Staffing (or finding, choosing and placing) good employees is difficult even at home. However, it becomes more difficult in other countries. For example, until recently in Russia, very few Russians had resumes available to give to prospective employers with vacant positions. Consequently, recruiting is often done only by word of mouth. Only recently have more sophisticated methods—such as structured interviews, testing or work samples—been used on a limited basis. More systematic selection is becoming necessary in Russia and many of the former Soviet-bloc countries as younger, more highly educated candidates are being needed by international firms.

Deciding on the mix of local employees, employees from the home country, and even people from third countries that will best meet organizational goals is a challenge. In staffing an overseas operation, cost is a major factor to be considered. The cost of establishing a manager or professional in another country can run as high as $1 million for a three-year job assignment. The actual costs for placing a key manager outside the United States often are twice the manager’s annual salary. For instance, if the manager is going to Japan, the costs may be even higher when housing costs, schooling subsidies, and tax equalization payment are calculated. Further, if a manager or professional executive quits an international assignment prematurely or insists on a transfer home, associated costs can equal or exceed the annual salary. “Failure” rates for managers sent to other countries run as high as 45%.

Factors that are most likely to be causes of concern for an employee sent overseas are shown in Figure. The figure shows that only roughly two-thirds to three-fourths of employees sent to another country are satisfied with the way the top five support needs are being met.

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