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Why a global hiring strategy sets you up to win in a competitive market

11 November 2022 , by Josh Nel

The shift to remote work has made the hiring landscape even more competitive, at the same time, it also opens up opportunities for companies to broaden their pipeline. Here’s why your hiring strategy should go global to win at hiring developers in this competitive environment.


It’s still a tough hiring market

While things have cooled down from 2021’s hottest-ever hiring market, hiring software developers hasn’t become any easier.

Demand for skilled software developers remains high and the nature of the hiring market has fundamentally changed following the Covid-19 pandemic. Previously, hiring was hyper-local, with companies recruiting developers from the same city or surrounding areas.

Now, you face global competition as companies are no longer restricted to recruiting developers from the same city or even country. While this has made the market even more competitive, it also presents a myriad of opportunities for companies who are prepared to embrace a global hiring strategy.

Demand for developers outstrips local supply

The biggest reason why your company should embrace a global hiring strategy is simple: There are more companies hiring developers than there are available developers.

David Aston, CEO of NextWave-Infinium, explained the shortage of talent in the Dutch tech sector that prompted their decision to hire data engineers from South Africa.

“At the moment, there’s a shortage of data engineers in the market [..] When looking across the Dutch employment market, I recently heard that for every 100 people, there are about 130 vacancies. Within the Data engineering segment, the shortage is probably even more acute. There’s a shortage of really good people, who are able to make the jump to deliver on the complex projects we work on with our clients.”

With the high demand, the best talent leaves the hiring market just as quickly as it enters. Michael Holmes, Head of Software Development at Brsk, explained the problems companies hiring from a single location face:

“There's quite a small pool of talent for the amount of roles and positions there are [...] Definitely, the biggest challenge we see is just how fast the really quality guys get taken off the market.”

Further complicating this is a shift to global competition for tech talent following the rise of remote work. Now, any company from anywhere in the world can hire developers from across the world.

Previously, only Big Tech companies could take advantage of the global talent pool. Now, any company can tap into this talent pool without even setting up an office. Companies that don’t adapt to the changing hiring environment will find themselves at a disadvantage in growing their developer teams.

More competitors entering the market

The number of competitors, both local and global, increases every year. Traditional industries like retail and agriculture that enter the tech space require expertise in problem-solving, software architecture, and product design.

This combination of skills is usually found among senior developers and further constrains the supply of an especially in-demand group of developers.

Companies can’t assume that this imbalance will correct itself in the near future. In a recent webinar hosted by OfferZen, Hung Lee explained how companies need to factor this into their hiring strategies:

“The current environment that the UK has found itself in is that we have a massive candidate shortage in a single market. This needs to be baked into how we operate now.”

Your offer needs to stand out in a crowded local market

Developers looking for their next role are inundated with offers from both local and international competitors. This makes it even harder for companies that hire only local developers to make a standout offer to their preferred candidates.

By embracing a global hiring strategy, these companies can source quality candidates from regions like Africa, where there’s currently less international competition for top tech talent.

Strengthen your talent pipeline by looking internationally

So far we’ve looked at the challenges companies face in the current hiring landscape but it also presents opportunities for strengthening your talent pool by embracing an internal strategy.

Let’s take a look at how you can do that.

Remote work opens your access to global tech talent

The rise of remote work is a major contributor to a super competitive hiring market; it’s also an opportunity to access global tech talent. Many of whom are already familiar with remote setups.

More than 90% of software developers in South Africa and the Netherlands have the option to work remotely.

On top of that, remote work options are one of the most important factors developers consider when weighing up an offer. This is especially important to in-demand senior developers.

So, embracing a remote-first policy gives you an edge when it comes to attracting developers actively looking for their next opportunity. In fact, jobs with remote work options receive more applications than those that don’t.

Michael Holmes from Brsk explains the importance of remote work in attracting top developers to your company:

“Companies that are kind of pushing that office or hybrid work scheme are fighting an uphill battle, I think. Everyone's experienced remote working now in our line of work, a lot of people have seen the light. We don't want to go back to the office.”

We also see this playing out in developers’ reasons for leaving a role: The share of developers in the Netherlands who are leaving roles due to a lack of remote opportunities has more than doubled since 2021.

Apart from providing access to the global talent pool, a global hiring strategy can also provide access to talent from untapped markets.

Access to developers from untapped markets

Companies embracing a global hiring strategy also stand to benefit from access to developers from untapped markets like South Africa.

Not only is there less competition for developers from these regions, but companies can also find top tech talent that’s more affordable than local developers. For example, the average salaries for developers from Johannesburg are less than half of the average for London-based developers.

On top of more affordable salaries, the employment costs for South African developers are about one-third of those for developers in the UK.

Not only are developers from these markets more affordable, they also come from areas that share a similar time zone to most of Europe. Africa’s shared time zone with Europe is one of the main reasons why Equal Experts expanded their operations to South Africa. This time zone has made South African candidates even more attractive as it reduces friction between remote teams across locations and makes it easier for cross-collaboration.

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