Why recruit from overseas?

There has been much coverage in the press of late about the challenges many employers across a range of industries face when trying to recruit skilled workers locally. What effects can this have on a business and are there any solutions?

The impacts of skill shortages

Skill shortages can cause noticeable problems within an organisation, affecting productivity and growth, delaying or cancelling projects, creating continuous gaps in the team and subsequently endless recruitment programmes, increasing the wage bill, limiting the scope and opportunity for research and development, and creating additional pressure for existing staff who have to take up the slack. 

Common drivers leading to skill shortages include the following: 

  • Ageing populations means more workers are retiring with fewer people available to replace them;

  • Increased demand for modern or highly specialist skills;

  • As advancements are made, new technologies require new skills;

  • Not enough skilled workers reside in or close enough to locations where they are needed.

When the local labour market doesn’t provide the required skills, knowledge and expertise, skilled migration can be a viable solution.

The challenge to find skilled workers

Employers experiencing skills shortages and hence recruitment difficulties may struggle to find skilled workers for many reasons:

  • Skills training takes too long;

  • Some roles may require specialist knowledge, skills and experience that take a long time to develop or are hard to find locally;

  • Efforts to train, recruit or use existing workers have not been successful.

This is where recruiting from further afield can be a distinct advantage and benefit to an organisation suffering from a skills shortage.

Filling the skills gap

An in-depth, qualitative study of the contribution and impact of migrant workers on 80 UK companies carried out by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published in 2015 found that migrant workers have brought various benefits to their employers that have led to productivity boosts and company expansion. Benefits included:

  • The ability to train colleagues in new skills such as IT techniques, leading to improvements in day to day working practices, and new innovations;

  • Knowledge and skills over and above those outlined in job specifications, such as management experience, language and IT skills;

  • Skills that are culturally unique and complementary, rather than directly applicable, to the job role;

  • An increased talent pool of potential applicants available to businesses.

Employers interviewed for the study valued the breadth of language skills migrants bring, and also the benefits of having a diverse workforce with a global outlook, which can identify opportunities and new commercial openings.

Significant benefits arose where migrants assisted business’ expansion by sharing insights and connections to new international markets, suppliers and client relationships.

Find out how we can help you bring the skilled workers you need into the UK. 

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK