17th August 2020
As a leading expert on international contractor compliance, 6CATS International truly has its finger on the pulse when it comes to trends across the globe. And with the on-going global pandemic impacting cross-border movement, we’ve witnessed a lot of change. As regular visitors to our blog may have already seen, we published an outline of the trends we’d seen in international contractor recruitment back in June. But things are changing quickly, and more recently we’ve noticed new, emerging demand and activity. In fact, our CEO Michelle Reilly recently shared her insights on this very subject with Recruiter magazine. Here’s what she had to say.
One trend that we’ve certainly seen is the number of agencies having to tap into local, in-country contract workforces where they previously would have used international experts. With borders closed and travel restrictions in place, there has been real pressure on staffing companies to find alternative resources where bringing overseas experts on board simply hasn’t been feasible. For agencies with limited experience of in-country tax and employment regulations, this has understandably created a whole new level of contractor compliance concerns.
Interestingly, we’ve also seen an uptick in the number of end-hirers seeking larger groups of expats where we would’ve expected just one or two to be placed. In most instances the reason behind this is a simple case of organisations playing catch up and bringing in more resources to help get projects back on track – a move which will certainly be welcomed by recruitment agencies as we emerge from global lockdowns.
More flexible contract opportunities
As we’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, there’s also been a continued uptick in the number of end-hirers choosing to allow contractors to work remotely from their home country where feasible. This is of course great news for those unable to travel internationally for their next assignment, but it does also present further compliance headaches that recruitment firms need to be aware of.
Individuals employed under this option will be working under two separate jurisdictions, and while the requirements are different across every country, the complexity of their working situation could expose staffing companies to a number of risks. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that we’ve seen an increase in the number of hiring businesses seeking expert advice to ensure their firm isn’t exposed to unnecessary risks due to the misclassification of an individual’s tax status.
Sector experts in demand
While it’s certainly a challenging and different time for everyone, the 6CATS team has seen a lot of encouraging signs. In fact, in July we saw a return to pre-Covid levels of activity, which suggests we’re on the right track. But where is this demand coming from at the moment?
Of course, it’s no secret that global demand for contract professionals varies country by country and sector by sector. There are certainly a number of industries that have been hard hit by the pandemic, but others are flourishing. Given the growth in remote working that organisations worldwide have noted, it probably comes as no surprise that IT and technology projects are driving a significant demand for expat professionals at the moment. Of course, in many instances, the benefits of operating in this industry are that you are essentially equipped for remote working due to the very nature of your work. So, for recruiters placing IT experts, the future is perhaps less uncertain.
There’s also been an increase in demand for financial services experts to support businesses that are scrutinising budgets and applying for financial aid across the globe – demand which is likely to continue as global economies face potential second waves of the virus.
Energy has certainly experienced a real rollercoaster ride when it comes to international contractor recruitment opportunities. Oil and gas has seen peaks and troughs of activity as we tend to see when oil prices shift drastically. In renewables, though, we’ve seen an uptick in demand for contract professionals following an initial drop in activity. With the easing of restrictions to on-site operations in some locations, demand for experts has increased, though travel limitations have certainly continued to impact the range of international contractors that recruiters can put forward for opportunities. Demand for experts to work on wind farms in particular has increased in recent months and will only continue to do so in the near future, provided country lockdowns aren’t re-instated.
Where’s hot and where’s not: country demands
Understandably, country demand will depend on the various virus-related restrictions that are in place across the globe. However, at the time of writing there were a number of clear trends that the 6CATS International team has seen.
With travel limitations still in place, opportunities for contractors to relocate for work have certainly stalled but there are a number of locations where we’re seeing an increased demand for in-country expertise. The likes of Russia, India, Poland and Romania, for examples, have noted an uptick in activity. Contract opportunities are also growing across Asia, though the political unrest in China is certainly having an impact. In comparison, though, destinations such as Germany, Spain and the Netherlands have seen international contractor recruitment activity drop as the virus continues to impact these locations.
What it is important to note, though, is that not all skills are available in-country, so while local demand is up, we have a backlog of experts that are lined up and waiting to make a move internationally once it’s safe to do so.
International contractor recruitment: why compliance is key
Recruiters will understandably be pleased to hear that the outlook for international contractor recruitment is improving. However, regardless of what’s going on around the world, compliance will always be key. Global authorities are continuing to clampdown on tax evasion and fraudulent behaviour. In fact, with many governments attempting to claw back some much-needed funds as the pandemic impacts local economies, many are becoming much stricter on tax compliance concerns. For recruitment businesses placing contractors overseas or tapping into local contract talent pools, protecting your firm from any associated risks is key. Why not contact our expert team today to find out how we can help you.