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UK turns to international workers amid talent shortage

More than half of UK entrepreneurs (56%) have hired international staff as the country battles through ongoing staff shortages.

Research from Remote found 30% of London entrepreneurs have the majority of their team based in another country, while 56% of business owners across the UK have hired at least one international employee since 2020.

The UK has shown more willingness to utilise international workers than the US or Canada.

In the UK, only 19% of business owners said they had no intention of hiring any international staff, compared with 37% in the US and 21% in Canada.

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Overseas-only teams were less common: just 8% of UK businesses owners said all of their team are based abroad. This figure was 5% in the US and 11% in Canada.

Julien Rio, associate vice president, international marketing at RingCentral, said businesses need to take care to maintain a strong culture when hiring overseas staff.

He told HR magazine: "The pandemic saw businesses adopt technology that power remote and hybrid working at record pace, meaning international colleagues emerged as a ‘new norm’ in many workplaces. The changes to our working lives challenged assumptions about where talent had to be based, and more businesses than ever are recognising the value that overseas talent can bring to their workforce.

"However, leaders need to be mindful of how they maintain a strong company culture and ensure overseas team members feel included in their wider team. It’s not enough to simply focus on the output of these new team members, they need to still have opportunities to collaborate and socialise with their colleagues, despite working from different locations."

The increase of remote working has facilitated businesses hiring international staff and businesses have realised the benefits: 88% of UK employers said hybrid or remote working has positively impacted their company culture.

This has led to improvements in in employee retention, satisfaction and productivity. 

Vanessa Stock, co-founder and chief people officer of software company Pitch, highlighted the importance of businesses having strong remote working capabilities.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "In the ongoing war for top talent, flexibility and remote work opportunities are proving a key battleground. It’s seen as a big perk for employees, and for businesses it means widening your talent pool so you can bring in the best people, wherever they are based in the world.

"Working remotely takes intention, skill and practice. Teams should be willing to experiment and communicate openly and transparently about what is and isn’t working if they want to make remote work work for their businesses."

Remote surveyed 1,505 workers across the UK, US and Canada.