Since the pandemic closed borders around the world, Australian businesses across multiple industries have complained that they are strapped for manpower, unable to access the migrant talent that would otherwise fill the gaps in their hiring. But strangely, they're also the least open to hiring remote talent from abroad, even when they're equipped to do so.
This odd finding was surfaced by HR solutions firm PERSOLKELLY in its latest APAC Workforce Insights Report, released last week. The report, based on a survey of some 1,500 business leaders across 12 Asia Pacific markets, covers human resources and workforce management issues triggered or exacerbated by the pandemic - one of the top challenges being restrictions on global mobility.
Based on the survey results, 55% of companies that struggle to fill positions locally are willing to engage overseas talent remotely, and half are open to hybrid working arrangements. Australian firms have so far expressed only middling objections to the hybrid model, with a lower-than-average (41% to a total of 48%) number of companies wanting their employees to follow a "mostly working from office" schedule.
That openness disappears when it comes to remote overseas workers, though. 49% of businesses located in Australia are neither open to hiring remote talent nor equipped to do so, and a further 12%, though equipped for it, aren't open to the notion anyway. This is higher than even the numbers seen in countries with typically more conservative approaches to workforce management, such as South Korea and China, and it strongly suggests that tech firms, which have advocated for remote hiring and management throughout the pandemic, are outliers.
The report does not explore the reason for this hesitancy, but it does turn up challenges such as time zone differences (37%), the bane of global workers; language and cultural barriers (33%); and logistics issues (26%). It's worth noting, however, that these issues are also common to businesses in most of the countries surveyed. And firms in Indonesia, Australia's closest neighbour geographically, have time zone and language/culture challenges in spades - 53% and 52% respectively - as well as byzantine labour laws to navigate, but are still overall more open to remote hiring than Aussie businesses.