The JGM BitBlog: All the reasons why we can or cannot use our career expertise across national borders

Journal of Global Mobility

Emilija Oleškevičiūtė, Cranfield University, United Kingdom

Michael Dickmann, Cranfield University, United Kingdom

Maike Andresen, University of Bamberg, Germany

Emma Parry, Cranfield University, United Kingdom


Global mobility of employees across the national borders is far from a new thing. Many individuals refuse the idea of career within a single organization for a lifetime and move between jobs, organisations, industries, and even countries to pursue better career opportunities. In order to do that individuals continuously have to develop more flexible career competencies that would be adaptable and applicable within different organisations in different countries. These career competencies can also be referred to as career capital (CC) which consists of the professional knowledge and skills (knowing-how); career relevant social networks (knowing-whom); and career identity, motivation, and aspirations (knowing-why).

Yet, moving between countries does not automatically guarantee that individuals will be able to use their CC in a new career context such as the organisation in a different country. If individuals are not being able to use their CC internationally this could have negative implications, not only for the individuals, but also for the organisations and even countries involved. For individuals this would mean limited career opportunities and growth nationally and internationally. For organisations employing these individuals it would mean less potential for the globalisation and innovation. This eventually could lead to the lack of brain gain for the economies.

So, what can we do to ensure a smooth international transfer of CC? The CC framework suggests that CC, that is too tightly bound to a single organisation and therefore is difficult to transfer between different organisations in different countries, is the main obstacle for the international transfer of CC. However, there are insights from expatriation, repatriation, and migration literature suggesting that there are more potential factors affecting the international transfer of CC. These include, but are not limited to, the individual motivation and ability to use CC and even the national career norms of the countries where individuals are being employed. Still, at this point, literature around the factors affecting the international transfer of CC is rather fragmented.

To read the full article, please see the Journal of Global Mobility publication:

Oleškevičiūtė, E., Dickmann, M., Andresen, M. and Parry, E. (2022), "The international transfer of individual career capital: exploring and developing a model of the underlying factors", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 392-415.