The Benefits of Hiring Overseas Talent for UK Businesses

Rutherford Cross’ Mollie Rogerson looks at the benefits of hiring overseas talent in a time of talent scarcity in the UK.

Having explored the benefits of hiring overseas candidates last year, it is refreshing to reflect and see that this is continuing to have a positive impact on UK businesses in 2024. With a busy permanent market dominating the finance industry, the requirement for high-quality talent in the interim space continues to reflect this.

For a number of candidates from overseas, an interim or contract role is often a stepping stone to building their UK experience and expanding their knowledge. Over the last 18 months, 40% of the placements Rutherford Cross made in the ‘Management Accounting’ space involved overseas talent, including candidates from Spain, South Africa, India, Hong Kong and Nigeria; all of whom are making a positive impact in the roles they have undertaken with our clients.


New Perspectives and Ways of Working

Hiring candidates from overseas can introduce new perspectives and ways of approaching different challenges to your organisation, giving you a competitive edge. When diverse teams come together, new and different ideas and unique approaches are suggested, which in turn can lead to higher levels of productivity.

Every company will have its own working practices. Having international workers join the team can bring a fresh perspective, challenge the status quo, and increase diversity of thought within the workplace; all of which are often linked to increased productivity and an enriched company culture.


Attitude and Work Ethic

In the uncertain times following the recent pandemic, many businesses are facing new challenges, and having a team that can adapt to this continues to be vital. Many candidates from overseas have already demonstrated their adaptability by moving to a new country, often speaking a second language, and in some cases moving away from their family and friends. One Rutherford Cross candidate recently commented, “I wish to express my deepest gratitude to your team for the invaluable role you’ve played in shaping my career journey within the UK financial sector.”

With the desire to work and gain UK experience, international candidates are eager to learn new skills and information, as well as share their knowledge with the team they have joined.


Diversity and Company Culture

The benefits of overseas talent to UK businesses are evident, from enriching company culture, to introducing new ideas and ways of working. Rather than viewing a lack of UK experience as a negative, we are seeing this being positioned in a positive light within companies and finance teams who are enjoying the benefits of hiring international talent. Candidates with the hunger and desire to adapt, combined with the willingness to learn and grow, can be invaluable to any business and it is something we have seen first-hand through our own placements over the years.


UK Skills Shortage and the Impact of Brexit

Following on from the UK skills shortage in 2022, with 22% of businesses within the accounting industry being affected by understaffing, the impact of Brexit remains. Hiring overseas talent can lower the impact that the skills shortage is having on businesses, improving productivity and restoring the imbalance of workload in understaffed organisations.

In some cases, the benefits of having an international candidate on the team can bring access to a wider international network too. For businesses who are wanting to expand globally, or even those already trading globally, having someone who may speak multiple languages on their team can be advantageous and open opportunities that may have previously been overlooked.


UK Sponsor Licences and Skilled Workers

After successfully supporting our clients to hire international talent, and seeing all the benefits that came with it, we decided to take a leaf out of our own book! In 2023 we were successful in gaining a UK Sponsor Licence to allow us to sponsor skilled workers from overseas to work at our business. Our Group Head of Operations, Francesca Christophersen, recently shared her thoughts on the application and sponsor management process.

“Considering the amount of time required throughout the application process for the sponsor licence and certificates of sponsorship, as well as all the associated costs, it’s no wonder so many small businesses don’t consider investing in a Sponsor Licence. Many overseas candidates reach out to us for support after struggling to secure an employer who is willing to sponsor them, and it’s often only our clients at larger businesses who have an existing Sponsor Licence.

“The recruitment landscape has really evolved in recent years; now more than ever employers are seeking highly skilled workers who not only perform the required responsibilities to a high standard, but also truly align with their purpose and values. Suitable candidates are often unavailable, so it can be hard to find that perfect fit. Having a Sponsor Licence widens the available candidate pool and increases your chances of securing the best candidate for the role: one who will have a lasting impact.

“I certainly learnt a lot from the application process – what to do and what not to do. There is a lot of background reading required to ensure you include all the essential information in your submitted documents, and the Home Office certainly doesn’t make it obvious! Without all the compulsory data, your applications can easily be rejected, so outsourcing the process to legal advisers often seems like the best approach. However, this can be costly and not always feasible for small businesses who don’t have in-house support, so we completely understand why many businesses rule themselves out and don’t think it’s worth the time and investment.

“I’m happy to share some advice with anyone looking to apply for a Sponsor Licence for their organisation, having recently gone through the process myself. As well as demonstrating your position as an inclusive employer, it will widen your available pool of talent, helping to close the current skills gap and find that perfect fit!”


If you are struggling to find the right talent in the UK for a specialist or hard-to-fill role, or you would consider sponsoring workers in the future, feel free to get in touch and we can steer you in the right direction to get you started on your sponsorship journey: CONTACT US.

If you have recently relocated to Scotland and are looking for a new role in Accountancy & Finance, please feel free to get in contact with [email protected] or [email protected] and we will be happy to support your search and offer you our best advice.