Customer Stories 15 min

Airtasker unlocks top overseas talent with Remote

Written by Marie Nayaka
August 24, 2023
Marie Nayaka


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Do you have a job that needs doing, but you’ve never quite got around to doing it?

If so, then Airtasker might be just what you’re looking for. This Australia-based services marketplace allows users to post any kind of job — from mowing lawns to chasing away spiders — and can be a great earner for those willing to take up the call.

But as a publicly traded business with live marketplaces in the US, the UK, and Australia, running Airtasker is no easy gig. To continue its sustained global growth and deliver a seamless user experience, the company needs access to top international talent.

Here’s why Airtasker partners with Remote to quickly, easily, and compliantly hire the best people in the business — wherever in the world they reside. 

Airtasker at a glance

  • Headquarters: Sydney, Australia

  • Founded: 2012

  • Hiring with Remote in: Portugal

  • Industry: Consumer services

As an international services marketplace, Airtasker users can advertise just about any job they can think of — and find a skilled match for the role.

“There are people who use the platform for things like dog walking and sitting services,” explains Alice Kennedy, Airtasker’s Head of People. “But you can also get things done that you would never have thought of. During lockdown, for example, my partner found a party organizer to arrange my birthday party online.”

Like most online marketplaces, it’s a mutually beneficial model. “There are different ways for people to earn income,” Kennedy adds, “and make a living for themselves in a flexible working model.”

After going public in 2021, Airtasker continued to expand at home and abroad, signaling a shift in the company’s approach to resourcing. It already had customer support and marketing teams in the Philippines, but the difference in time zones required Airtasker to go a step further — and see itself as a global business rather than an Australian one.

First steps in Portugal

Airtasker already had entities in the US (where it had acquired a Kansas-based competitor) and in the UK. However, the idea of a new global engineering resourcing model actually came from within the company.

“We were considering how we could scale our engineering operating model and ways of working,” Kennedy explains. “And we had a senior engineering leader who wanted to relocate to Portugal at the same time. So we decided to investigate employer of record (EOR) partners to retain our engineering leader, but also to grow in Europe.”

After trialing an independent contractor model in Portugal, the company considered setting up another entity, but there were simply too many roadblocks.

“It was a lot of time and cost,” Kennedy says. “We’re a small team and we just really didn’t have the resources. It was something we couldn’t invest a lot of our time in.”

Following a series of in-depth internal discussions, Airtasker made the decision to move forward with an EOR provider.

Discovering Remote

Finding the right partner was crucial for Kennedy and her team, who were very specific in their requirements.

“We needed someone that could help us scale beyond a niche employer, and hire in different global locations,” she says. “We needed to build something that could work in 10 years’ time.”

As an ASX-listed organization, risk management was also a key factor in the decision-making process.

“Compliance is the biggest priority in a lot of our work, and processes need to be thoroughly managed,” says Kennedy. “We had discussions with our people and finance teams, our board, and the chair of our audit and risk committees. We needed to really understand how to minimize risks in this space.”

After conducting extensive due diligence, and taking recommendations through internal and external networks, the company opted for Remote.

“Remote was actually there from the start as a sounding board and an advisor,” Kennedy says. “We went through various different conversations, reviews of employment contracts, and commercial agreements.

“We had our Australian employee relocating to Portugal. We had independent contractors moving to permanent roles. And we were recruiting new hires, too. It was really about mitigating any risk for these employment models, and being able to successfully bring our team through that transition.”

What got Remote to the top of the list was that it was tried and tested in this space — and it’s working.

Intellectual property (IP) protection was another significant factor in the decision.

“A big piece for us was the protection of our IP, and the protection of the data Remote would have access to,” she adds. “It was truly a compliance and risk-led process because, if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right.”

Getting everyone on board

With Remote’s in-country expertise, setting up the team in Portugal was relatively straightforward. 

“We realized that paying Remote was a good ROI for us, as opposed to having dedicated headcount and resources in our finance or people operations teams,” says Kennedy. For her, the value of the partnership was quickly becoming apparent in other ways, too.

“As an example, we have people in our teams that work on-call,” she says. “But there’s different localized legislation around allowances and payment of hours. Remote’s expertise on this was really important in helping us stay compliant.”

