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Common myths surrounding today’s talent shortages

In this guest article, Nick Adams, EMEA vice president at Globalization Partners, explores the common myths surrounding the current talent shortages.

The ongoing talent shortage and connected trends such as ‘The Great Resignation’ have been widely publicised over the past couple of years. In fact, according to recent research from Open University’s Business Barometer, just over half of UK companies are suffering as a result of the skills shortages, with £1.2bn spent annually on temporary staff to try to fill these gaps. The study also found that by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people, which is roughly equivalent to the population of Germany.

While the UK is certainly facing a range of challenges relating to recruitment, there is also a huge pool of untapped talent that exists across the world where organisations could look to address their shortfalls. The view that looking abroad can’t help fill recruitment gaps is just one of several important myths that are standing in the way of effective recruitment.

Myth 1: People don’t want to work

It’s fascinating to see that 18% of UK workers are still planning to leave their jobs in the next year, according to a survey by accounting giant PwC. In addition to the statistics, many of us will have seen colleagues make critical career decisions about where and how they want to work. While some people are deciding to leave the workforce for good, the reason for the Great Resignation is not due to a lack of desire to work, as so many might think.

Moreover, people’s perspectives on the world have shifted considerably in recent years. Many found themselves rethinking what they wanted out of life, what their priorities were, and how their employment fitted into that picture. Employees who couldn’t achieve work-life balance at their existing job felt empowered to leave, and look for a new job that could accommodate their needs, and allow them to also thrive outside of work.

Today, employees want to work for firms that care about their overall well-being and offer benefits and bonuses that match their values and lifestyle goals. Many are no longer willing to accept jobs that involve long hours and constant sacrifice of personal ambitions in favour of professional ones. But this is quite different from the idea that people simply don’t want to work – they are simply more focused on finding the right roles that meet their needs as they pursue a better balance and long-term happiness.

Myth 2: The talent shortage is universal

While some sectors and industries may have a scarcity of talent, organisations everywhere must remember that in a hyperconnected economy, sourcing talent outside of the local market opens up a huge range of possibilities. For example, your company may hire predominantly in specific cities or regions, which may currently be short on personnel with the abilities you require. However, talent hotspots around the world are blossoming with highly trained professionals who are regularly looking for new opportunities.

From Mexico City, Toronto and Colombo to Singapore and Berlin, there are locations all over the world that have established themselves as prominent talent centres, with individuals ready to join firms that promote work-life balance and wellbeing.

In fact, the digitally-enabled competitive edge that helps brands to grow exponentially goes beyond boundaries and creating the ability to form global teams. To achieve their aims, companies must first build strong remote work cultures, processes, and the necessary tech stack to support remote-first productivity before they can hire abroad.

Microsoft and Google, for example, have asked some of their workers to work from home, with overwhelmingly positive outcomes. Similarly, Twitter accepted and adapted remote work so well that the company announced that some of its employees would be able to work remotely indefinitely.

The challenge for many is to restructure their legacy local recruitment strategy to discover talent on a global scale. In doing so, businesses must learn from giants like Microsoft and Google, who are taking the first big step forward, to become remote-ready and offer applicants appealing prospects.

Myth 3: It’s too complex and costly to hire people from abroad

In the past, companies used to avoid broadening their horizons, because tapping into global markets was a logistical nightmare and often required prohibitive levels of investment. Today, however, with the assistance of a strategic ally, organisations everywhere can affordably hire an international team.

For example, by using a modern digital employment platform, like Globalization Partners, organisations save money they would have spent on hiring by eliminating business entity set-up — not to mention the hassle of dealing with tax, legal, and HR issues. In addition, expanding your staff internationally adds diversity to your workforce, and according to a McKinsey analysis, diversified multinational teams generate greater revenue.

Myth 4: Culture and communication are barriers to effective recruitment

Global teams are affected by cultural differences, but firms that learn to bridge these gaps will find that these variations only enrich and add value to their operations. It requires awareness and sensitivity to achieve cultural competency – a critical aspect in understanding, communicating, and managing multicultural teams – that is also required to maximise potential.

Today, long-distance communication is easier than ever before, thanks to all of the collaborative tools and technology that have become so familiar. Video calls, for example, bring teams together regardless of their geographical location, making communication feel more personal and instantaneous. However, an efficient communication plan is also an absolute necessity in delivering successful engagement with dispersed teams.

Ultimately, an international workforce helps build a richer, more fulfilling workplace culture for all employees. Sharing different global perspectives and ideas not only benefits teams and leads to better employee morale as well as a positive reputation, but in turn, can strengthen overall talent acquisition efforts. In the wider business context, those organisations that embrace an international recruitment philosophy will be ideally placed to succeed in the highly competitive and agile markets that are a feature of modern digital economies.

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