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Bill Gates wouldn’t get a job in Australia because he has no local experience,’’ says Ailis Logan, the founder of Tribus Lingua, a consultancy assisting skilled migrants find jobs. Logan is only half joking.

She believes that Australian employers value local experience much more than their counterparts in Europe and the US.

For the many overseas professionals enticed here by the lure of a bountiful job market, the difficulty of finding a job without local experience is no joke.

What does “no local experience’’ really mean?

Are we so parochial that we’d reject Bill Gates if he sent us his resume?

Do we run our businesses in a uniquely Australian way?

Many of us will go overseas to work, valuing the career and life experience we bring back-yet we appear to view the experience that others bring here with suspicion.

Ian Little, the author of Project Australia: Land that Engineering Job in Australia, suggests our geographic isolation has contributed to our conservatism. As the senior engineering manager at engineering giant Worely Parsons, he’s hired many overseas professionals.

He believes that a lack of Australian experience is actually the biggest barrier any newcomer will face. Employers appear worried about the communication skills of skilled immigrants.

Poorly written resumes from overseas professionals may fuel employers’ doubts about immigrants’ communication skills. Little and Logan say they see many bad resumes from recent arrivals.

This makes it harder for employers to assess overseas experience.

Logan recommends that newcomers provide context around places they’ve worked, including the challenges and drivers of the businesses they’ve worked in. It can be difficult to read a resume in isolation of preconceived ideas about a nationality.

It would be naive to suggest that people never discriminate, but Little certainly doesn’t believe many Australians are inherently racist. When it comes to hiring he thinks Australian employers are just risk-averse.

“People will still encounter difficulties when they want to switch industries,’’ he says. “Employers don’t realise how tough times are, and they need to get flexible.’’

But even if everyone spoke English, misunderstandings about meanings can be common. Logan suggests our easy-going expressions can easily .

“Australians appear casual, but are not casual at all,’’ she says. “Come in for a chat’ can mean a formal interview, so you need to be prepared.’’

But perhaps there’s more going on than verbal confusion. Body language plays its part in defining meaning and each culture uses this differently.

Aparna Hebbani, an academic and researcher into intercultural communication in interviews at the University of Queensland says “non-verbals’’ such as a academic and researchercontribute to an estimated 66 per cent of meaning in social interaction.

She’s seen many cross-cultural misunderstandings in an interview. “If an Indian interviewee, for example, does not make ‘appropriate’ levels of eye contact with an Australian interviewer, they can interpret that as a lack confidence or not being truthful,’’ she says. “But the interviewee might not look into the interviewer’s eye out of respect.’’

The way different cultures see interviews may be detrimental to their chances of success. Little claims some have a “servant attitude’’ when it comes to marketing their skills.

“An employment contract is a two-way thing. I’ve not seen many overseas professionals who understand that,’’ he says. “They don’t understand that they have something to offer.’’

Confused communication aside, what are other risks in recruiting a newcomer? Logan and Little say that new arrivals need to understand Australian law, regulations and codes plus the general rules of Australian business practice. But Little suggests in engineering that employers’ perception that newcomers can’t adapt is greater than reality.

“Engineering is an applied science-the laws of science do not change,’’ he says.

In some professions the local learning curve is steeper and longer. Accounting is one example. David Smith, a former partner of accounting firm PKF and ex-president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, runs Smithink, a management consultancy advising accountants.

He sees the employers’ concern over communication skills of immigrants and their ability to understand the highly complex Australian tax system and superannuation laws as major barriers for accountants new to Australia.

Logan says overseas professionals need to understand that the structure of the Australian economy is “old-fashioned’’, with up to 70 per cent of businesses classified small-medium.

The accounting industry reflects this statistic. Smith suggests a typical small-business accounting firm will find it hard to embrace new arrivals who cannot hit the ground running.

Small firms struggle to verify skills, have limited resources for training and perhaps less patience for the newcomer under pressure.

There are other barriers that make it difficult for newcomers to find jobs. Smith and Little suggest that employers need to assess attitude when it comes to hiring overseas professionals, as this makes a big difference in how quickly people will adapt.

