Expand your global horizons

English-speaking comms professionals are now in increasing demand across Europe, presenting exciting opportunities for the adventurous, according to VMA Group CEO Julia Meighan.

With businesses of all sizes now able to operate on a global scale, it is no surprise that the job market has become far more fluid across different national borders, and this is nowhere more commonplace than in the comms industry.

In fact, in our recent survey, Understanding the European Communications Labour Market, 60 per cent of the respondents were UK nationals already working in Europe and most of them said they would consider taking another job in another country. This is an ongoing trend driven by increasing demand for English-speaking comms professionals across mainland Europe on both a permanent and interim basis – particularly within internal comms, digital and media relations.

As English is the most prevalent business language in Europe, the market has never been better for those wanting to spread their wings and gain some solid international experience.

According to Willem de Ruijter, VMA Group’s head of Europe, native English is a highly appreciated asset: "Our Brussels and Amsterdam offices are growing rapidly and demand across Benelux has never been greater. With new requirements coming in daily from other countries, such as France and Germany, our plan to open offices in both Paris and Germany in 2014 is very timely."

Some of the key skills in demand from European organisations include the ability to turn weighty technical reports and raw data into readable and digestible English content for traditional media and online outlets, as well as internal communication channels. Change communication roles in particular require both relevant experience and excellent use of English language skills. We are also finding that European organisations can struggle to hire social media or digital talent due to the ongoing learning process of how to maximise the potential of these relatively new channels within an overall comms plan.

As organisations are putting increasing emphasis on digital strategies, there does also seem to be a shortage of candidates who have traditional PR and comms skills and experiences running alongside social and digital ones. Experience of int­ernational campaigns is obviously an advantage and those who have had exposure to multi-region media will find themselves highly sought after.

So what do aspiring Euro­philes need to consider? First, be certain that you want to move to another country. It sounds obvious and while continental Europe isn’t a million miles away, work and social cultures still differ. While much of your work will be in English, remember that to have a social life it will be well worth having at least a working knowledge of the language of your preferred country.

If you are not sure and just want to dip you toe into the water then an interim role is probably your best option, and a good recruitment consultancy with offices on the ground will have the best insight into the employment landscape of the particular region that interests you.

The world is getting smaller and recruitment managers are realising that in an international employment market, talent is no longer domestic and local – it is globally mobile. For today’s PR and comms professionals, that means a real global opportunity.

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