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A recent survey from Velocity Global looked at the goals of U.S. and U.K.-based tech firms to expand internationally. The survey found that 90% of U.K. and 85% of U.S. tech firms desire to expand into new markets.
Gaining access to talent is a key driver of international expansion plans among tech firms. Almost half (45%) of U.S. tech firms cite access to skilled talent as crucial for international expansion, just slightly above 42% from the U.K. tech business community. Gaining access to skilled tech talent around the world ranked just second to the desire to grow the tech firm’s customer base, which was cited as the top reason for international expansion.
While one in five firms view the U.S. as the primary location for sourcing skilled tech talent, the report also shows that attractive locations for U.S. and U.K. tech firms are Europe (30%) and Asia (29%). The top countries within Asia identified as sources for tech talent were China, followed closely by Japan and India. As for Europe, U.K. companies identified the U.K. and Germany as top sources for talent. U.S. companies also ranked the U.K. first, followed by Germany, France, and Spain.
Expanding and accessing international talent doesn’t come without its challenges. The top challenge identified by U.S.-based tech firms is recruitment (48%) while the top challenge for U.K. tech firms is managing employee immigration (42%). Other formidable challenges included different payroll processes, finding expert consultants, and client communication. Participants in an accompanying roundtable discussion believe that despite the optimism for growth, there needs to be a solid talent strategy in place for international expansion to succeed.
Despite the optimism for growth, there needs to be a solid talent strategy in place for international expansion to succeed.
A need for a talent management strategy is global. Korn Ferry’s Future of Work: The Global Talent Crunch report revealed that by 2030, demand for skilled workers will outstrip supply. In the technology sector alone, the study found that a skilled labor shortage will reach 4.3 million workers by 2030, or 59 times the number of employees of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. The only country projected to have a tech skills surplus is India.
Mobility plays a key role in talent development and management strategy. BGRS notes that “Mobility opportunities are seen by organizations as a way to attract, retain, develop and engage employees. International assignments allow for the development of competencies that are essential for well-rounded talent and future leaders.” Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Study found that “Mobility can foster attraction and retention by offering new opportunities for employees to develop their careers internationally. More importantly, mobility should address the limitations of local talent workforces and allow companies to tap into global talent pools.” This traditionally means relocating talent, but can also refer to new alternative approaches, such as hiring foreigners locally, using talent based in a developing country, or relying on expatriate gig workers.
Outside of mobility, meeting the specific demands of tech workers around the world requires new recruitment strategies. Some examples of innovative strategies include accepting hands-on tech experience in qualifying candidates as opposed to degrees and optimizing job postings for mobile devices. LinkedIn’s guide to attracting and retaining tech talent recommends that employers provide learning opportunities and develop a culture of developing employees from within and creating a management culture dedicated to employee growth.
Strategies for providing opportunities for learning and development should include employee mobility. To recruit and maintain tech talent in the midst of a global talent crunch, it is crucial that managers adopt and implement strategies to meet the demand.
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