about 2 months ago by Lauren Fonseca

‘Borderless Hiring’: The Future?


2021 brought with it the rise in the term ‘borderless hiring’ – that is, hiring regardless of an employee’s location. Sometimes, this can be nationwide – hiring in Birmingham for a company based in London, for instance – but increasingly this can also relate to a multi-country approach to talent searches. A team can be built out of employees from multiple countries or even continents. 

The second half of 2021 has seen a huge spike in hiring needs across the UK in conjunction with severe skills shortages, something which has affected the IT sector significantly. 

A Report on Jobs, released by KPMG and carried out across London by IHS Markit showed the supply of potential candidates for open roles decline “at a near record pace”. This report concluded: “Among the reasons for the latest fall in candidate numbers were signs of an unwillingness among people to move jobs and the impact of Brexit."

KPMG’s London office senior partner, Anna Purchas, said: ““The high demand for staff in the capital and worrying decline in available candidates has resulted in employers offering higher salaries to attract and secure talent. Starting salary inflation has now hit another record high this month - but we know this isn’t a long-term solution, or the answer to boosting productivity and is a particular issue for our SME businesses."

Purchas said that the "growing gulf between the amount of roles vacant with employers and the number people available to fill them is a warning signal". 

Michelle Palmer, our CEO here at The Difference Engine, has seen evidence of this first-hand in the closing quarter of 2021.  “…We’re seeing a tightening of available talent, with the smaller pool of candidates available quickly progressing through multiple interviews and then in receipt of multiple competing offers from prospective employers, alongside counter-offers from current employers.  The market is brisk and like nothing we have witnessed over the last decade in business.  This is an extremely candidate led market”

The problems don’t just stop with permanent staff hiring – short term worker wage inflation is currently at its highest level since 1998, making it even harder to temporarily fill staff needs whilst searching for permanent employees. 

This increasingly difficult market to hire in, combined with ever-improving remote work technology as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to many companies choosing to pivot their hiring strategies and start recruiting internationally. 

Recruitment firm Hays released a report in November 2021 examining the effects of the skill shortages and identifying “borderless jobs” as a potential solution to the problem, with the global tech sector most likely to benefit from the trend.

Alistair Cox, head of Hays, said: “Remote working is here to stay and it will likely accelerate as businesses become more comfortable hiring people from further afield and their structures and technology allow it.

"There are potential barriers to this [borderless hiring] that organisations will need to overcome, such as cyber security, embedding their culture remotely, and ensuring they comply with local labour laws. But if these can be navigated, then the potential for accessing talent pools that encompass the globe is huge.”

Borderless hiring has already become an opportunity for London firms, especially, with many London-based start-ups, who pre-pandemic often had appetite to build remote first teams, accessing talent and building teams with remote based all across the world.

The opportunities to attract talent are there, too, with pools of potential talent who have moved from the UK to their European home countries post-Brexit but are looking to maintain their UK salary level.

Hays’ report has also reported a dramatic increase in the demand for a flexible, “work from anywhere” approach from UK-based employees. High-skilled workers now want the ability to be able to work from another country, or from a beach, for month-long periods at a time, seeing an opportunity to take advantage of flexible working arrangements and marry that with the potential to travel in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in a “work from the office” environment.  The report found "the skilled labour market has now further evolved with workers displaying an appetite to ‘work from anywhere’ as opposed to simply working from home or the office".

Gary Rawlings, Director at The Difference Engine, remarks “…anecdotally some 15% of candidates we speak to at the moment have made the decision to move to the continent yet hold down work in the UK.  Spain, France and Poland have been hotspots for repatriation…”

Companies taking advantage of the technology improvements and the increased desire of employees to experience that level of flexible working by deciding to employ “borderless hiring” are offered a much wider talent pool than ever before – something particularly key in tech. 

There are challenges associated with this route too, however. Compliance is a huge issue, especially when hiring without experienced knowledge and guidance. Local laws, cyber security and data transfer are just some of the factors that must be considered. Once these potential barriers have been overcome, “borderless hiring” can both help to futureproof a business and provide huge amounts of opportunity for both companies and employees alike.

If you’re thinking about implementing “borderless hiring” or want to discuss how you can expand your tech teams at a global scale, get in touch with us today.