If you’re considering a career in international business, there are many opportunities to move forward in this exciting field
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), several business career paths offer excellent pay, and many of them also have an international component.
Some professional fields to consider include human resources, market analysis, financial analysis, and business operations. If you’re currently mid-career in a business field, moving to an international business career concentration can open new doors and opportunities.
A degree in international business helps position you for multiple career paths, because it showcases your ability to work across cultures and understand the global economic impacts of doing business. These skills are highly coveted by enterprises that conduct business internationally. Multicultural business knowledge is also valued by domestic companies that work with diverse populations. Our career guide will help you determine if international business is the right career path for you.
What is international business?
As its name would suggest, international business is a business/financial transaction between people, companies, or other entities from different countries. This may include multinational company operations, joint ventures, and partnerships, as well as foreign investments, licensing and franchising activities, outsourcing, and import/export activities.
If you’re interested in global affairs and love to travel, a degree in international business is what you may be looking for. International business coursework is designed to provide not only basic business skills, but also help you develop an understanding of the unique differences in operations, organizational models, regulatory requirements, and societal structures in other regions of the world.
Studying international business can help you understand today’s increasingly global economy. This makes you an attractive candidate to a variety of companies, whether you want to work in one international location or travel to different countries.
International business salary and job outlook
If you’re looking for a career that offers the potential to earn a high salary, international business offers excellent opportunities. However, there’s a large variety of work options, so there is no one international business salary range. It’s worth keeping in mind that the expected salary depends on the exact job.
For example, according to the BLS, the median annual income across all business positions was $69,820 in 2019, but positions and earnings spanned from meeting and convention planners with an average of $50,600, to personal finance advisors earning an average of $87,850.
As with the salary evaluation, the job outlook for international business changes depending on the type of work. Based on a few reports from the BLS, tax examiners can expect a slight decline of 4% in job opportunities between 2019 and 2029, while compensation specialists and market research analysts show 8% and 18% growth, respectively.
If you are interested in pursuing a certain type of work in international business, it’s worth doing some research to ensure your future prospects hold high value and job security going into the future.
Industry trends in international business
Business is a field that is always evolving with demographic shifts, consumer needs, technology and innovation, and globalization. Outsourcing and cybersecurity are among the key trends impacting international business.
Outsourcing different types of technology projects to offshore partners is common in today’s international business climate. In many countries, professionals from other nations with specialized skills can be hired for considerably less than a domestic employee. Business is conducted worldwide, but countries are developed to differing levels, which is why many jobs are outsourced.
According to Fortune Business Insights, in 2020, the global cybersecurity market was worth $153.2 billion and is experiencing a significant 7.6% rate of growth. It’s expected to grow to approximately $366 billion by the end of 2028. Global spending on cybersecurity is projected to continue to increase in the future, as technology continues to advance and cybersecurity career options in the international business community grow to meet expanding cyberattacks.
Areas of opportunity in international business
If you’ve already begun your career, you likely can move into an international business career in the same discipline in which you’re currently working. For instance, if you work in business management, there are ample opportunities to transition to international business management.
International business careers cover the standard disciplines and best practices you learn in any specialty, but with the addition of a more robust, global business knowledge base. Some areas of opportunity include the following.
Popular careers in international business
Information systems management
Training and development
Entry-level jobs in international business
You may be looking for an international business career that aligns with your current interests, or perhaps you want to branch out into a new sector entirely. Alternatively, you may even be starting out with no previous experience in any business field.
Entry-level jobs in international business are positions that allow you to begin your career where you currently are in terms of both your education and experience.
You can find an entry-level position in virtually any business discipline. We’ve highlighted three popular fields, but other specialties are also available.
Training and development manager
Training and development professionals are more in demand than ever. According to PayScale, the average salary for a training and development manager is more than $77,200 per year. This position also often offers bonuses and incentives.
With new advances in technology, ongoing education has become an integral part of the professional trajectory across most industries. Training and development professionals are responsible for creating and budgeting training initiatives, as well as for building core curriculums to train staff and target audiences.
Financial analysts are in high demand in every industry and market. The job responsibilities for an international financial analyst include studying the market, making investment recommendations, and understanding regulatory requirements.
Since they can view finance through the lens of a global understanding, financial analysts help direct companies through political and economic upheaval and global trends and changes. According to PayScale, this career offers a median income of $61,500.
Global marketing managers develop marketing initiatives for international companies. Marketing at an international level can be an exciting career path, because it means understanding the target audience in all the regions the company serves. Marketing managers may specialize in a specific geographic locale or work with marketing initiatives on a global scale.
An entry-level marketing manager with one to four years of experience can expect to earn an average salary of around $66,000, according to PayScale data. Marketing managers with extensive experience can earn far more; in fact, marketing managers with 20 years’ experience can expect to earn upward of $100,000, depending upon the area.
Advanced international business jobs
If you have extensive experience in your chosen industry, you may be able to complete an international business education and begin your international career at a more advanced level.
Like a domestic business career path, the career trajectory for international professional growth often depends on education, experience, and proven results that prepare you for more advanced positions. If this is your ultimate career goal, begin now to acquire the education and experience that will prepare you.
With a clearly defined goal in mind, you can develop a plan and strategically work toward the positions, experience, and education that will help you obtain your ultimate career.
Following are a few examples of international business careers, along with a brief description of the experience and education typically required for each.
Human resources manager
Typically, you need one to five years’ experience in human resources (HR) before you’re eligible for a management position. If you plan to work on the global level, an international business degree is highly desirable.
This position is similar to domestic HR management positions, but it means acquiring a more in-depth understanding of the laws and regulations of the various countries in which your company operates. In today’s market, remote employees may work in various regions, as well as in satellite offices around the globe.
PayScale reports the average salary for this position is $68,000 a year.
A management analyst position requires not only a bachelor’s degree, but also some experience in the industry. Global analysts seek ways to improve business processes and efficiency. They may provide reports and recommendations on new or expanding markets, as well as pinpoint current problems or pain points where improvements can be made.
Management analysts work across all sectors, ranging from government agencies and military roles to positions in private- and publicly-traded companies. According to PayScale, average salary can range from $47,000 to $102,000 per year, depending on location. Many jobs also offer profit sharing and bonuses.
Executives command a high salary because they offer the advanced skills and expertise to guide the direction of the company. International business executives serving in a CEO position typically earn a very high salary.
Executive responsibilities include directing various departments, making decisions about staff, assigning management, and analyzing financial reports. The median salary for a CEO is $155,000, according to PayScale, depending on the region. For a standard executive position, this income might be closer to $81,000.
Top skills and different tools for careers in international business
We’ve compiled research findings to help you prepare for a career in international business. The skills and tools listed will increase in demand through 2023, since employers are looking specifically for these characteristics in job candidates.
Fast-growing international business skills
Projected Posting Growth (2018-2023)
Key Performance Indicators
Customer Relationship Management
Basic Customer Service
Leadership and Management
Business Process and Analysis
Prospecting and Qualification
Source: Burning Glass Technologies
In the international business community, the most-often requested soft skills are as follows.
In-demand technical and specialized skills include:
Popular international business tools
Apart from traditional business tools like Microsoft Excel, you’ll likely need to master the following tools to work effectively in international business.
International business industry groups
Joining industry associations can help you build a professional network and discover new job opportunities. Some reputable international business organizations include:
An international business career allows you to access multiple opportunities offered by today’s global economy. This career is an exciting option if you want to learn more about different cultures or compete for positions on a global scale.
As technology continues to connect our world, an in-depth knowledge of the global economy will give your career a stable foundation to build on.