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Sarah Fern, chief people officer at global employment solutions provider Velocity Global, explains why businesses hire remotely on a global scale to tackle the skills gap. 

The right people and skills are vital to businesses’ plans for recovery and growth post-Covid-19.

Brexit complicated the skills challenge at home. It’s much harder to import talent and the cost of expansion into new countries is prohibitive for some companies. To combat this, firms tap into key talent pools in the UK and abroad.

Sarah Fern, Chief People Officer, Velocity Globa

Research from The Open University shows more than half of UK firms experienced skills shortages during the past year. To plug these gaps, firms spent more than £6.6 billion on inflated salaries, temporary staffing, recruitment fees, and training. *

Businesses need to adopt a location-agnostic approach to remote work to tackle this challenge. And progressive, fast-moving sectors such as tech have the blueprint.

Follow tech’s lead 

The Age of Remote Work report from Velocity Global surveyed 500 UK business leaders on their plans to recruit and employ people in the future. 

Almost half (46%) said they will continue or accelerate the recruitment of foreign workers and hire them remotely in their own country. 

Businesses are now far more comfortable with an entirely remote relationship with their people. The data shows tech firms put the experience of the pandemic to use in a global way – proof team members are productive and effective when they work from anywhere. 

Companies in other sectors need to adopt this remote work approach to address their own skills concerns. 

Overcome barriers 

Our findings show that over a third (34%) of tech firms with 501-1000 employees are more likely to hire remote workers overseas. 

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But just 21% of companies with 100-199 employees and 1 in 10 (10%) businesses with 50-99 employees have the same expectation. 

Skills shortages affect firms of all sizes. But, even in tech, it’s clear many companies still believe that global operations are only achievable by larger businesses with scale. 

This misconception stems from the notion that traditional forms of global expansion, like establishing foreign entities, are costly, time-consuming, and demand resources out of reach for small firms. 

That’s why SMEs must work smarter, not harder, to find ways to emulate their larger competitors’ approaches to access skills. 

Global remote employment offers a solution. 

Look beyond borders 

A distributed or remote workforce eliminates the immigration challenges to employ overseas talent in the UK and suits people that favour job opportunities that enable them to live anywhere. 

Firms tap into talent pools overseas to meet skills shortages at home and open up new markets further afield, giving them a foothold in new territories. 

Global remote work makes this a reality. Hire and manage those employees remotely without the cost and complexity of establishing a physical presence in a new country. 

This dynamic approach to global recruitment is essential as businesses continue to recover and pivot towards growth in the coming months. 


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