Borderless hiring: why firms need to consider the global talent pool

With billions of people on the planet and new hybrid working practices, no organisation should struggle to find the right person for the job, says Matt Monette

Hiring talent is currently the hardest it’s been on record, according to the latest British Chambers of Commerce quarterly recruitment report. Based on a survey of more than 5,600 British businesses, 92 per cent of which were SMEs, the report found that 61 per cent were actively recruiting new staff. However, eight in 10 firms (82 per cent) reported struggling to fill the roles they needed.

Against the backdrop of headlines dominated by large-scale layoffs at some of the world’s biggest tech companies, this data may feel contradictory with lots of top talent on the job hunt. However, with more than three quarters of firms reporting the same hiring struggle back in Q3 2022, when similar levels were also looking to hire, it highlights that this ongoing issue is more complex than an imbalanced applicant-to-hire ratio.

Despite the current challenges the industry is facing, businesses continue to grow. In fact, UK SMEs accounted for three fifths of employment and around half the turnover in the UK private sector in 2022. With this growth comes the constant need to recruit, and the fight for the best talent will continue to intensify.

It’s time for businesses to look at the bigger picture when it comes to hiring. With billions of people on the planet, no business should have to struggle to find the right person for the job. It may be that your country’s talent pool isn’t as deep in your sector as it is in other geographies, which is where skills shortages may be playing a factor. So, the question is, how can an SME in the UK source the appropriate global talent?

This is where borderless hiring comes in. The world of work has fundamentally changed. We live in a digitally connected world, where remote working and hybrid teams are now part of everyday life in many businesses. The Office for National Statistics reports that 28 per cent of people work in hybrid roles, and 16 per cent permanently work from home.   

Distributing the workforce and having international teams offers numerous benefits, including greater diversity of thoughts and ideas, increased and variety of skillsets, multiple language capabilities, and the possibility of more efficient working hours by capitalising on different time zones. If UK businesses are struggling to hire in the UK, there is a plethora of highly qualified workers overseas who can be integrated to form a single high-performing and diverse team. Borderless hiring offers the perfect solution. 

Many businesses are already implementing borderless hiring, as demonstrated by Deel’s most recent report. In Q1 2023, the top countries UK organisations hired staff from were the US, the UK and Italy, followed by Turkey, Argentina and Poland. Furthermore, the fastest growing markets UK companies were looking to hire from included Ghana, Indonesia, Turkey and Malaysia. The top overseas roles were software engineers, account executives, designers, software developers and traders – which proves how this solution can be used across a wide range of sectors.

However, hiring internationally can pose challenges that need to be considered and overcome. One of the main difficulties is navigating the complex legal and administrative requirements that come with hiring employees from other countries. This includes obtaining work visas and permits, complying with different tax and employment laws, and dealing with language barriers and cultural differences. Additionally, recruiting and managing remote staff can be challenging, as it requires strong communication skills and the ability to build relationships with employees who may be located in different time zones. Furthermore, the costs associated with hiring remote staff, such as equipment, software and training, can be significant, especially for small businesses with limited resources.

Solutions to these challenges can be found using a combination of the latest technology and expert human support. These solutions can help streamline all processes from initial talent search – ensuring that the right talent is attracted, and time is not wasted on unnecessary interviews and background checks – to easing the onboarding process. Experts are available to handle the entire process end to end, from visa sponsorship to application processing and compliance checks. Support can also be found for many other aspects of the international hiring process, including ensuring that the correct contracts are in place, eliminating the possibility of misclassification, managing payroll for overseas employees, and handling holiday allocation and sick leave.  

Businesses today have access to a vast pool of talented individuals from around the world. By embracing borderless hiring, companies can eliminate skills shortages and reap numerous benefits, such as accessing business-critical talent, boosting retention rates, establishing regional footprints and achieving key business goals. Employers that have yet to explore overseas talent should seize the opportunity to unlock its potential. Although some minor cultural adjustments may be necessary, the benefits of welcoming international talent are too great to ignore.

Matt Monette is country lead and head of expansion for UK&I at payroll and compliance provider Deel