The past year has been tough for the recruitment market and all involved. Following significant redundancies form large global firms across industries, the Office for National Statistics reports that 726,000 fewer people were employed in January 2021 than at the same time in the previous year. Britain’s unemployment rate is predicted to rise continually in 2021, with the Bank of England forecasting that if the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and other business support packages are not extended past April, the UK’s unemployment rate will peak at 7.8% in June.

Despite the negative outlook for the UK staffing market, British recruiters can weather the challenges ahead by taking advantage of opportunities abroad. Here are three ways that recruitment agencies can benefit by exporting their services or moving overseas in 2021.

3 Reasons for Recruiters to Expand Internationally

1. International Market Shifts Will Open Up Never-Before-Seen Opportunities

The latest research from Global Recruiter reveals that talent acquisition professionals in the UK are the most likely in the world to anticipate hiring freezes over the coming months. Compared to the United States of America, Canada and most of Europe, the UK is the nation least optimistic about hiring in 2021. Over 50% of internal recruiters in Canada, France, the Netherlands and Sweden are expecting to hire this year compared to 34% in the UK. The global hiring industry has much to offer recruiters and candidates willing to expand their services abroad in the coming year.

Whilst the UK’s strong reputation in global business, multicultural society and lengthy history continue to mark Britain as a great country to work in, other nations are rapidly growing expat populations and driving international talent exits. The rest of Europe and Asia are fast-growing hubs of talent that are starting to steal talent from UK businesses – and present opportunities for savvy recruiters.

In the latest list of top countries to work in 2021, the UK places 18th ointhe top 25. Switzerland takes the top spot thanks to its high average monthly salary (£4,792.89 or $6,522.24) and most advantageous tax system in the world, and although employees work longer hours, Swiss cities regularly rank as offering the best quality of life in the world. Denmark, Iceland and Norway rank at 2,3 and 4 as expected due to their Scandinavian culture and outdoor lifestyles, however many countries such as Qatar, Ireland, Japan and Singapore already outrank the UK. British-based staffing agencies can capitalize on this shift before local competitors by penetrating likely expat talent pools and transforming into global skills providers.

2. Brexit – Acquire Access to EU Talent Whilst Retaining British Talent Pools

The UK’s departure from the European Union naturally presents many barriers for staffing specialists. The end to freedom of movement will incur red tape, project delays and compliance costs when bringing a European candidate to the UK or vice versa, and the new points-based immigration system will restrict the types of skills and roles that British companies can source from the EU. With many trade agreements and legislation still to be confirmed, the UK must adhere to rules specified by individual European countries for each individual placement or assignment. The additional admin and resource burdens have been reported to discourage both European candidates from entering the UK and British companies from hiring international workers.

Almost one in five Britons lived abroad before Brexit, with Spain and Ireland hosting 1million British workers between them. With an exodus of Britons soon forced to leave Europe, and with European nations already experiencing chronic shortages of tech professionals, scientists, doctors, nurses and teachers, Britain’s most experienced and adaptable recruitment consultancies can use Brexit to their advantage. Incorporating and setting up a dedicated in-country entity in an EU member state could provide the perfect route to seamless trading, not only in the relevant country but also with other EU nations. Recruiters with specialist knowledge in their industries, foreign language capabilities and legal know-how will fare particularly well by obtaining country-specific recruitment licenses such as AUG, SECO or Interim licenses that facilitate legal provision of recruitment services and reinforce the compliance credentials of the agency.

Creating an international presence will position a UK recruitment company ahead of most of the 40,000 other staffing agencies currently registered in Britain who cannot yet access the EU marketplace. Consultancies that take a risk in 2021 will benefit from a lack of UK-connected recruiters in the European space this year, and maintain their UK foothold ready for when the UK market returns.

3. Global Remote Working Shift

One positive revelation from the pandemic is the rapid increase in acceptance of remote working. Since the coronavirus forced most offices to close their doors, millions of employees in every country across the world have been remote working, successfully and enjoyably. Even before the pandemic, Forbes had predicted that by 2025, around 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month. Employers such as Facebook and Twitter have already committed to permanent home working options after seeing productivity and engagement grow.

The shift to remote work will open up talent pools to any location in the world rather than just the local marketplace. Any job that can be performed using a computer or phone can theoretically be performed form anywhere in the world: employers can benefit from a more diverse selection of employees with varying skills, knowledge and necessary language skills. Businesses can make dramatic savings through smaller/fewer office premises and by paying employees an appropriate wage for their home location, rather than transporting them to larger European or American cities and supporting high living costs. Candidates can access an ever-increasing volume of job opportunities that do not require relocation, commuting or sacrificing personal goals or family time.

Remote working will mean an increasingly globalized world where anyone can work anywhere. International recruitment agencies are set to see fast-growing demand from candidates wanting to explore their career paths like never before, and businesses looking to harness the skills on offer without associated legal, travel or financial investment.

Grow Your Recruitment Agency in 2021

Looking for support with contractor management or payroll services? Generate’s team of specialists are on hand to help.

Is your agency working across the UK and Europe? Check out our Brexit Checklist for Recruitment Agencies.