When I log on to work each day, I am greeted by a stream of “good mornings” from my teammates in Kenya, in Jordan, in Amsterdam, in Canada. The work from our EMEA team is seamlessly passed on to our Americas team who, at the end of their day, pass it along to our APAC team, keeping the momentum going in a virtuous loop as projects follow the sun. I set my hours to work when and where I am happiest and most productive, and my hundreds of coworkers are able to do the very same.
As a marketing leader, I also have to crunch the numbers. In a distributed work environment, my team’s workspace costs are next to nothing—no HQ, no office. My team’s salary expenses are materially different than a high-cost, hyperlocal company’s—I am able to pay competitively in every market and significantly lift the salary ceiling for teammates in emerging markets. My average teammate salary is close to $100,000, compared to $130,000+ in typical VC-backed roles.
This way of working is the right answer for us at Oyster, and for thousands of other companies around the globe (check out the story of Juno).
And it’s an especially important and urgent opportunity in times like these, when markets turn and uncertainty increases.
Global hiring makes companies more efficient, more resilient, more socially impactful, more productive, and more diverse.
These are critically important outcomes for companies in today’s day and age. The world, and specifically the tech industry, is entering an uncertain financial period that’s marked by rising interest rates, COVID legacy, and geopolitical disruptions, which are pushing businesses in the direction of cash-consciousness and operational efficiency.
Historically, such challenges would’ve encouraged businesses to slow down or press pause on their employment plans as a conservative measure, decimating their growth potential and ability to meet consumer demands.
But now there’s another option.
The global employment model presents a new approach to counteracting economic crises, especially those that are closely linked to a business location. Global employment enables you to do the following:
Let’s talk about each of these factors in more detail.
Today, businesses have an opportunity to compete for top global talent and compensate above local pay rates, while still extending their runway and avoiding the increasing costs in certain premium talent markets. This empowers businesses to choose cost-conscious growth and employment over hiring freezes and layoffs, and it places emerging markets at the forefront for employment.
Instead of cutting hiring altogether due to cost limitations in premium locations, companies have the choice to diversify their hiring.
We are still hiring at Oyster (see our open roles here). We are living this global mission ourselves. We are shifting more aggressively to hire outside of high-cost cities and to bring in talent that would otherwise not have the opportunity to work for a high-growth tech company in their local markets.
(For many Oyster employees, this is the first time they’ve landed a job outside their home country.)
We see this reflected in our salary figures internally.
And the distinction is even more stark for technical roles like engineers.
At Oyster, our mission is to create a more equal world by making it possible for companies everywhere to hire people anywhere. We believe in a future where everyone has access to great opportunities and an equal playing field. But in order to get there, we need to turn companies toward global hiring.
This is not a race to the compensation “floor.” In fact, in almost every instance of hiring in emerging markets, we are creating new “ceilings.”
We’re lucky to play a big role in this movement with our Oyster platform. Twenty-five percent of the team members employed through Oyster live in emerging markets (defined using the United Nations Human Development Index). The time to hire from these markets is as fast or faster than hiring anywhere else in the world.
You can source great, global talent from a number of places. For starters, we’ve created a Talent Marketplace within the Oyster app; you can sign up for a free account to access this tool. We’ve connected with talent partners around the globe to help source for a variety of roles. Simply enter the role you’d like to hire for, choose the location you’d like to source from, and we will show you a list of partners who can help. We’ll even facilitate the introduction.
There are also a host of job boards that allow you to attract global talent. Plus, you can use these boards to research where other companies are listing their roles, which may give you a sense of where the talent might be.
Once you find great global talent to hire, you can use a platform like Oyster to handle all the ins and outs of global employment—everything from contracts to benefits. The question of compensation is one of the biggest unknowns when hiring in a new location. We often advise companies to set a budget for the role and do research on the market using tools that aggregate salary data, as well as work to understand the candidate’s needs and expectations. (OpenComp, Pave, and Payscale are a few widely-used compensation tools.) Don’t anchor on the lowest number; aim to pay fairly and reasonably. It’s a bit of an art, but worth the effort because doing so yields great talent and loyal employees.
Along with lowering cost of labor and experiencing capital efficiency gains, companies who hire globally are also able to elevate talent from countries that have traditionally lacked the opportunity to participate in as many roles before, particularly in the tech sector.
Hiring talent in global markets can also help companies:
In our Oyster impact report, we projected $50 million in total-dollar flow per annum going into emerging markets by the end of 2022, based on hiring data from the Oyster platform and thanks to socially-impactful companies looking to hire beyond traditional talent centers.
As tech companies point their hiring toward the developed world and uplift these economies by (typically) paying more than local salaries, we are on a path to making the world more equal. Look at the alternative: If global talent were hired only in their local markets, they would have no option to receive payment above local market salaries.
Traditionally, one of the largest business expenses for companies is overhead, driven by the rent and maintenance of an IRL headquarters location. The cost to keep an office—especially in cities like San Francisco, New York, or London—can be prohibitive.
The pandemic allowed many companies to rethink their office plans. Now that return-to-office is on the agenda for many, global hiring provides an opportunity to rethink HQ for good.
Take Buffer as an example. The technology startup held office space in San Francisco for its first four years while building a fully distributed team around the world. As the team grew—with more and more people spread out globally—a physical office location in an expensive US city no longer made business sense.
Buffer saved $100,000 by ditching the office. (And this was in 2015 when office costs were way lower.)
It probably comes as no surprise that when employees are able to work from where they are happiest, they become more productive. Several studies have put data behind this theory.
Most recently, a study by McKinsey showed that more and more employers are seeing better productivity from their remote workers versus their in-office staff. A Stanford research team also found that employees are more productive when working from home versus the office, and that the increase in productivity keeps improving year-over-year.
Even before the pandemic, this trend held true: 77 percent of employees who worked remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, 30 percent claimed to do more work in less time, and 24 percent did more work in the same period of time.
At Oyster, we see diversity across our team through a number of different lenses, all of which have been augmented by our ability to hire from anywhere. We have greater gender diversity, ethnic diversity, geographic diversity, etc.
We feel the impact of additional perspectives on our business, and many others have felt the same within their companies. McKinsey’s semiannual report on diversity in business points out:
“Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.”
Harvard Business Review makes an important point: it’s not enough simply to check the box for a diversity number. You must also be deliberate about learning from each other’s differences and “foster inquiry, egalitarianism, and learning.”
As a global employment platform with a mission to create a more equal world by making it possible for companies anywhere to hire people everywhere, Oyster is positioned to help employ talent across the world and in emerging markets.
Globally distributing work can both make the world a more resilient place and make businesses more efficient.
We’d love to help your company on this path toward hiring “beyond.”
Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.