Remote Work and Culture 5 min

One in four UK businesses are looking to hire globally to fill open tech roles

December 7, 2022

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New research reveals:

  • When hiring globally, two-thirds of UK businesses (70%) are most likely to hire from traditional tech talent hubs

  • Meanwhile 63% continue to predominantly look for talent from the UK, despite 18% of UK businesses expressing difficulties finding the right people locally

  • 43% have adopted remote work as an opportunity to broaden their search for the right talent

Internet, Everywhere, 07.12.2022: New research published today in Remote’s 2022 Tech Talent Report reveals that a quarter of UK businesses (25%) are looking to hire tech talent globally in order to combat the tech talent shortage in the UK.

Remote, the leader in building, managing and supporting global distributed workforces, commissioned the survey of 251 UK hiring decision-makers to analyse the state of the global tech talent market.

The research reveals that when recruiting overseas, more than two-thirds (70%) of UK businesses are most likely to consider talent from more traditional tech hubs around the world - New York, Paris, Berlin and San Francisco. In comparison, emerging tech talent hubs Buenos Aires, Helsinki, and Guadalajara are considered by a much smaller pool of UK businesses (39%).

What’s more, 1 in 5 UK businesses (20%) say that they believe there is still a lot of tech talent in London and they are continuing to hire there as a result.

Recently, Gartner Inc.® published a report on Emerging IT Talent Hubs in 2022 , which provides insights into the “top existing and emerging IT talent hubs”. According to the report, London has a supply-demand ratio of 2 whereas in comparison, emerging IT hub Mexico City has a supply-demand ration of 8.[1]

While, according to Gartner Inc.® Mexico City has a higher and more favourable supply-demand ratio, the Remote data shows, that only 7% of UK businesses think there is considerable talent in this market and are looking to hire there. This is the case for several European cities, showcasing a real disparity between where businesses are actively recruiting from versus where there is a considerable tech talent available.

Commenting on the research, CEO and Co-Founder of Remote, Job van der Voort, said: “When I think about the colossal opportunity to hire great talent around the world, the challenges businesses are facing and blockers to hiring the best talent seem small. The research shows that for businesses to meet their tech talent needs, they need to go a step further and look beyond their own market. Tech talent hasn’t disappeared, it’s just distributed around the world, and companies need to overcome the challenges to access it”.

Breaking the status quo

The research does however reveal that some UK businesses are taking the leap and have begun to hire tech talent from the global recruitment pool. 27% of all UK businesses have already or are trying to hire globally. While a quarter (25%) of them are doing so to combat the tech talent shortage, the main reasons for hiring globally include diversifying their teams (67%) and to strategically test new markets (60%). A further 43% have taken the increasing shift to remote work following the pandemic as an opportunity to broaden their search for the right talent.

But whilst some are breaking geographical restraints when it comes to recruitment, almost two-thirds (63%) of UK businesses are continuing to focus their recruitment strategies predominantly on the UK.

When asked the reasons why UK businesses are holding back from hiring talent in emerging tech hubs, 24% said this is largely due to not having legal entities within those markets, while 18% shy away from hiring there simply because they have never hired in those markets before. A further 17% confessed to being uncertain of local legal requirements. Additionally, companies are unsure of how to make it work once they have hired talent, with 15% saying they are unsure of how to organise teams across different time zones, and a further 12% worrying about language barriers.

Legal requirements and working culture are the key challenges

When hiring in new regions, many UK businesses are facing challenges related to local legal requirements and working culture.

According to UK businesses, the biggest challenges faced when hiring in new regions include:

  • Learning about local legal requirements (47%)

  • Language barriers (47%)

  • Local regulations around payroll (46%)

  • Working across multiple time zones (46%)

  • Understanding what benefits are common in new regions (38%)

  • Bringing together different work and management cultures (35%)

  • Managing payroll (34%)

Remote’s Tech Talent research was conducted among 251 hiring decision makers in the UK who are currently hiring for remote tech positions. Interviews were conducted by Focaldata in September 2022 using an email invitation and an online survey.

[1] Note: Supply-demand ratio indicates the number of professionals available per job posting. It is calculated as talent supply divided by talent demand and is represented as a ratio. A location with higher supply-demand ratio is more favorable than a location with lesser supply/demand ratio.

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