More and more industrialized nations from China to Canada will be experiencing talent shortages over the next 10-20 years. For some countries, a burgeoning economy based on manufacturing and service industries is the driving force behind the need for more workers. In nations like the U.S. and the U.K., an aging population is expected to create an increased demand for foreign-born workers. This means corporations all over the globe must prepare to operate in a world with a much more mobile workforce.

What This Means for HR Administration

U.S. jobs that require extensive education and training will increase the demand for importation of skilled labor resources to supplement the local talent pool. Immigration and visa regulations are very complex. While some quota limits may be lifted on the number of visas issued in the future, the process of applying for and maintaining them is likely to remain challenging. HR departments will need to step up yearly internal training in both I9 and H1B visa administration to ensure compliance with changing immigration rules.

At the same time, even widespread immigration reform probably won’t have a huge impact on the practice of setting up shop in less developed nations. The profit margins that can be realized by tapping into a less expensive workforce will continue to make globalization an attractive option for many industries. This means corporate HR will also need to understand the issues surrounding labor regulations in each of the countries where their organization hires and maintains a workforce.

This is in addition to the need to expatriate American workers to fill critical roles in foreign-based locations. The competition to attract multi-lingual U.S. workers for relocation to other countries is likely to be steep. So, recruiting and retention for these high-value employees is an area of special interest.

Technology Must Keep Up

HR software will also need to evolve to keep up with the needs of globalized employers. Applications that cannot support multiple languages are too limited to be considered fully functional. The same holds true for modules that are designed with rules and processes that are specific to only one country. Companies will need to look for solutions that allow customization of rules for data collection and handling and that support a large library of languages. Universal Onboarding is an example of a software application that is constructed to be highly adaptable to fit the needs of multi-national employers.

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