sent abroad is hard to fathom. It’s also worth noting that the failure rate is more or less a constant whether it’s Asian, European or North American managers.”

The survey also found disparities in the preparation given expatriates before an assignment, said Lowsky.

Expat Prep

“A global average of 25% of organizations provides language training. However, the average drops to 18% for North American employers, while it’s closer to 33% among European, African and the Middle Eastern companies. Even harder to believe, an average of 16% of companies globally give minimal to no preparation at all, and for North American employers it’s 22% that do virtually nothing. No wonder so many managers don’t perform well outside their home country.”

We know readers of this blog are more savvy than that! There are enough challenges changing jobs within an organization, let alone the additional challenges when transferring to an unfamiliar culture. Smart organizations don’t just invest in training the person going on the international assignment; they invest in building strong relationships among the whole team—domestically and internationally. Learn how Cultural Detective Online can benefit your team by attending one of our free webinars. Or give us a call—we’d be happy to assist you in getting your team subscribed to Cultural Detective Online today!

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