Little says employers’ rigid recruitment practices can prevent this. “Many employers are stuck in a 1980s way of thinking. In that decade there were lots of people to choose from and some fairly militant unionism. Employers found that if they didn’t select the right person [the union] would be likely to challenge. They needed a bullet-proof system.’’

She believes employers should build teams-instead of filling holes when they hire-matching weaknesses in skill sets with complementary strengths.

HR professionals would argue that recruitment processes have evolved. The larger firms often spend many thousands of dollars identifying what makes the company tick before writing it into recruitment practice, hoping to recruit candidates with the right attitude.

Yet the “right attitude’’ is nuanced, notoriously difficult to codify and assess from an appraisal of a resume and the more traditional interview.

Also keeping candidates at a distance are recruitment consultants and online resume screening software.

Many employers’ online careers pages do not have a contact name or number. It can be difficult for applicants to talk directly to someone with close knowledge of the core business who can give them a realistic appraisal of their fit.

Little sees many benefits for organisations willing to open their doors a little wider. While he has observed overseas engineers having a slower path to productivity than their Australian equivalents, he notes the longer term rewards of hiring them as a bonus.

“They are less likely to move on than an Australian hire and they have a great work ethic and less baggage from their background,’’ he says. “They bring new skills not available in Australia, and support our international operations with their knowledge and language skills.’’

Source : www.careerone.com.au

More Information  :  www.tribuslingua.com.au

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HOUSE prices could rise by as much as 22 per cent during the next three years, an economic forecaster says.   house price

”The conditions are ripe for a sustained recovery in residential property prices,” according to BIS Shrapnel’s Residential Property Prospects, 2009 to 2012, report.

”Low interest rates, solid growth in rents and housing shortages are evident in most markets.

”However, the current economic malaise will mean confidence will only recover slowly during 2009/10.”

BIS Shrapnel senior project manager and study author Angie Zigomanis said that, at this stage, all of the action was occurring at the lower-priced end of the market.

This is due to a surge in first-home buyer demand as a result of the federal government’s first home owner boost scheme and low interest rates, he said.

BIS Shrapnel forecasts there will be 180,000 first-home buyers in 2009.

Although first-home buyer demand was expected to ease after the expiry of the government’s boost scheme at the end of 2009, upgraders and investors were expected to take the baton, Mr Zigomanis said.

”We expect rising confidence in the prospects for an economic recovery in 2010, so investors are likely to return in greater numbers, attracted by increased rental returns and low interest rates.”

Among the state capitals, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide will show the strongest price growth over the next three years, at 19 per cent.

More moderate growth is expected in Brisbane, Hobart, and Canberra, while price growth in Perth and Darwin is expected to be weak as the local economies of these cities are impacted by a decline in investment spending in the resources sector.

BIS Shrapnel estimates Sydney’s median house price at June 2009 to be $530,000, and predicts it will rise by mid-2012 to $630,000. Melbourne’s current median house price is estimated at $425,000, rising to $507,000 by June 2012.

In Adelaide, the median price is estimated at $360,000 and predicted to climb to $430,000 over the three years.

Among other cities around Australia, Newcastle and Wollongong are expected to benefit from the migration of residents from Sydney over the coming years.

The median house price in Newcastle is expected to soar 22 per cent over the three years, while Wollongong is forecast to see growth of 20 per cent in the same period.

In Brisbane, the average house is estimated to cost $391,000 now and is expected to cost $455,000 by mid-2012, an increase of 16 per cent.

Hobart’s median house price is estimated to be $335,000 and will rise by 15 per cent to $385,000 over the three year period.

An average house in Canberra is estimated to cost $440,000, increasing to $515,000 by 2012, a rise of 17 per cent.

In Perth, the estimated median house price is $425,000, expected to reach $475,000 in three years, up 12 per cent.

Darwin’s forecast median house price is $470,000, predicted to show an increase of 11 per cent over the three years.

For the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Cairns, BIS Shrapnel forecasts prices will increase by 14 per cent, while Townsville prices are expected to grow 13 per cent over the three years.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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