Culture at Work: British Council, Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs launch study in Washington DC

On Thursday Ipsos Public Affairs launched the “Culture at Work: Communicating in the Global Workplace” study in Washington, DC, to an audience of policymakers and experts. The study of 367 large employers in nine countries was conducted in partnership with the British Council and Booz Allen Hamilton.

The DC launch emphasized the data from Unites States (US) employers in greater depth than had been done previously. US employers share with their counterparts in other nations a general concern about economic challenges, government regulation, and finding enough qualified candidates for their organizations. US employers also viewed intercultural skills as very important and were most likely to define these skills as being accepting of different cultural viewpoints and being able to communicate in other languages.

Picture1

Interestingly, US employers are the least likely to screen for intercultural skills in job applications or interviews. Based on pre-research cognitive interviews conducted by Ipsos, sensitivities regarding specifically asking questions about culture are probably a key contributor to this decision. In addition, employers may not currently be equipped to assess these skills in candidates.

Despite many shared attributes with other nations, US employers do face unique challenges. Though a large number of job candidates in the US display respect and flexibility (a key component of intercultural skills), they are less likely to display openness to new ideas and foreign language skills. This gap may persist once an employee has been hired, as only 38% of US employers offer any type of support for their employees to develop intercultural skills.

Issues raised during the discussion included the ways in which educational institutions could transmit intercultural skills, improving the rate at which American students study abroad, and addressing the difficulty employers have in adequately quantifying, and therefore screening for, intercultural skills.

Ipsos Public Affairs looks forward to further discussions on these issues!

Thursday’s presentation can be viewed here.