Top talent embracing global mobility: Deel Tech Migration Report

How can organizations support employees who are in demand and on the move?

Top talent embracing global mobility: Deel Tech Migration Report

This article was produced in partnership with Deel.

If Masha Sutherlin could give one piece of advice to employers today, it would be this: start thinking more strategically around new structures of hiring globally to enable your people to move globally.

“Now that international assignments and localization-type moves are going away, HR professionals want to know how to support the business in a progressive way,” says Sutherlin, Director of Global Corporate Legal and Mobility at Deel. “I say think about your business objectives, but instead of doing what you’ve traditionally done for the last 50 years, explore some of the more creative and new approaches that are out there.”

Companies are no longer bound by physical proximity, and organizations should capitalize on this opportunity. Not only are there cost-effective ways to hire globally, but there’s also an opportunity to provide a level of flexibility that will give organizations an advantage in attracting and retaining top talent — especially in tech.

Though much has been made of the tech sector’s layoffs, Sutherlin points out that most of those people were rehired in a different industry within three months. This tells us that the top 1% of tech talent — people in areas like software engineering, data, and products — will be in demand regardless. But employers need to understand these top-tier experts are not looking for traditional forms of mobility, she warns.

“Now, they are very much driven by ‘Are you going to be flexible around my needs?’ And maybe that means they want to live in a village in Portugal, on the coast.”

See also: Why is Employee Global Mobility Important?

Reporting on trends and sharing insights

Especially following the transformative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world of work, companies are increasingly motivated to provide the flexibility required to meet the needs of digital nomads. It’s a lot more employee-led than in the past, with less structured support around the accommodation, but organizations are finding ways to balance the compliance piece with letting employees do what they really want to do.

When it comes to executing this intention, one of the biggest challenges that companies face is immigration. There is a need for an efficient way to provide employees with proper visas to work abroad, and that’s where Sutherlin and her team come in.

A young company at just five years old, it’s gone from offering mobility support to a handful of countries to establishing itself in over 40 countries, aiming for over 100, and supporting more than 150 types of visas around the world. The software was built to support legal drafting and a transparent application process, but it was clear to Sutherlin that her team could — and should — provide more in terms of sharing their observations and expertise.

The new approach to mobility was one of the major trends they decided to explore further. To that end, Deel recently released its first Tech Migration Report: Global Hotspots and Visa Demand of Skilled Workers in Tech.

“I get asked by everyone — our company’s founders, by HR professionals — what I’m seeing in terms of trends,” Sutherlin explains, answering queries around where people are going, what she recommends in terms of an easier jurisdiction to set up an entity, and whether there are any tax schemes to leverage.

“Eventually, I said there’s obviously interest; let’s actually analyze a larger dataset instead of me just sharing my anecdotal data. Now, we’re seeing these really interesting insights, and we want to share them. This is our first attempt at getting a little bit more grown up.”

Stand-out findings

For Sutherlin, a few of the report’s findings deserve to be highlighted, including the fact that UAE has marketed itself towards digital nomads, becoming a huge hub and one of the top destinations. While it shouldn’t be surprising, with 86% of the population expats, many people still have assumptions about the Middle East — including Sutherlin herself, who lived in Abu Dhabi for a time and learned quickly how wrong she was.

“It’s an amazing place to be,” Sutherlin says. “It’s super safe, it’s very interesting. I loved it there.”

See also: How to Get a UAE Residence Visa in Six Steps

One of the other top destinations, specifically for founders looking for an entrepreneurial ecosystem, did surprise Sutherlin: the United States still tops the list, resting on its Silicon Valley reputation to override any other issues, including what’s happening in the country politically, which Sutherlin says she finds fascinating.

“If you’re going to build a company, you go to the Mecca where all the cool, innovative companies come from — that’s the thought there,” Sutherlin says, adding that the popularity persists despite a restrictive visa process that contrasts sharply against other places that welcome newcomers, provide tax incentives, and offer a better quality of life.

See also: How to Get a US Work Visa for a Foreign Worker

Spain and Portugal come in at a tie for second, and there’s also been a huge uptick in demand for Canada. Sutherlin has high praise for the country, noting it’s “done some smart things” to attract digital nomads.

Unlike Spain and Portugal, where new digital nomad visas were created but the immigration system collapsed under the influx, Canada didn’t reinvent the wheel. If someone has an H-1B visa, they fall under the existing Business Visitor category, and the move is fast-tracked.

This is brilliant, Sutherlin says because it targets a certain profile: if someone has an H-1B, they’re likely a highly skilled, highly paid professional. Canada is using resources already in place and is able to measure to see if they’re bringing in the right talent and determine whether or not to double down on the strategy.

“These are people who have great jobs and are allowed to have flexibility because they’re so in demand,” she says. “It’s a really innovative approach, and they didn’t break their system. A lot of other countries are looking at Canada and evaluating how the changes worked for them last year.”

See also: How to Get a Work Visa and Permit in Canada

Don’t have to go it alone

Creating a global workforce can be intimidating, with many considerations, but organizations don’t have to go it alone. They can forge strategic partnerships — including with solution-providers like Deel who are well-equipped to take care of the heavy lifting.

From establishing an entity abroad and setting up global payroll to managing the workforce or handling immigration, “we have products that can do all of those pieces if a company is ready to go into a country and grow, even if it’s a few employees at a time,” says Sutherlin.

“They may just be testing the market, but there are a lot of legal structures to put in place and maintain in order to do that, and that can be a significant barrier, especially for new businesses. This is where Deel’s expertise comes into play, and “we’re just getting started,” Sutherlin notes.

See also: A Guide to EOR-Sponsored Visas for Enterprise Businesses

“I’m helping people build something I’m passionate about, which is the future of global work, and it makes for an engaging, focused, and challenging experience,” she says. “There’s no greater accomplishment for my team and me than partnering with organizations and navigating to the ideal outcome together.”

For more information on the tech migration, download the full report here or reach out to Deel today.

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