The modern workforce is changing at unprecedented speed, and the dramatic shifts represent huge challenges and opportunities in the world of recruiting. The nature of work is changing, and that means the people hired to do the work will approach it differently as well.

Assuming that the current trends continue, the number of people in the “gig economy” will continue to grow. The changes are so rapid, in fact, that the term “gig work” has already started to mean something different than it meant half a decade earlier. Traditionally, gigs were freelance jobs that companies chose to outsource, often because the jobs were too small for regular employees.

Today, gig work also refers to micro-tasks such as doing a delivery for a restaurant or giving passengers a lift through companies like Uber. They are handled almost entirely through automated computer programs. For instance, people order cabs or food through a website, and the program automatically sends a notification to a driver in the area.

The modern-style gigs are no longer done through agencies or even word of mouth. Recruiters are not part of that particular branch of the new economy.

Automation Enters the White-Collar Workplace

Uber-style automation is part of a revolution already taking place in the modern office. It’s becoming increasingly common for companies to implement “bots” to handle simple office tasks. Chatbots are often installed to handle simple customer service tasks. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has begun to take over mundane and repetitive tasks, like payroll and bookkeeping. That may mean fewer people in the workplace of the future, or it may mean that workers will be tasked with a new set of responsibilities, which take advantage of the uniquely human elements of the workforce.

There is, however, an aspect of the emerging new economy that will be a major boon for recruiters, and it may be the largest part of all. As business grows more global, companies will continue to need employees all across the world. Some of these companies will open entities in the countries where they plan to do business. Others will turn to a relatively new approach to hiring that leans heavily on outside recruitment. It’s called a Global Professional Employer Organization (PEO)/Employer of Record (EoR).

Global PEO allows companies to hire employees oversees and stay in full legal and tax compliance in those countries. It is part of the employment revolution taking place, and it’s worth a closer look.

How Global PEO/EoR Works

In the past, overseas expansion was limited to large, multi-national companies that could afford the time and money to open entities in any country where they wanted to do business. The process was slow, required a great deal of paperwork, and carried significant risk because the entity would have full liability for all of the employees it hired.

Once the entity was opened, it would also be complicated to close, so if the business failed in a particular country, the company might still have to pay taxes for a significant period after it closed. In addition, carrying out a proper payroll cycle in different countries simultaneously was enormously challenging. That led to a natural limitation on the number of companies that looked abroad for expansion.

Today, the field has been leveled for global hiring through the Global PEO/EoR concept and software solutions to payroll compliance. In fact, any startup across the globe can open a branch abroad, often in a matter of weeks, and remain in full tax and legal compliance.

The PEO/EoR serves as the official employer in the local country (which is why it is called the employer of record) while the original company directs the employee in day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. So the foreign company gets an employee to focus on tasks that need to be done, and the PEO/EoR handles the workforce management, including payroll and payments, all within the legal framework for the local country and in line with the salary and benefit benchmarks of that country.

Opportunity for Recruiting

Thanks to the Global PEO/EoR approach, a growing number of companies are looking to hire on a global level. Most of them need help finding and vetting the people in different parts of the world. For recruiters, this represents a boon in opportunities.

In some ways, the process is the exact inverse of traditional recruiting. A local market is no longer limited to the companies within commuting range. Instead of looking for employees to who need jobs, recruiters now look for companies seeking to hire the local employees.

To hire employees abroad, companies need to invest in local partnerships, find legal representation, learn about the employment norms such as the standard number of working hours, laws about overtime, and much more. A recruiting company, which would work in tandem with the PEO, would have the local knowledge.

That makes Global PEO/EoRs the perfect bridge between the traditional world of recruiting and the new world of work. The global workforce is already in the process of shifting away from traditional office roles. The office of the near future is likely to look different – with the distributed workforce becoming increasingly common.

The new approach to the modern office means more opportunities await those who are willing to work for foreign companies. For recruiters, it means that every local market has global potential, and local knowledge will hold an increasing amount of value.

Alec Sears graduated from Brigham Young University in public relations and business management. He is a digital marketing expert who has written for publications such as Venture Beat, KSL Tech, Lucidpress, and Business.org, among others. He currently lives in the Silicon Slopes of Utah with his wife.

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