Training For The Global Economy

Larry Price
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Wednesday - April 13, 2005
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Thanks to computers, the pace of everything is increasing. The technology of this fast-paced global economy seems to be mesmerized with things that are smaller, faster, consolidated and cheaper than the products it has replaced.

Planned obsolescence is a reality. There is a lot of talk about a new work force. We are trying to train youngsters in high school for jobs that won’t be around by the time they graduate from college. The only sure bet is the majority of Hawaii’s graduates will end up working in the tourism industry.

With knowledge doubling every 10 years, the learning curve may be increasing faster than our education systems can change. It appears that our leaders are not sure whether we are going to be a full participant in the new global economy or just be left in the dust.

For the sake of argument, imagine you are the manager of a multinational company in Hawaii. You have to hire people to be international managers, unless your company does not plan to participate in the global economy. In that event, your company will not prosper and won’t be around long enough to matter.

The obvious question is, do you hire local managers or what’s referred to as expatriates, non-citizens of the countries in which they are working? In the future, the standard local vs. haole designation won’t fit.

In Hawaii there has been a concerted effort to manage foreign subsidiaries with people from Hawaii because they come with island attitudes, island management styles and were considered superior to “absentee owners,” who are usually lost unless they take a two-week course in cultural diversity.

There is another problem on the horizon for global business. Hawaii will soon have another twist for business leaders when it gives birth to a native Hawaiian nation within a nation. In this scenario, scenario, Hawaiians who choose not to think American and participate in the global economy game won’t have to. It’s too early to know, but there is a good possibility they will choose to play, but by their rules.

What everyone is hoping for is firms that will staff foreign subsidiaries with the best people for key jobs regardless of nationality.

The hiring and firing in the future will be done online. Faceto face-interviews, if they occur, will be conducted by a psychologist or psychiatrist more interested in the applicant’s ability to adapt to foreign employment.

If you are lucky enough to be hired or assigned a lucrative job in a foreign country as part of the global economy, be advised about what the current law says about working in a foreign country. The Equal Employment Opportunity Responsibilities of Multinational Employers, which simply means any U.S. employer doing business abroad, or firms doing business in the United States or any of its territories, have wide-ranging responsibilities to their employees under American equal employment opportunity laws.

Just a small sample of what the implications are for those choosing to participate in a global economy where terrorism and safety are paramount in recruiting employees, the No. 1 recommendation for employees is to ask for protective measures that include purchasing kidnapping and ransom insurance.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? It will be interesting to see if Hawaii’s governmental leaders can move quickly enough to enter Hawaii in the global economic race or just sit around complaining and get left behind, because right now we appear to be going in the opposite direction.

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