Philippe Michecoppin: "A good offer includes a package that supports the candidate during the move"

  • Philippe Michecoppin, Head of Candidate International Mobility at the Adecco Group
Published 4 months ago
Philippe Michecoppin comes from France but is a globetrotter at heart. After having lived in Spain, Italy and Greece, he settled in Switzerland in 2005. Philippe has been with the Adecco Group for the past 21 years. In 2011, he took the lead of the Candidate International Mobility programme. Since then, his mission has been to restructure and enhance the international recruitment services offered by the Adecco Group to its clients, candidates and associates.


The Adecco Group, in partnership with INSEAD, has released the 2015-16 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI). What are the highlights of this study?

This Index has been measuring the global talent competitiveness of over 100 countries since 2013. Countries are ranked according to their ability to grow, attract and retain talent. Many factors such as the regulatory landscape, external and internal openness, education, lifestyle or lifelong learning have been taken into account. GTCI 2015-16 focuses on 'Talent Attraction and International Mobility'. Citing the concrete example of talent champion countries, the index demonstrates that mobility is key to fostering networks, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and ultimately, developing talent. European countries dominate the current GTCI rankings, with 16 in the top 25. Switzerland ranks first, followed by Singapore and Luxembourg - the same results as the previous year. The United Kingdom, the Nordic countries and the USA all make it to the top 10.

When it comes to the ability of countries, and indeed companies, to attract the best talent, the GTCI underlines the importance of professional management practices, including investment in training and talent development, promoting lifelong learning, innovation, mobility and diversity.

How does the Adecco Group support its clients' needs with regards to international mobility?

The Adecco Group is a global organization with a presence in over 60 countries and territories. We have a worldwide reach and a broad range of services coupled with the ability to respond to local needs, thanks to our expertise in these labor markets. In 2011, we launched the Candidate International Mobility programme leveraging our expertise and international network to develop client-focused solutions in terms of international mobility and recruitment.

Today, we collate requests coming from the local divisions looking for international candidates. Our recruitment consultants then search their local databases in our main source countries to find profiles that match the specific requests. Candidates are then contacted by the nearest branch in the source country and invited to a preliminary interview. If the candidate is successful, he/she will continue the process of selection until the final transfer to the host country.

The recruitment process includes specific value-added tasks: for instance, we make sure the candidates have all the information they need to understand and successfully fulfill their mission abroad. We support them through the VISA application process and provide them with intensive language or specific technical training. We welcome the candidates in the host country and remain at their side should they need assistance during their stay abroad.

How is the International mobility market performing?

From the Adecco Group's perspective, we have seen market growth for the last two to three years. In 2015, we placed 4,265 candidates - an increase of 38% compared to 2014.

Engineers, technical and IT people are the most sought after profiles as a result of global development in these sectors and a worldwide shortage. We also receive many requests for highly skilled positions in finance. Due to the aging population, the healthcare sector is also developing, creating opportunities for professionals such as nurses and doctors. Skilled trade workers such as plumbers or electricians are also in high demand.

The countries that are attracting the largest number of candidates in our business are Germany, the Nordic European Countries and the United Arab Emirates. Germany has been one of the most dynamic countries in terms of recruitment, with more than 900 contracts signed followed by the Middle East. Asia is also a dynamic area. The UK and the USA are great sources of talent looking for temporary assignments overseas.

As a consequence of the fall in the price of oil and commodities, Canada and Norway, which recruited over 300 people last year, have reduced their demand this year. The United Arab Emirates are less impacted by the crisis, as their economy is becoming more and more diversified.

Hospitality is another good business for the Adecco Group, though most of our divisions deal with local profiles. For example, last year, we placed 20 chefs from Eastern Europe in top class restaurants in Norway.

For the past five years, Poland has been the number one country for internationally mobile candidates. Poland provides highly qualified people who are greatly appreciated by employers.

Furthermore, the UK , France and the USA, which are not considered to be typical countries for emigration, have also experienced a shift. Candidates residing in these countries are being wooed by many foreign organizations. Over 500 British candidates found a job abroad through our Candidate International Mobility programme, mainly in the IT and engineering sectors. France ranks third, as professionals working in the health sector are renowned for their high quality skills.

What risks are inherent to accepting a job abroad? How to mitigate them?

From a candidate standpoint, the main question to consider is: "Am I choosing the right country?" Both in terms of job opportunity and lifestyle. Our premium candidates know that an international experience will boost their career and are thus keen to accept exciting work opportunities abroad. However, sometimes they do not consider the other aspects of expatriation. The local culture and customs will transform their daily routine and they have to be prepared for that. The cost of living, taxation or simply language barriers must be taken into account.

We make sure we address all these issues upstream. All candidates receive detailed information on their destination before they take off. Our campus in Krakow welcomes candidates from Eastern Europe, who spend up to 6 months in intensive language or technical training. We make sure they upgrade their cultural and technical knowledge, so that they meet high expectations locally and can smoothly integrate. In host countries, our bilingual full-time or part-time consultants welcome newcomers and ensure they make the best possible start. We aim to make them feel at home and help them to adapt to their new environment.

What are the best practices in terms of offshore recruitment?

We recommend that our clients are advised by experts in international recruitment, to ensure that they are aware of the regulatory, economic, cultural or social aspects of international mobility. Such experts can advise on where to focus the search for candidates based on these aspects in both the source and host countries.

We also recommend our customers get involved in the recruitment process. We invite every client recruiter to conduct interviews with us, through skype or even onsite whenever possible. With an international candidate, the fit within a client's organization is more important. We need to be sure that we reduce any cultural risks that could compromise the candidate's integration. Before signing a contract, we advise companies to host candidates in the work location for a few days, so that they experience the environment and meet their colleagues.

During the contract negotiation phase, making a good offer including a package that supports the candidate during the move, is always key to attracting talents. But a number of additional elements should be taken into account. An attractive offer could also include, for instance, temporary accommodation during relocation, help in finding a home, medical or accident insurance and the reimbursement of trips back to their home countries. The company providing these additional advantages will make the difference.

It is also crucial to test the real motivation of the candidate. During the recruitment process, we systematically check the candidate's experience abroad and if he or she has an international network, family or relatives abroad. Having or developing an international network sharply reduces the rate of failure. To reduce the potential 'isolation' factor, whenever possible we advise our clients to recruit candidates in pairs, so they can share the experience.

And some best practices when searching for a job abroad?

I advise candidates to start their international career as soon as they can. Young professionals will have fewer family responsibilities and will be more flexible at work. Secondly, they must extend their search to as many channels as they can. The ideal job can be found on websites, through talent hunters or via personal or professional networks.

When they find a good assignment, they have to visit the host country to experience life or ask a trusted friend or relative who has been there for advice.

When negotiating their contract, they should ensure it is clear and concise, and contains information such as gross and net salary or termination period. They will then have all the information they need to make the right decision.

1 Comment
2 months ago

Mr. Michecoppin. Thank you so much for the grey insight and advise. I, too am so interested in pursuing a career abroad. My field of study is Economics, Community Development and Banking. I would like your advise on a way forward to being recruited internationally. Thank you so much for this forum

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