international talent

In America, companies have the once-in-a-lifetime recruitment opportunity of the Great Resignation, but not everyone is based in America. There are millions of high-skilled and hard-working talent in other countries worldwide. COVID-19 has shaken up their world too and now they are looking for opportunities to connect with companies like yours. How can you attract the best of this international talent to your company? 

Competitive salary

Financial security is the main motivation for most workers, including international talent. Studies from last year show a steady rise in salaries – companies are now setting aside an average of 3.9% of next year’s total payroll for wage increases.

Many will be attracted to your company because you offer higher pay than companies in their home or competing countries. 

Most will not expect to be paid like locals because of their experience, education, or lower living costs. Even the US salary standard differs based on whether you live in Silicon Valley or Cincinnati.. According to research by Deloitte, 70% of companies use geographic differentials for pay and this rises to 85% for tech companies.

But make sure any geographical differentials (including pay rises and bonuses) are part of a consistent and transparent policy. Otherwise, you will risk alienating your talent.

Pay cannot be your sole differentiator though. Someone can always outbid you. But more importantly, it is not the only thing that attracts international talent.

Medical insurance and other benefits

Employee-provided medical insurance became popular in the US in the post-World War II economic boom as companies competed for workers. Today, most working Americans take it for granted. Not so for international talent; it is becoming a big point of difference between companies.

In many countries, public health systems are overcome with challenges and the private sector is too expensive. Many international talents are also nomads, chasing the sun and experiences around the globe. For both groups, health insurance is not just a benefit, it is a godsend. And if you can add income protection and pension insurance, you have the holy trinity of insurance.

A good culture

When you make yogurt or brew beer, you need a healthy culture to get a good result. The same applies to companies. Your company’s culture is vital to the realization of its potential and by definition the potential of its workers. Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, even went as far as saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

For any remote worker, whether they be in Kansas City or Kuala Lumpur, the most attractive companies have a welcoming culture: understanding, flexibility, and belonging.

You may think to yourself that these are intangible qualities that are difficult to achieve and you would be right. But every company can create systems to shape their company towards those ideals. 

For example, if you want to have a welcoming culture, you can create an orientation program that involves connecting recruits to real people.

Want to create a culture of belonging? Check your key meetings – are they at times that international team members can make? Are you recording those meetings or providing summaries?     

Opportunities for Growth

International workers will be excited to learn better ways to do things and to increase their knowledge. As crazy as it sounds, many will see America as the Mecca of management and best-practice and will be eager to learn from your company. 

You can cater to this by creating internal courses and workshops; video recording and course creation apps make it easy. And as an employer, you will also benefit from the productivity gains as recruits come up to speed faster. 


It’s not just millennials that need meaning in their work – we are all wired that way. Meaning helps us to connect to our work and motivates us. It doesn’t have to be about saving the world but that can be part of it. 

So however you connect to international recruits, dust off your vision and mission statement, and include them in your conversations and promotional material. That way, you will not only get a top international talent but also a talent committed to your company’s vision.

You need to stand out

Distributed teams were already gaining traction before the pandemic but now they are mainstream. This has made it easier to find and work with international talent. But it also means that there is a higher demand for the best international talent. By investing in your company to make it more attractive to international talent, you will also be investing in your long-term success.   

About the author

Lona Alia, Head of Revenue, SafetyWing

Lona is a social impact entrepreneur, Y Combinator founder, mentor @500 Startups, Advisor at EU for Innovation, and an international nomad.

SafetyWing is building the first global safety net for remote companies, remote workers, and nomads worldwide. It offers medical insurance for nomads and remote companies around the world. It is also developing other insurance products such as pension savings and income insurance. Its products are built and designed by a fully remote team of nomads distributed across three continents. 


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