Addressing local tech talent shortage by recruiting across borders

In the midst of a tech talent shortage, it’s not easy to find and recruit the right professionals. Here are a few tips to address it.

Unlocking tech talent stories

May 24, 2023

The tech talent shortage is – by these days – old news. Everyone knows about it, especially tech companies which have to deal with the issue daily. 

In today’s digital age, businesses are constantly striving to stay ahead of the competition. However, the shortage of IT talent has become a significant challenge for companies across various industries and this becomes especially critical for tech companies.

There are several challenges faced by businesses in hiring top-tier tech professionals in today’s global talent shortage

Although it might not seem like it, the truth is that this has a big impact on companies, which are now having to turn to new solutions and discuss different strategic approaches to hiring tech professionals to ensure the (so-needed!) competitive edge and to overcome this tech talent shortage.

The tech talent shortage: How do we get here? 

As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, the demand for skilled individuals in the tech industry is urging, creating intense competition for the best talent. And with an increasingly competitive job market, finding the most skilled professionals is highly challenging and, thus, the recruitment is getting more and more though. 

The global talent shortage is a pressing issue affecting organizations across industries, particularly in the tech sector. As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the demand for IT expertise has skyrocketed, surpassing the available supply of qualified candidates. 

Recently, this is mainly due to the advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, and other cutting-edge technologies, making the demand for skilled tech professionals rise steeply. Specifically with the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, the nature of work is now changing. Some traditional jobs are becoming redundant, while new roles now require specialized technical skills have emerged. This shift is now creating a gap between the skills possessed by the existing workforce and the skills needed by tech companies.

However, the supply of qualified candidates has struggled to keep up, leading to a shortage of talent in the market. This shortage can hamper an organization’s growth potential, hinder innovation, and impede the timely execution of critical projects.

Plus, it is crucial to consider the recent changes the job market has suffered. With remote work becoming increasingly popular (due to the pandemic), companies all over the world can have to readjust their recruitment processes, methods and even conditions to fulfil the candidates’ needs, which ultimately contributes to the local tech talent shortage. 

And this is quite severe in some cases. Take for example the Portuguese scenario. According to the data on the Global Tech Talent Trends 2023 — Portugal report, the country is facing a major tech talent shortage. The market share of non-Portuguese tech professionals in Portugal has increased by around +1.7% and now represents 10.6% of the total IT workforce. The data shows that with “a lot of Portuguese tech talent working remotely for companies cross-borders, local talent shortage will increase unless companies start seriously hiring and relocating tech professionals from other countries”, urging companies to start rethinking their recruitment strategies and embrace the globalisation of tech to survive. 

Will this soon be over? Not likely. 

The impact on tech recruitment strategies

The local tech talent shortage has forced companies to rethink their recruitment strategies, as the demand for skilled labour is high and the competition for qualified professionals is fierce, which resulted in long hiring processes, increased salary expectations, and a higher risk of losing top candidates to rival companies. 

In order to overcome these challenges, companies have started considering other recruiting approaches, namely by starting to scout talent from other countries. By casting a wider net and exploring international talent pools, businesses can tap into a diverse range of candidates with varying skill sets and experiences. This not only provides access to a larger talent pool but also brings fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the workplace.

With the advent of remote work, and as geographical barriers are now being broken down, companies realized they could hire talent from anywhere in the world, while professionals understood that they were able to work for foreign companies, with higher salaries, better benefits, and the opportunity to work on exciting projects. And while this increased competition for tech professionals, businesses no longer had to limit their search to local talent pools.

Recruiting across borders: Benefits and challenges

Even if recruiting talent across borders poses several advantages, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. 

On the most positive note, looking for tech talent abroad enables companies to overcome local talent shortages by accessing global talent markets, which can significantly enhance their chances of finding the right individuals to drive their technological initiatives forward. Moreover, diverse teams have been shown to foster creativity, innovation, and problem-solving, making cross-border recruitment an effective way to build a well-rounded workforce.

Nevertheless, there are also challenges associated with this new trend of recruiting across borders, such as navigating legal requirements and immigration laws which can be quite complex. In addition, companies also must consider cultural differences, as – for instance – language barriers may arise. Because of this, companies have to be ready to ensure that new hires are integrated into the company culture seamlessly, and when dealing with this, must provide language and cultural training to new employees to help foster a sense of belonging and facilitate effective collaboration.

Cross-border recruitment: tips to navigate the process soothingly 

For companies looking to embrace cross-border recruitment, there are practical steps to take in order to ease the process and ensure full access to the best professional pools, such as: 

  • Partnering with a local tech-specialized recruiting agency to have access to a wider pool of local candidates; 
  • Recruiting through an Employer of Record (EOR) – which is a third-party service provider that acts as the official employer for a worker on behalf of a client company. This is the ideal solution for companies which are looking to recruit in Portugal, but are not established here, thus making sure that they are complying with all the legal requirements. 
  • Or, using a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider, which offers a complete service with tech recruiters to help companies better manage their recruitment team and have local recruitment knowledge. Through an RPO provider companies can now recruit across borders, as it oversees all the recruitment aspects for the company it is working for (from screening candidates to onboarding new hires). This is some sort of an extension of the company’s internal recruitment team, providing additional resources and expertise to get the best for the company. 

All three possibilities provide valuable expertise and assistance throughout the recruitment process, as all of them have extensive knowledge of immigration laws, and cultural nuances, and can help identify the most suitable candidates, while being able to ensure full compliance and, therefore, avoid legal issues.

Overcoming the local tech talent shortage by going across borders 

This is the answer. The tech talent shortage is a real threat, and it won’t go away anytime soon. So, instead of fighting it, might as well embrace it and deal with it. 

Knowing that this is already impacting companies in all sectors (both tech and non-tech business areas) is important to face the problem. From there, it’s just a supply and demand issue, so instead of limiting the tech force to a scarce pool of talent, companies have to embrace the changes taking place in the job market and sail away.

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