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Quarter of UK businesses looking abroad for tech talent

As the tech skills gap persists, research shows many hiring managers in the UK are now looking for talent in other countries

In the UK, a quarter of leaders who are hiring are looking in other regions for technology talent, according to research by Remote.

In its survey of almost 1,500 global leaders hiring tech talent in the US, UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Sweden, the software and services provider found 36% of hiring managers across those countries were looking for global remote workers to fill tech roles.

“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,” said Job van der Voort, CEO and co-founder of Remote.

“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.”

A large number of digital leaders in the UK feel a lack of skilled talent is stopping them from progressing on projects, with increased competition among firms when it comes to securing the best people for the job.

Since the pandemic, there has also been an increase in the number of organisations hiring remote IT workers across Europe.

Some 63% of hiring managers in the UK are still looking only at talent in the UK, but according to Remote, companies not looking for talent outside of their region are more likely to be feeling the talent pinch.

Around 20% of hiring managers in the UK still think there is technology talent to be had in London, but when looking at leaders in all countries surveyed, 21% of hiring managers globally are looking outside of their current country because they do not believe the local supply of tech talent will be able to fill their gaps.

Of those UK businesses looking for talent outside the country, 70% are still looking in “traditional” tech hubs such as New York, San Francisco, Paris and Berlin, whereas 39% are considering “emerging” talent hubs such as Buenos Aires, Helsinki and Guadalajara.

When it comes to reasons for not exploring new regions for talent, many said it was just down to not having legal entities in those markets or not knowing what the legal requirements are in new regions, while some said it was because they had never hired in those regions before.

Aside from filling talent gaps, there are other reasons leaders are looking to hire remote workers from outside their own region. Some 67% of UK managers said they wanted to do so to increase the amount of diversity in their firms, while just over 65% of global leaders said hiring in other markets helped communities to grow when talent is working without moving away from their area.

Hiring outside of a company’s domestic market is not without its challenges, including language barriers, legal differences and time zone differences.

Around 35% of UK managers hiring tech talent outside the country are uncertain about how to combine work and management cultures between domestic and remote teams.

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