Remote really helps with the expertise of what’s required contractually.

The wealth of self-serve information and close support made it easy for Airtasker to quickly adapt to working with a global employment partner — and to seamlessly onboard its Portugal-based contractors.

“We dedicated onboarding sessions and spent time with our Remote account manager,” Kennedy explains. “For some people, it can be worrying or cause anxiety given they are not an Airtasker employee, and these sessions gave comfort and confidence around what that means.”

New hires now go through a dedicated process with two pathways: one with Remote, where payroll, compliance, and time management is covered, and another with Airtasker, where the company discusses its policies, product, and ways of working. 

“Remote provides a how-to guide of what they come to Remote for, and what they go to Airtasker for,” she adds. “From day one, there’s real clarity and transparency of the role everybody plays within the employment agreement.”

What hiring looks like now

For Tom Randon, Airtasker’s Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, the key hiring benefit of the partnership is flexibility.

“Working with Remote just expands the possibilities,” he says. “It gives us the flexibility to make quick decisions on hiring overseas. That means we can remove the location problem, complete the equation, and make the best decision for the business.”

Randon has already seen the benefits of this in the Australian labor market, where top engineers often come with high salary demands. 

“I can use Remote’s Cost Calculator tool to identify average engineer salaries in other locations, then talk to our leadership team,” he says. “There are locations not too far from Australia that produce really great engineers, who we wouldn’t be able to hire without Remote.”

With a shortage of local engineering skills, it also avoids another costly element of tech hiring in Australia: relocation.

“There’s previously been a need to import talent from other locations, which is an incredibly expensive way of solving personnel needs,” Randon explains. “Now, there’s a possibility to think beyond Australian shores, and access international talent and networks that meet your business requirements.”

Working with Remote is a much better and more scalable option than going down the traditional route of relocating talent to Australia.

As well as helping to compare hiring approaches in dollar terms, Remote’s local experts provide valuable cultural context.

“It’s not as simple as just going and hiring someone in a particular location,” says Randon. “There’s so much local cultural nuance to get your head around, and so much to understand about what employment means in that place.

“There are obligations that you, as an employer, have to meet. And sometimes, that translates into certain costs that you need to factor into your hiring budget. I found the Remote team really helpful with sharing more information on that.”

A genuine partnership

Overall, Kennedy is delighted with the partnership so far — and considers Remote a key voice in the business.

“A big part of the Airtasker culture is that, when we’re considering new things, we really want to understand the problem we’re solving,” she says. “Remote is a stakeholder in that conversation, and in the wider ecosystem of how we work.”

For Kennedy, trust is an important part of this.

“We feel comfortable that, from a compliance and employment perspective, Remote is meeting all its obligations,” she says. “And it’s great having one point of contact that can connect us with SMEs for any questions we have.

“That expertise is really the value of the partnership, especially for an organization our size. We compete with a lot of big, global technology companies for talent, and we’re still improving our ways of working. Having that expertise on hand from Remote is really valuable.”

Remote has that expertise in the market. And when compliance is such a big risk, it’s really important to bring that expertise in.

What’s next for Airtasker?

As Airtasker continues to expand, Kennedy acknowledges that there is still a lot to learn about global growth.

“We’re still figuring out how to scale our culture across multiple time zones, and how to build a connection and a community in a digital world,” she says. “But there’s still very much that space for us to deliver the Airtasker experience — that fingerprint of what we want everybody to experience working with us.”

“Working with Remote is our big first step towards being a global employer and having access to international talent,” adds Randon. “Of course it throws up challenges, but they are good problems to have. It’s the way I believe the world is moving.”

Ultimately, the overriding feeling is one of pride and excitement.

“For a company of 120 people, I think it’s really awesome that we’ve got the ability to hire and retain talent in diverse locations,” Kennedy says. “I’m so proud of our journey.”

Randon agrees. “Moving forward, I’m excited about the possibility of what we can do. Whatever direction Airtasker takes, the workforce can follow.”

Ready to start growing your international team? Contact us today to schedule a friendly consultation with one of our global hiring experts.

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