The are many factors that are needed for someone to reach the C-suite.
For Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in Asia, international work experience is a very important factor.
Working overseas has become an important and positive experience for their careers, according to a large percentage of Asia’s CIOs.
In a recent report, published by the recruitment firm Hays, majority of the 307 CIOs surveyed, felt that overseas experience was beneficial in a number of ways, including skills, exposure, and building of senior management attributes.
The findings revealed that, of the 44 percent of CIOs with overseas experience, most of time was spent in North America (49 percent). Other countries where overseas experience was accumulated include: 30 percent in Europe, 19 percent in Australia and New Zealand, 13 percent in Great Britain, and 5 percent in the Middle East and Africa.
The overseas experience was longer than two years for 60 percent of Asian CIOs who worked abroad.
Of the people with overseas experience, a great majority (70 percent) felt their careers benefited considerably because of their experience. Only an extremely small percentage (3 percent) said that the experience was of little or no benefit.
The trend for CIOs desiring overseas experience is not waning. Currently, 38 percent of CIOs interviewed for the survey are considering opportunities for experiences outside of Asia. Again, North America is the most preferred working spot for the highest percentage of CIOs (42 percent), with Europe as the second most desirable (26 percent). Clearly, Asia’s CIOs look at worldwide experience as an important facet of their resumes.
Of those looking for opportunities outside Asia, 50 percent look at the time in other countries as an important step for career development. However, there were other reasons why Asia’s CIOs want overseas experience.
- Over one third looked favorably at the opportunities available in international markets.
- 34 percent wanted the varied work-life balance available.
- 26 percent wanted to experience a more multi-dimensional CIO experience not available in Asia.
Asian employers, while appreciating the reasons for CIOs looking to other areas of the world to enhance their experience, are becoming worried that they will lose many talented IT professionals. The feeling among Asian businesses and employment recruiters, is concern that exposure to different cultures, practices, and cutting edge technology in advanced worldwide markets, will cause “a brain drain at the most senior level.”
Those professionals who do return from overseas experiences, are considered extremely valuable assets to Asian employers, due to their global experience and broader set of soft skills (communication, innovation, and ease of adaptation).