‘ Are you ready to go to Himalaya ? ‘ ‘ Anything is possible’ ‘ What does not kill you, makes you stronger’ ‘ Together we can make the magic happen’ These are just a few lines from the pitches during ESI LIVE.

On 29 November we have organized our first event ESI LIVE event, where instead of inviting companies to have a stand and collect CVs from candidates, we invited candidates to pitch for about 3 minutes in front of companies. We have worked with the candidates in an 8 weeks track of workshops, from understanding your strengths, to telling your story in a compelling way and to CV, Linkedin and pitch trainings. The pitch moments at the event have been amazing: we have been taken along from Belgium to Himalayas and have listened to wonderful personal stories. It has taken a lot of courage to stand in front of a large audience and place oneself in the spotlight, with details about their personal life. Usually, that vulnerable and honest moment, when you speak about what determined you to choose this path in life, this career, and this country, is between you and maybe one or two people, be it Recruiter, HR Manager, Line Manager, etc. But on this day, the candidates have shared their most personal motivations in front of 20-30 companies, and they have succeeded to impress, to inspire and show their strength. Not surprisingly, we heard even before the pitches were over, someone say: ‘ I want a meeting asap with this candidate, I want to hire them’.

The Keynote Speaker, Guus Freriks, CEO High Tech XL, has talked about the high tech profile of Eindhoven and the region. What we need to realise is that the region is very dependent of a few big companies such as Philips, ASML, NXL, and we have the other smaller companies in the region which are actually in the supply chain or partners of the giants. All these companies, and others, such as Shimano, which decided to open a head office in Eindhoven, need talent. How many students are graduating each year? Maybe 1,500 – 2,000, and this is not enough. So, as a company, you are dependent of international talent. Future growth can only come from International talent. And if you offer expat assignments, you always get the ‘other half”. To keep the accompanying partner motivated, is another challenge. ‘ We need to be able to offer dual career, and this is our responsibility’, said Guus. ‘ Together we can do this. No company can do this alone, this requires all companies to work together and reach out to the international talent. We do have a collective responsibility to make a step forward, and we should do this together!’.

During the peer to peer discussion, we heard that companies value internationals, among other reasons, because when international people come into the company, the different cultures and ideas will challenge the status quo. ‘ Diverse teams have 70% higher chance to drive business and capture international markets’, said Guus.

Another advantage of hiring international talent from the region has been stressed by Marcel Teeuwen, Ernst& Young: ‘ If you hire an expat, it is more expensive than hiring from the local international talent in the region, who would be on a local assignment’.

If you would like to read more about ESI LIVE, read the Dispatches article HERE

In the first quarter of 2017, we plan to organize the next ESI LIVE. Focus will be then on IT. If you have a background in IT and would like to join ESI LIVE in order to pitch, please send an email to esilive@expatspousesinitiative.org. There will be a selection process, as places are limited.