Recruiters without Borders as Hiring Goes Global ; Tally on Employability of Graduates Sketches an International Profile

By Schuetze, Christopher F | International Herald Tribune, October 28, 2013 | Go to article overview

Recruiters without Borders as Hiring Goes Global ; Tally on Employability of Graduates Sketches an International Profile


Schuetze, Christopher F, International Herald Tribune


A survey suggests that institutions that focus on providing graduates with broad skills are winning more recognition, irrespective of their country or region.

In an increasingly globalized employment market, Laura Altamirano Sainz's story could sound routine.

After studying at the Xalapa campus of the Anahuac University, in Mexico, Ms. Altamirano, 23, a computer science graduate, traveled to Germany last year to take an internship with the automaker BMW. Once there, she realized just how fertile Munich's job market was for software engineers, so she decided to stay on and continue her studies in Germany.

Her search for a university master's program quickly brought her to the Technical University of Munich. A once-traditional German technical college, T.U.M. has in recent years developed into a global player that, as part of that development, now offers many courses in English.

The school "is really well known," said Ms. Altamirano. "When you have this in your curriculum vitae, they really take this into account," she added, referring to potential employers.

According to a recent survey of university graduate employability, Ms. Altamirano could scarcely have made a better choice.

The third annual Global Employability Survey, designed and commissioned by the French education consulting firm Emerging and carried out by the German market research firm Trendence, asked recruiters and senior international executives to profile an ideal university graduate -- and the ideal university producing such graduates.

Analyzing the responses, the Emerging/Trendence survey, published Oct. 28, ranked 150 top universities according to the employability of their graduates. Ms. Altamirano's choice -- the Munich technical school -- ranked number 11, up from 50th place a year earlier, a rise that Emerging says may point to a changing mind-set among recruiters.

"Recruiters are more and more acting and thinking globally," said Laurent Dupasquier, associate director of Emerging. Multinational companies are increasingly widening their recruitment pool, he said: Although the ranking's top 20, led by Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge, still reads like most conventional academic listings, institutions that focus on providing graduates with a broad skill set are winning more recognition, irrespective of their country or region.

"It's a complete globalization of the system," said Mr. Dupasquier: not only are more recruiters looking across borders for hires, but national recruiters are increasingly looking for the same thing in graduates: work experience and practical know-how, social and communication skills, motivation and willingness to learn, rather than narrowly focused academic qualifications.

Still, even if recruiters are looking at a wider pool, the survey suggests that past experience with graduates of specific universities remains an important determinant in hiring. Overall, 21.8 percent of recruiters surveyed said that the university attended by an applicant was the main criterion for selection, while another 45.1 percent cited it as an important factor. That compared with 33.1 percent who said they focused on the candidate's skills and experience.

Recruiters in France and Brazil were most likely to consider the university in hiring decisions, with only 17.6 percent of recruiters saying it was not a major factor. In Mexico and the Netherlands, in contrast, nearly half -- 49.6 percent in Mexico and 48.5 percent in the Netherlands -- focused on other factors.

More significantly, nearly two-thirds of the recruiters said they regularly used university lists provided by their company as a reference point for hiring.

The survey initially tallied online responses from more than 2,700 recruiters in 20 countries to build a profile of the ideal graduate employee. …

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