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Skills Shortage: Is It Time to Consider Hiring Offshore Talent?

Skills Shortage: Is It Time to Consider Hiring Offshore Talent?

In 2022, HR leaders are facing a pressing concern: How do we find the skills required for our businesses to scale and grow?

The rapid digitilisation the world has experienced over the past two years is partly to blame. It’s shifted the balance of supply and demand, meaning niche skills in industries such as technology and cyber-security are hot property. The result? A fiercely competitive talent market and eye-watering wages.

Research shows the skills shortage is keeping business leaders up at night. In a survey of global CEOs undertaken by KPMG, almost seven in 10 leaders said talent acquisition, retention, and upskilling to meet a more digitised future is the biggest challenge in 2022[1]. There’s been plenty of discussion around the issue, from the need to upskill and leverage internal capability to a push for more diverse hiring.

Featuring on PeoplePod’s latest episode, branding and talent expert Belinda Agnew shared her tips for tapping into a new pool of jobseekers and leveraging the greater level of freedom offered by hybrid working.

“I believe offshore talent is super underrated,” she said. “I get that culture and building a team and being physically in the same spot is important, and I do agree, but I also think some companies are not looking at the bigger picture.”

Agnew said leading tech companies such as Twitter and Atlassian have tapped into the power of offshore employees, as well as relaxing their policies to allow employees to work from wherever suits them. This approach naturally expands the talent pool, meaning geography is no longer a barrier to hiring top talent.

“Businesses have become more open to hiring the right person, rather than the person in the right place,” Agnew says.

As a leading voice in the recruitment space, Agnew is the Founder of Foccus Group, a fully serviced global recruitment agency, and Managing Partner of Enamus, a global branding and digital agency. She is also host of the StartUps and Unicorns podcast, featuring conversations with successful entrepreneurs from all over the world.

Agnew is a passionate advocate for women in the tech industry, having started her first business venture in her early twenties. Reflecting on how the recruitment industry has changed, she said business leaders should let go of the old mindset around where employees work.

“So many people are wanting contracting roles, consulting or freelancing roles because they want to work for themselves and have had the time to choose what they want to do,” she told PeoplePod. “So I think people need to start looking into offshore and have more flexibility in not having your talent within the office.”

Of course, hiring offshore may involve tax and other legal considerations, and businesses should always seek expert advice. But for organisations already operating overseas, offshore talent could be key to overcoming the current skills shortage.

HR leaders who are struggling to fill certain roles should ask themselves: Is this an opportunity to hire overseas?

Organisations can start by viewing all roles as remote, unless there’s a business case for why the work cannot be done remotely. It goes without saying that in some industries, such as healthcare or manufacturing, the job simply cannot be done remotely. But it’s important for business and HR leaders to keep an open mind if the option of offshore hiring is there.

For more expert insight from Belinda Agnew, listen to the full episode and don’t forget to hit subscribe. Click here, or search ‘PeoplePod’ wherever you get your podcasts.

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[1] Keeping Us Up At Night: The big issues facing business leaders in 2022, KPMG, 2022