Employees with Intercultural Skills Provide Added Benefits in their Workplace

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Nearly two-thirds (60%) of employers globally say that intercultural skills, or the ability to work effectively with individuals and organizations from cultural backgrounds different from their own, are very important to their organization, according to a new Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted on behalf of the British Council and Booz Allen Hamilton.

This survey included employers working in public, private, and non-profit organizations in the US, Brazil, UK, South Africa, UAE, Jordan, India, China and Indonesia. Globally, employers primarily understand intercultural skills to be the ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints (44%); demonstrating respect for others (35%); and knowledge of a foreign language (28%).The survey found that employers recognize clear business to hiring candidates with intercultural skills, business values such as keeping their teams running effectively (40%) and building trust and relationships with clients (35%) in employees with intercultural skills. Organizations whose employees lack these intercultural skills are more exposed to risks such as miscommunication between teams (37%) and damage to the organization’s reputation or brand (27%).

The research further shows that despite a high demand for intercultural fluency, only one-third of employers say that education providers in their countries sufficiently develop intercultural skills in students before they enter the job market (35%). Employers also admitted to inadequate screening processes for intercultural competence in job candidates, as 24% do not screen for these skills in the recruitment process. The research concludes that candidates who demonstrate to interviewers they have intercultural skills, as well as formal qualifications, would have an advantage when applying for jobs.

Clifford Young, Managing Director of Ipsos Public Affairs’ Public Sector Research and Political Polling in the US, said “In an increasingly globalized world, the market is demanding more than hard skills. The three Rs – reading, writing, and arithmetic – are just the necessary condition to enter into the workforce. Now employees need to know how to work in teams, communicate, and most importantly as the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, they need to have the skills to negotiate different social and cultural environments. Our research shows a clear demand for these skills amongst employers globally.”

The research was launched at the British Council’s annual conference for the world’s education leaders, ‘Going Global’, held this year in Dubai.

Full text of the report can be found here: http://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/publications/culture-work-intercultural-skills-workplace

About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

We work in more than 100 countries, and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of £739 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%. We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.

About Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of strategy and technology consulting for nearly a century. Today, the firm provides services to US and international governments in the defence, intelligence, and civil sectors, and to major corporations, institutions, and not-for-profit organisations. Booz Allen Hamilton offers clients deep functional knowledge spanning strategy and organisation, engineering and operations, technology, and analytics – which it combines with specialised expertise in clients’ mission and domain areas to help solve their toughest problems.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Meghann Jones
Research Director
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In the U.S., UK and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, and the Hispanic polling partner of Telemundo Communications Group, a division of NBC Universal providing Spanish-language content to U.S. Hispanics and audiences around the world.

Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

To learn more visit: www.ipsos-na.com

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011.

Visit www.ipsos-na.com to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.

Employees with Intercultural Skills Provide Added Benefits in their Workplace

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Meghann Jones
Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420 2019