Can working abroad boost women’s careers?

4 Aug

There’s a lot to be said for working abroad: it shows you’re up for a challenge, that you can tackle new experiences head on, you can learn a new language and culture, and you can make yourself more marketable with a bunch of new skills to bring back home.

Over half of the 400 women interviewed by Natwest International Personal Banking said their experience abroad had exceeded their expectations, and 83% believed their time overseas would help them climb the career ladder.

That’s not to say that working abroad isn’t beset with its own unique difficulties, as stereotyped attitudes in the workplace led to two-thirds of women surveyed saying they didn’t feel they were treated as equal to their male colleagues.

I rather like the ideas expressed in this post on Shelter Offshore – How women can have it all – a portable career could be the key – suggesting that, with Skype and the internet, it’s easier to work anywhere in the world – especially for women in the caring and creative professions.

Great idea. Now, where did I put the ad for that apartment in the Italian lakes…?


2 Responses to “Can working abroad boost women’s careers?”

  1. Karen Ramirez 05/08/2011 at 6:31 am #

    I firmly believe in the advantages of working abroad, and in taking time to learn the language! Our counterparts in Holland, Germany, Denmark, the nordic countries, etc put the British to shame with their language capabilities and will steal a march in the commercial environment. If you make an effort with the language, not only will you reduce potential costly misunderstandings, but and gain respect from international colleagues. Your experience will be on a whole different level, from introductions to potentially important contacts to where you are taken for dinner!

    In addition, many countries have different work ethics, culture and ways of approaching business which are important to understand in global working environments. My own experiences cover working in Latin America and Eastern Europe – and my advice to anyone looking to expand to an international role is to go and spend some time working abroad. Not only will it give you an edge for future career advancement, but what you get out of it – both personally and professionally – will be so much richer as a result!

  2. womaneer 07/08/2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Agreed. I worked abroad in Italy very early in my career. While it wasn’t the most progressive environment for a woman, I learned so much about the intricacies of business done in a different culture. Plus, the language skills are something that always come in useful, and show a breadth of cultural experience that you wouldn’t otherwise have on your CV.
    I also agree that the British are put to shame with our lazy attitude to language learning, expecting everyone else to speak English.

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