International secondments - The best way to fast track your career

International secondments - The best way to fast track your career
Published: 11 August 2017

International experience is increasingly becoming something employers look for on a senior leader’s CV. Clearly business is becoming increasingly globalised, but why should you consider an international secondment?  

  • It’s a vote of confidence in your ability.  Businesses only select employees with the capability, leadership skills and emotional intelligence to handle international assignments.  
  • Working in different countries broadens your horizons.  You face challenges that you just won’t encounter in the UK. In developing countries Government instability, cultural, regulation (or lack of), operational challenges are all on the cards.  In developed countries situations may be less extreme but will still pose their own challenges. Ability to adapt to uncertain situations is a characteristic essential in a leader, and this will be clearly demonstrated when you’ve successfully carried out an international assignment. 
  • First hand understanding of international operations provides you with a more balanced view when running international operations from the UK.  
  • It’s usually a quick way to gain full P&L responsibility, allowing you to fast track your experience commercially, strategically, operationally, legally, technically and managerially.  You are thrown in at the deep end; its sink or swim.  
  • These assignments are great profile raisers.  You are likely to be sent to a territory requiring a turnaround or growth initiative; ergo it is likely to be on the radar of the Board. 
  • There are often lots of quick wins to be made from restructuring, cost reductions, new products etc. all great achievements to include on your CV.
  • The strength of relationships you build with your peers when you are living as an ex pat will be far stronger than those built in the UK.  This is the network that’s on the same progression path as you and could help you climb the career ladder in the future. 

These are just a few of the reasons to consider an international move, but perhaps the most important is that it most people tell me that it was one of the best experiences of their lives. 

I’ve never interviewed anyone who has regretted an international move.

Amy Parkinson is a Consultant in the Financial Leadership practice at Berwick Partners

Categories: Finance Recruitment

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