UK businesses reap the benefits of remote hiring

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Wednesday 04 May 2022 22:19

Remote is a Business Reporter client

The past two years have seen an exodus of talent from the UK. That has stung companies needing to recruit, but it has also pushed many to look farther afield for employees and improve their international talent-hiring capabilities now they no longer need to be constrained to the UK.

The changes to the job market in the UK brought about by Brexit and Covid-19 have been substantial. The number of EU citizens seeking work in the UK since Brexit has fallen by 36 per cent since 2019, while 70 per cent of UK companies surveyed by the British Chambers of Commerce said they have faced problems recruiting. The problem is particularly acute in the UK’s tech sector, where cybersecurity, big data and data architecture are all experiencing major shortages of talent.

“Business leaders are realising that they need to look outside of the usual channels to find great new talent,” says Nadia Vatalidis, VP of People at Remote, which has carved out a specialism in helping employers hire overseas. “A core part of this is the realisation that employment doesn’t need to be restricted to geographical location, and hiring strategies can be evolved to be much more inclusive. Fortunately, the tech sector is perfectly suited to remote work.”

Looking further afield

At first glance, the process of hiring overseas talent looks burdensome, with companies forced to contend with a range of local labour laws that can slow and complicate the acquisition process. There are substantial fees involved, with companies required to register local legal entities. They must determine how best to secure efficient cross-border payroll and be sure that the status they give to employees – whether employed, self-employed or otherwise – aligns with the local taxes they pay. They also need to navigate the different languages of each of the countries they hire in.

However, there are options to make the entire process straightforward and efficient.

UK companies are increasingly looking to employers of record (EORs) to enable remote hires. These third-party organisations act as go-betweens for a client and a local employee, taking care of background checks on candidates, the drawing up of contracts, filing taxes and many other functions that a company without a local footprint needs to carry out.

In short, it acts as a local employer – and a good EOR will save a company significant money, as well as ensure it avoids the risks that can come with recruiting talent outside of its own borders.

“Employers can now find talent so much faster than before,” Vatalidis says. “By removing geographic barriers to hiring, a huge international talent pool opens up, creating opportunities for talented people wherever they are in the world.”

There’s also the matter of local knowledge. Even something as seemingly straightforward as benefits that workers should receive in each country could prove to be a stumbling block if not approached carefully. Health insurance is one example. If the scenario were to be flipped and an overseas company were to hire a UK citizen, there would be no need to consider health insurance for that person. But if a UK company were to hire someone in the US, where state-provided healthcare is minimal, then health insurance would more than likely be an expectation. Further afield – for example, in India – there might be the additional matter of a remote employee expecting that the health insurance package they’re offered includes cover for their parents.

Local knowledge is therefore vital, and a strong EOR can help to illuminate how social norms and expectations influence the decisions a candidate makes about which company they choose to work for.

Taking the headaches away

But how does a company know which EOR to go with? And how can it gain a better understanding of the complex processes involved in overseas hiring?

Remote has a saying: “Think global and act local.” Long before the pandemic atomised the global workforce, it was busy developing extensive open-access resources for companies, both UK-based and international, who were looking overseas for talent. Covering topics ranging from tax and compliance to data security and global payroll – and including a country explorer page that highlights key information for each country – its output has continually emphasised the need to understand local issues.

“Businesses seeking to hire distributed teams must consider local nuances and expectations across different markets and ensure they meet local standards,” Vatalidis says. “We offer customers this level of local support to ensure salaries and working hours are in line with what is typical for that market. If these do not match, we cannot hire the employee, and businesses simply won’t be able to attract the employee to begin with.”

Remote has designed one of the most sophisticated and wide-ranging EOR models on offer. With it, UK companies can connect with local entities whose skill in managing the range of HR administrative work required has been carefully vetted.

If homegrown talent is in short supply and companies have little choice but to look overseas, developing efficient and effective processes for hiring remote workers could be the thing that ensures their survival.

“Talent is distributed all over the world, and in a completely digital work environment, there is no longer a need for companies to restrict themselves to recruiting only local candidates,” says Vatalidis.

“Hiring distributed teams provides businesses with endless opportunities, while also allowing employees an opportunity to live the life they want, where they want.”

Originally published on Business Reporter

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