Many companies struggle to find talent in highly competitive domestic markets—especially talent with specialized skillsets. That’s why resourceful business leaders turn to international markets to fill roles. In fact, 46% of tech companies that expand globally look to hire new employees, according to Velocity Global’s 2020 State of Global Expansion™ report.
Quickly finding the right workers requires knowing exactly where to look. With talent at a premium in major international markets, leading companies look to lesser-known markets to hire. Read on to discover emerging markets for global talent acquisition in four highly-skilled industries: artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, web development, and fintech.
Ireland is the most AI talent-dense country in Europe. Many of the world’s foremost technology companies—from Google and Twitter to LinkedIn and Indeed—have European headquarters in the country. By investing in Ireland, these companies foster a culture that prioritizes research and innovation, which is clear from the abundance of AI centers in Ireland’s higher-education system.
To showcase its booming AI culture, Ireland established the AI Awards in 2018. These awards spur job creation, research, and product development by connecting the private sector with academia. More importantly, the awards speak to Ireland’s commitment to becoming a global AI leader.
While emerging as an AI hub, Ireland is already home to an exceptionally business-friendly environment. Ireland ranked 24th out of 141 countries worldwide in the most recent World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness report, receiving a 95 out of 100 for human capital. Ireland also boasts significant boosts in GDP growth and inward investment in recent years.
Despite these favorable conditions, many foreign tech companies overlook Ireland. According to Velocity Global’s 2020 State of Global Expansion report, only 8% of tech executives looking to secure new growth in Europe favor Ireland, compared to the UK (46%) and Germany (44%). As a result, forward-thinking AI companies have tremendous opportunities in Ireland. While competitors focus their attention on brand name markets, savvy companies recruit top talent—and gain valuable market share—in Ireland’s fast-growing AI ecosystem.
Robotics: South Korea
While countries like Germany, Singapore, and Japan are innovation and engineering hubs, South Korea flies under the radar as a global robotics leader. South Korea is the most automated country on earth, with 631 robots per 10,000 employees—eight times the global average.
To manage its extensive robot infrastructure, South Korea’s government invests heavily in its workers’ training programs. Last year, South Korea updated its Workforce Development and Training Act to focus on robotics and smart factory workers. In 2020, South Korea allocated over $400M for companies to invest in advanced technologies such as robots. At the same time, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE) supports the training of 40,000 skilled workers to operate fully automated manufacturing machinery.
The South Korean government is not the only entity investing in the country’s robotics infrastructure. KIRIA (Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement) executes the following initiatives to help South Korea emerge as a robotics powerhouse:
- Nurturing 20 major robotics companies as part of its five-year Third Robotic Basic Plan. As part of this program, KIRIA offers companies education programs focused on robot use and maintenance.
- Creating 30,000 robotics professionals in the country by 2030.
- Promoting a culture favorable to robotics startups. As of January 2020, the institute provides financial and technical support to 40 robotics startups.
South Korea’s investment in its robotics workforce coincides with its tech-forward culture. In the most recent Automation Readiness Index, a study ranking 25 world leaders on their preparedness for automation, South Korea earned the highest overall score. The country also ranked first in education—a fundamental prerequisite for robotics workers—and tied for first in the overall labor market. Meanwhile, The World Economic Forum ranked South Korea fourth out of 141 countries worldwide in research & development.
These rankings are a testament to South Korea’s penchant for pioneering innovative technologies, such as robotics. Thanks to the country’s ongoing investment in training programs, South Korea is primed to be a global leader in skilled robotics workers for years to come.
Web Developers: Ukraine
Considering the high cost and competition for developers in Silicon Valley, shrewd companies look to foreign markets to source top tech talent. Ukraine continues to emerge as a leading market for overseas web developers.
Ukraine has a rich technical and scientific history, stemming from its role as a tech hub within the USSR, and this identity holds true today. According to the World Economic Forum, Ukraine’s skilled workforce is growing. At the same time, Ukraine continues to increase its adoption of Information and Communication Technology.
That’s why it comes as no surprise that the country boasts a deep and highly skilled pool of web developers. Ukraine is home to:
- Over 190,000 developers. This number is growing by 30,000 every year and should reach 242,000 by 2025.
- The largest number of C++ programmers in the world. More PHP developers total than the US, UK, Netherlands, or Germany.
- 4,000 tech companies, in addition to startups that have since relocated, such as Grammarly and GitLab.
Because of Ukraine’s abundance of skilled workers, more than 100 Fortune 500 Companies hire web developers in the country. Similarly, global tech giants like Microsoft, Samsung, Electronics, Apple, Skype, IBM, Boeing, Ericsson, and Oracle operate R&D centers in Ukraine.
Despite the rich talent pool and growing tech community, many Ukrainian tech firms seeking unicorn status head for the EU or US, where they believe conditions for growth are more favorable. This departure leaves behind many qualified web developers seeking work. Over 80% of Ukraine’s prospective employees speak English, and US companies can hire these developers at competitive rates. Software developers and coders with three to five years’ experience, for example, demand salaries of $1,500 to $3,000 per month.
These employer-friendly labor costs, combined with Ukraine’s surplus of talent, make the country an ideal market for companies looking to source overseas talent.
Though large companies see the UK and Singapore as leading international fintech markets, competition for top talent is fierce in these markets. That’s why businesses looking for up-and-coming fintech workers turn to Lithuania.
Due to its progressive regulations and welcoming mentality toward new fintech businesses, Lithuania is one of the EU’s most attractive fintech destinations. Since 2016, the country has made a concerted effort to attract fintech business, thanks to collaboration from government and trade organizations. Over that time, Lithuania’s central bank, The Bank of Lithuania, prioritized accessibility to fintech innovators.
The bank now offers a carefully designed forum for fintech firms to test new products. Through this program, fintech businesses receive e-money licenses– enabling them to legally operate—up to three times faster than elsewhere in the EU. As a result, though Lithuania has just one-third of the population of London, it is second to only the UK in the number of fintech companies with EU e-money licenses.
Thanks to its commitment to business-friendly regulatory standards, Lithuania’s reputation as a fintech hub is on the rise. Consider the following:
- In the 2020 Findexable Global Fintech Rankings, Lithuania’s capital city of Vilnius was the world’s fastest-rising Fintech city—ranking ahead of global heavyweights like Moscow, Shanghai, Melbourne, Barcelona, and Stockholm.
- The city is home to multiple fintech study programs at top universities, along with several fintech accelerators and member organizations.
- Vilnius also hosts two industry events, Fintech Inn and Startup Fair. These point to the city’s growing prominence in the fintech world.
Compared to London, which many know as the world’s top fintech hub, Lithuania holds several advantages. Lithuania leads the EU in broadband speeds and fiber-optic internet penetration. And while hiring talent in London is costly, Lithuania has a considerably lower cost of living, allowing smaller companies to offer more competitive rates. Lastly, as Brexit creates uncertainty for the UK’s economic future, Lithuania’s fintech community grows. These elements combine to make Lithuania an ideal market for companies seeking top fintech talent abroad.
Expand Your Company Into Top International Markets
Going overseas to find top talent presents your company with enormous opportunity. By hiring from the right international talent pools, you gain an advantage over companies competing for workers in more crowded and costly markets. Partnering with a global hiring expert ensures your internationally hiring process moves is smooth and compliant.
Velocity Global helps companies onboard and manage top talent in over 185 countries worldwide. Find out how our expertise in identifying, recruiting, and employing international workers can help your company meet its talent needs.