SOURCE: Kelly Services, Inc.

Kelly Services, Inc.

December 02, 2009 15:46 ET

U.S. Employees Seek the Skills to Thrive in a Global Workplace

TROY, MI--(Marketwire - December 2, 2009) - A majority of United States respondents believe the experience they gain in a globally oriented workplace will be important to their careers, according to recent findings from an international workplace survey. However, many report they are not being adequately prepared.

The survey, by global workforce solutions leader Kelly Services, finds that Gen Y (aged 18-29) is driving the trend toward globalization. Gen Y employees also feel more confident about working in a multinational environment than their Gen X (aged 30-47) and baby boomer (aged 48-65) colleagues.

In deciding where to work, the opportunity for exposure to international skills or a globalized workplace is becoming more desirable, especially for younger workers. Yet few employees receive formal support from their employers, like cultural or language training, that would help them develop the expertise needed to thrive in a global setting.

The Kelly Global Workforce Index obtained the views of more than 90,000 people in 33 countries, including more than 13,000 across the United States.

"As business becomes more global, workers at every level are recognizing career advantage in their exposure to the language, culture and protocols that characterize cross-border engagement," said Michael Webster, executive vice president and general manager of Kelly Services. "A hallmark of international business and commerce today is to work collaboratively in global teams, and this trend is growing."

Key findings of the survey from across the U.S. include:

--  76 percent of Gen Y believe it is important to their career prospects
    that they become more globally oriented, followed by Gen X (74 percent) and
    baby boomers (68 percent).
--  67 percent of Gen Y have recently experienced working closely with
    colleagues from a different country or culture, followed by Gen X and baby
    boomers (both 62 percent).
--  82 percent of employees in the West say they possess the skills to
    operate in a global environment, followed by the Northeast (79 percent),
    the South (78 percent) and the Midwest (74 percent).
--  27 percent of employees in the South receive formal cross-cultural or
    language training from their employer, followed by 25 percent in the
    Northeast, 24 percent in the West and 23 percent in the Midwest.
--  In deciding where to work, exposure to a global environment is
    considered "extremely important" by 24 percent of Gen Y, 21 percent of Gen
    X and 19 percent of baby boomers.

The desire for more globally oriented work experience reflects the pace of globalization in many businesses today, as more individuals take on more cross-cultural responsibility in their day-to-day work experience.

"Rapid economic advancement in developing economies will lead many more skilled employees to seek international opportunities, and those workers will be very attractive to employers no matter where in the world they are located. It could potentially transform industries where standard practices allow employers to tap into a vast global talent pool, in such areas as engineering, science, finance and healthcare.

"For employees, many recognize that global expertise is becoming an essential part of their career arsenal, and that exposure to a multinational environment is becoming more critical in deciding where to work," Webster concludes.

About the Kelly Global Workforce Index

The Kelly Global Workforce Index is a survey revealing opinions about work and the workplace from a generational viewpoint. Results of the current findings from across Kelly's global operations in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific will be published throughout 2009 in a series of six releases.

About Kelly Services

Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA) (NASDAQ: KELYB) is a world leader in workforce management services and human resources solutions. Kelly offers a comprehensive array of temporary staffing, permanent placement, outsourcing, and consulting services. Kelly serves clients around the globe and provides employment to 650,000 employees annually. Revenue in 2008 was $5.5 billion. Visit

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