International Recruitment Agency Expansion Myths & Facts

With over 40,000 recruitment consultancies currently registered in the UK, now is the perfect time to outgrow the competition by utilising your industry knowledge and capitalising on growing economies outside of Britain.

Here are the most common myths about expanding your recruitment agency overseas, and the real facts revealed to subvert the inaccurate beliefs behind them.

Global Recruitment Expansion: 4 Myths and Facts

Myth #1: International Expansion is Optional

In an increasingly globalised world, international expansion means keeping up with the mainstream; competitive advantage is only delivered by truly understanding and serving each new market better than other recruitment providers.

Despite the pandemic significantly disrupting the travel industry, Covid-19 is set to drive rapidly increased appetite for working abroad. In 2021 42% of individuals want to work overseas, citing the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures post-pandemic as one of their main goals in the next five years. Covid-19 has forced millions around the world to step back and reassess their personal and professional priorities, meaning that in 2021 and beyond, jobseekers will increasingly value work/life balance, working experience and employee culture over traditional features such as pay.

Forbes projects that by 2025, around 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month. Scores of large employers around the world have committed to reducing office space to save costs and offer remote and hybrid working permanently for long-term employees and contractors alike. The mass acceptance of remote work will further expand opportunities to place skilled candidates from one country into another, without the added time and cost of relocation. Recruiters who expand internationally will gain an abundance of market knowledge in different geographies, empowering them to identify and engage the best talent before competitors, and use this knowledge and these networks to form vital relationships with potential client companies in these markets.

Myth #2: One Size Fits All

Personalisation is increasingly popular across many industries – such as meal kits tailored to previous eating behaviour and favourite tastes, and beauty products based on DNA and health challenges – and staffing services are no different. The old cliché about recruitment ‘changing lives’ has never been truer than in 2021, when businesses are depending on each new hire to help them thrive through and beyond the pandemic, and jobseekers are fighting high competition to gain employment and support their families.

Not only will candidates and clients both expect services that are tailored to their needs, but more carefully crafted services based on client and candidate need will rapidly drive business growth. A full 72% of individuals say they only engage with personalised messaging, meaning that even just to get in the door through an initial email response or answer to a sales call, agencies and recruiters must invest in a personal approach to each candidate and client.

Simply incorporating in a new country and translating your website and collateral into the local language will not be enough to establish yourself abroad. A presence in a new geography will require extensive market research, including speaking directly with business leaders, HR managers and workers to understand their needs and challenges, to adapt your services to best suit your audience. A new geography or language doesn’t mean putting everyone under the same umbrella: segment your client and candidate audiences into several groups based on what they need from your services, and adapt your communication style and service delivery to each type of audience to best serve your new market.

Myth #3: Lack of Legal Understanding Will Prevent Most Companies from Expanding

With complex legislation surrounding Brexit and IR35 receiving much press attention in recent years, recruiters in the UK could be forgiven for thinking that years of legal expertise in the relevant country is vital to opening a new office.

Compliance is of pivotal importance to any new venture, and especially in industries such as recruitment that deal with highly sensitive business information, high volumes of payroll and tax considerations and both personal and professional legalities. Many countries will require a specific staffing license – such as AUG in Germany, Interim in Belgium or SECO in Switzerland – to provide permanent or temporary labour. Some countries may require a legal incorporation of a separate company entity and/or specific financial investments or documented proof of compliance. However, international expansion need not require years and £millions in investment: the right suppliers with international experience can support a fast, compliant recruitment agency expansion project.

Generate’s contractor management team are experts in compliant recruitment services – speak to us about any questions on international recruitment compliance.

Myth #4: Competition Will Be Too High

Smaller recruiting consultancies may believe that the competition from larger, established global players in new markets is reason enough not to expand. However, international competition can in many cases be easier than in your home country, and particularly in developing countries like India and China. Industries that are still in their growth stages abroad are prime for capitalisation by specialists with industry knowledge. Businesses and jobseekers will be less likely to be loyal to an already established brand, and more willing to embrace new entrants.

Even smaller agencies can compete: over half of all British companies that currently export overseas are SMEs, without the networks and capital of global conglomerates. Customers also understand that smaller companies will go the extra mile for new customers and will have more flexibility to adapt their services and tailor the recruitment process just for them, meaning your recruitment agency can deliver more personalised services and better meet their needs.

When looking to expand market reach across geographies, partnering with in-country third party companies and a suitable mix of UK-based and local international suppliers can rapidly ramp up resources and capabilities to serve new markets. Agencies can focus on quality over quantity by recruiting fluent language speakers or native citizens in sales and delivery roles, to fully connect and engage with both clients and candidates in any new geography.

Grow Your Recruitment Agency in 2021

Does your agency need support with payroll or contractor management? Find out how Generate’s specialist team could help.

Ready for expansion? Read up on the 4 Industries that Recruitment Agencies Should Capitalise on Next.