- Despite rising protectionism and concern over global pandemics, tech employers in the U.S. and U.K. remain determined to grow internationally, partly to access skilled talent, according to a report from Velocity Global released March 12.
- More than four in five tech companies responding to a recent survey said they plan to open operations in "at least one new country" in the next 12 months. However, recruiting internationally was also identified as a top hurdle by survey respondents, alongside navigating tariffs and managing employee immigration.
- International talent acquisition may prove tough, Ben Wright, founder and CEO of Velocity Global, said in a statement. "Businesses entering new markets need to recruit, manage, and retain the right people, comply with ever-changing local labor laws and regulations, manage tariffs or export fees or VAT/GST, navigate immigration processes, and stay current on tax updates," he said. "A significant proportion of organizations admit to pulling out of an international market at least once due to one or more of these factors."
Recruiting, overall, has become a longer and costlier process for companies, a 2019 Kronos study noted, driving employers to revise talent strategies to better meet demand. Even companies not opening international offices have turned their eyes to the global talent marketplace; 70% of employers surveyed by Envoy said that hiring foreign workers is very or extremely important to their talent strategy.
While companies are interested in sourcing talent worldwide, U.S. employers have faced mixed messages from the Trump administration over the hiring of foreign workers.
"We are desperate — desperate — for more people," former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly said. "We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we've had in our nation over the last four years." However, the administration’s Buy American and Hire American executive order in 2017 disappointed some employer groups and H-1B visas remain a significant point of tension between employers and the administration. One group of tech companies filed a lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) January 26 "demanding $350 million in refunds to its member companies” over allegedly illegal H-1B application fees.
Talent attraction and retention, more broadly, have emerged as top concerns for CEOs, a 2020 Conference Board report noted. To address that concern, companies have emphasized "developing more innovative cultures and new business models," which could include taking a global angle on talent acquisition.