CEO of Aleph Integrated. Building a world where talent and hard work can transcend borders. Connect on LinkedIn.
When talking about outsourcing jobs to foreign countries, people often think of back office operations, call centers, customer support, IT, even textiles. But I found few who think about skilled positions like tax accountants and auditors – full-time professional roles that keep key business operations running smoothly. In my experience, it is not because these roles cannot be filled effectively by foreign employees, but rather because employers simply do not know that there is a pool of professional talent ready and willing to take on these high-demand and difficult-to-manage positions. fill roles or how to exploit this talent.
As the CEO of a staffing company that connects companies with professionals in Mexico, I speak every day with accounting firms, CFOs and other executives looking to hire accountants and other finance professionals in the United States. The story is always similar: they have jobs to fill, but they can’t attract the employees they need.
There are not enough qualified candidates to fill all vacancies.
Just last month, I was approached by a mid-sized CPA firm that had won a large number of new contracts and was looking to hire 16 auditors and a senior manager to lead the audit team. . And they needed that team fast. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to recruit the talent they needed. They were exasperated by the lack of qualified applicants. Additionally, the candidates they considered hiring, even entry-level candidates, had salary expectations that often exceeded those of highly experienced employees who had been with the company for years.
The hiring challenge facing American businesses is as unprecedented as it is systemic. In the final months of 2022, reports show there were 10.5 million job openings in the United States and 5.7 million unemployed. The United States also faces a decline in the number of accounting graduates every year, a trend that is likely to only get worse in the future. It is therefore not surprising that employers find it so difficult to meet their needs.
Many small and medium-sized businesses are starting to look elsewhere to meet their staffing needs.
The United States is not the only country in the world with talent. For example, our southern neighbor is full of bright, bilingual individuals who often have the same (if not better) qualifications than their American counterparts. In the second quarter of 2022, there were more than 466,000 accountants and auditors in Mexico, while the United States, despite having more than double the population, had just over 665,000 CPAs under active license. With a common border, strong cultural familiarity, and other advantages, I’ve noticed that many multinational accounting firms have begun to see Mexico as a gold mine for accounting and finance talent.
While Mexico represents a vast pool of culturally compatible foreign talent for American companies, there are also unique challenges. One of these challenges is the very complex and ever-changing labor laws that govern the relationship between employees and the companies they work for.
When starting operations in Mexico, it is essential to carefully navigate the setup of business operations and the negotiation of employment contracts. Although it can be a challenge and it can take time, I have found that Mexican labor law and the benefits it provides to employees contribute significantly to a healthy corporate culture and long-term business success. term.
Then comes the question, “If we are hiring overseas, then aren’t we taking jobs from the Americans?” Yes and no. Yes, in the literal sense that jobs can go to foreign workers. But not when you know that few opportunities are seized far national talent. There are plenty of open jobs in the United States, but many American applicants are simply not intrigued enough by the jobs and salaries currently on offer or do not accept these offers.
In many industries this is an employee market right now, and candidates are shopping around and taking advantage of more offers than I have ever seen in my 30 years as an employer and now in my role as CEO.
So what should companies do?
We live in new times. And from my point of view, these new times require redrawing the boundaries when it comes to recruiting professional talent. If you’re ready to start looking a little deeper, here’s what I humbly suggest:
First, consider what kind of positions you really need.
How often should the employee interact in person with potential customers rather than doing their work in the office over the phone or video call?
Second, be open to new sources of talent.
Outsourcing to talent hubs around the world can significantly expand your candidate pool and simultaneously reduce bottom-line costs, as salary expectations can vary significantly from the United States. In my experience, companies can save up to 60% on personnel costs for a higher caliber professional. than what is currently available in the United States
Third, understand new employee expectations, including remote work.
Companies are grappling with in-person, flexible, or hybrid work models. This is often due to the high cost of living in major metropolitan areas and the long commuting distances from more affordable locations. Moving departments to lower cost US metro offices or outsourcing offices can help companies create in-house and hybrid work centers with a high level of collaboration and team synergy.
Fourth, provide fulfilling careers, not just jobs.
The accounting profession comes with a certain stigma and isn’t always viewed as the fun, technologically advanced field that it is. Help individuals see the excitement in a role and where it can take them. Employees want to be fulfilled by their position and also by the prospects that are on the horizon within a company, whether it is foreign or domestic talent.
Finally, ensure connectivity and culture.
Staying connected and instilling a company culture in a remote environment is a challenge, but virtual connectivity, in-person gatherings, networking and relationship building are key to creating a work culture people want to be part of .
When you bring in foreign professional talent, include them fully. Some high-level professionals even have long-term US travel visas and can fly in for client meetings, corporate trainings, or networking events. With this practice, a nearshore office can serve just like an out-of-state location in the United States would.
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