Checking out job advertisements is popular with executives
worldwide. But though the activity is universal, is the same
true of the advertisements? Are executive positions in different
countries advertised in the same way? A comparison of the
jobs pages of The Times of London, Le Monde of Paris and Germany's
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung suggests not.
what UK job seekers consider an essential piece of information
-what the post pays- is absent from French and German adverts.
It is often left to applicants to raise this themselves. In
contrast, most British advertisements mention not only salary,
but also other material incentives including a car and fringe
benefits. French or German advertisements rarely refer to
attention given to rewards in the UK indicates the importance
of the job and its responsibility. In Germany and France,
that information is given by the level of experience and qualifications
demanded. Salary can be assumed to correspond with this.
French and German adverts are vague about material rewards,
they are precise about qualifications. They usually demand
"a degree in ...", not simply "a degree". In Germany, for
example, a technical director for a machine tool company will
be expected to have a Dipl.-Ing degree in Mechanical Engineering.
advertisements go further. They may specify not just the type
of grande école degree, but sometimes a particular set of
institutions (Formation supérieure X, Centrale, Mines, HEC,
ESSEC), these being the most famous grandes écoles.
this contrasts with the vague call for "graduates" (or "graduate
preferred"), which is found in the UK. British companies often
give the impression that they have a particular type of applicant
in mind, but are not sure about the supply and will consider
others. Their wording suggests hope and uncertainty, as in
this advertisement from The Times: "Whilst educational standards
are obviously important, a large measure of personal enthusiasm
is likely to secure the success of your application."
the UK, qualifications beyond degree level make employers
nervous, but in France or Germany it is difficult to be "overqualified".
Many people on German executive boards have doctorates and
the French regard five or six years of intensive post-bacealauréat
study at a grand école as ideal training. British managers
are not selected primarily for their intelligence, as managers
are in France or for their expert knowledge, as in Germany.
Instead the British give importance to social, political and
difference also shows in the personal qualities mentioned.
British advertisements stress energy, ability to communicate
and motivate. German advertisements like achievement, but
it tends to be less personality-driven. German companies want
candidates with sound knowledge, experience and competence
in their field. They rarely recruit novices, as do British
employers. French advertisements refer more to intellectual
qualities like analytical aptitude and independence.
the tone of the job advertisements is different in the three
countries. By French and German standards, British advertisements
are very audacious: They attract young executives with challenges
such as: "Are you reaching your potential?" whereas French
and German advertisements are boringly direct, aiming to give
information about the job rather than to sell it.
this points to three different conceptions of management.
The French regard it as intellectually complex, the Germans
as technically complex, and the British as interpersonally
complex. But they agree on one thing: it's complex.
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