More than 100,000 parent transnational corporations (TNCs) and nearly 900,000 foreign affiliates are estimated to exist around the world (UNCTAD, 2011). In 2013, these TNCs and affiliates globally accounted for more than $34.5 trillion in sales and $7.7 trillion in exports (UNCTAD, 2014a). Additionally, there were over 8,600 cross-border mergers and acquisitions and nearly 14,000 greenfield projects resulting from foreign direct investment across a wide range of industries (UNCTAD, 2014b, 2014c). As a result, organizations are conducting an increasing proportion of their operations in a global context, resulting in increased pressure to address global recruitment needs (Phillips, Gully, McCarthy, Castellano & Kim, 2014). Because the implementation of global strategies can be constrained by global talent shortages (Collings, Scullion & Dowling, 2009), TNCs must attend to global recruitment and selection practices to ensure a sufficient supply of quality talent is available (Tahvanainen, Welch & Worm, 2005).
Millar and Salt (2006) highlight a number of factors that have increased demand for new forms of international mobility, including the need for skilled expatriates to help build new international markets (Findlay, Li, Jowett & Skeldon, 1996) and temporary and short-term access to specialized talent to assist the execution of overseas projects (Mrnbaeva & Michailova, 2004; Hocking, Brown & Harzing, 2004). Dickmann and Doherty (2010) also note that organizations use international assignments to fill skills gaps, launch new initiatives, transfer technology or knowledge, establish managerial control, build culture and create expertise.
Manpower’s 2012 Talent Shortage Survey of 40,000 employers in 41 countries found that 34% of employers globally experience difficulties filling job openings (Manpower, 2012). Demographic trends have created labour supply declines in some countries, a worldwide shortage of globally competent managerial talent and an increasing recognition that acquiring sufficient quantities of successful talent for key organizational roles now and in the future requires a global perspective and strategy (Farndale, Scullion & Sparrow, 2010; Scullion & Collings, 2011; Scullion, Collings & Caligiuri, 2010). These challenges have increased interest in better understanding the global acquisition and management of talent (Bjorkman & Lervik, 2007; Boudreau & Ramstad, 2007; Taylor, 2005).
As summarized by Sparrow (2007), global recruiting includes a variety of fragmented groups, including permanent global managers (Suutari, 2003); contract expatriates (Baruch & Altman, 2002); assignees on short- or intermediate-term foreign postings (Mayerhofer, Hartmann & Herbert, 2004; Morley & Heraty, 2004); international commuters (Economist, 2006; Shaffer, Kraimer, Chen & Bolino, 2012); employees on long-term business trips (Mayerhofer, Hartmann, Michelitsch-Riedl & Kollinger, 2004); international transferees who move from one subsidiary to another (Millar & Salt, 2006); global expatriate managers who return to their host country (Thite, Srinivasan, Harvey & Valk, 2009); virtual international employees assigned to cross-border project teams (Janssens & Brett, 2006); skilled individuals working in geographically remote centres of excellence serving global operations (Sparrow, 2005); self-initiated movers who live in a third country but are willing to work for a multinational (Tharenou, 2013); host country nationals
Figure 3.1 Factors influencing global recruitment effectiveness.
wanting to work for global multinational organizations (Froese, Vo & Garrett, 2010); and immigrants attracted to a national labour market (Millar & Salt, 2006). Some of the attributes that distinguish these different forms of global recruitment include global assignment stability and length, migration direction and the assignment’s initiator. Although length limitations prevent us from addressing the full range of global workers, we discuss those most used by multinational organizations and researched in the global recruiting literature. Nonetheless, it is important to note that recruitment research is scarce on a number of the aforementioned types of global assignments not covered in this chapter. Figure 3.1 illustrates the primary factors influencing global recruitment effectiveness.