Many Managers Found to Fail in Overseas Assignments

PHILADELPHIA, PA– June 4, 2013 – As many as two in five managers are said to fail in their overseas assignments, according to a survey on global leadership trends released by Right Management, the talent and career management expert within ManpowerGroup.

A worldwide average of just 58% of such transfers were judged to be successful by their organizations with little variation across regions.

Participating in the latest Right Management survey were 202 CEOs and senior human resource professionals. The survey focused on the challenges faced by organizations in recruiting and developing top talent in a global environment.

“This has to be one of the most disappointing findings of our survey on global leadership development,” said Bram Lowsky, Group Executive Vice President Americas at Right Management. “Given the investments being made in bringing along a new generation of leaders and their growing need to be able to think and operate globally, for 42% to fail when they’re sent abroad is hard to fathom. It’s also worth noting that the failure rate is more or less a constant whether it’s Asian, European or North American managers.”

The survey, moreover, found disparities in the preparation given managers before an assignment, said Lowsky. “A global average of 25% of organizations provides language training, however the average drops to 18% for North American employers, while it’s closer to 33% among European, African and the Middle Eastern companies. Even harder to believe, an average of 16% of companies globally give minimal to no preparation at all, and for North American employers it’s 22% that do virtually nothing. No wonder so many managers don’t perform well outside their home country.”

What type of preparation do you provide to managers before a transfer outside their home country? (Global averages)

Language training


Overview of cultural differences


Personal coaching


Minimal to none


In-depth cultural awareness training




Ongoing mentorship




According to Lowsky, however, language or cultural training alone is not adequate. “The latest research suggests that the best companies utilize a comprehensive battery of assessments with the candidate to determine whether or not an expatriate assignment will actually work. Being aware of potential derailers that could stand in the way of success are critical elements to understanding and adjusting to an international role.”

About Right Management

Right Management is a global leader in talent and career management workforce solutions within ManpowerGroup. The firm designs and delivers solutions to align talent strategy with business strategy. Expertise spans Talent Assessment, Leader Development, Organizational Effectiveness, Employee Engagement, and Workforce Transition and Outplacement. With offices in over 50 countries, Right Management partners with companies of all sizes – including more than 80% of the Fortune 500 – to help grow and engage their talent, increase productivity and optimize business performance.

Join the conversation on Right Management’s Social Media channels:
• Blog  
• LinkedIn
• Twitter
• Facebook

Media Contact: Kate Huskin,, 414 906 6253