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Tech firms expanding globally to tap talent 

Ben Wright

HR leaders are playing a central role in the global growth of the UK tech sector as firms expand overseas to recruit top talent, according to research. Contributor Ben Wright, CEO – Velocity Global.

The survey* shows that 52 percent of HR leaders in the sector said their firms’ expansion plans are being primarily driven by a desire to hire talented workers in international markets. The findings chime with evidence of a wider skills shortage in the UK tech sector. According to Tech Nation, which represents tech entrepreneurs, over half of businesses report a shortage of highly-skilled employees**.

Velocity Global’s research, part of The State of Global Expansion 2019 report, also highlights the key challenges facing tech-sector HR leaders when expanding internationally. Four in ten (40 percent) see managing employee immigration as their top headache when moving into new markets overseas, ahead of recruiting (38 percent), finding expert consultants (28 percent) and communicating over long distances with employees (22 percent).

However, despite this, HR heads remain overwhelmingly ambitious. Some 93 percent of those surveyed said the tech businesses they work for are looking to expand overseas. And although about a third (35 percent) operate only in the UK currently, just 8 percent think they will be purely domestically-focused by the end of 2019. 

Ben Wright, CEO of Velocity Global, said: “The research paints a vivid picture of the global ambitions of UK tech and, importantly, shows the crucial role HR leaders have to play in helping the sector prosper in new international markets.

“Businesses expand globally for all sorts of reasons, most often to grow sales and profits. Yet the findings reveal that though confidence among UK tech firms is high, the skills shortage is a very real issue. 

“Many have therefore concluded that by expanding globally into the world’s leading tech markets, they can gain access to pools of talent they would otherwise be unable to tap. This is where HR leaders become integral to the future growth of their companies.”

Alongside accessing top talent, tech-sector HR leaders also reported that their businesses are looking to expand due to Brexit uncertainty (37 percent), portfolio diversification (32 percent) and to access cheaper resources (27 percent).

Velocity Global, whose UK head office is in London’s Shoreditch, helps businesses expand globally through its International PEO (Professional Employer Organisation) service. This solution enables companies to hire employees anywhere in the world quickly, compliantly, and without having to set up an entity. 

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