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Attracting talent in global payroll: harder than getting a payroll approved?

Attracting talent in global payroll: harder than getting a payroll approved?

Are you a talented global payroll professional? I bet you are! But how easy is it for a business to attract your talent to their business, and bring their global payroll up to the highest industry standards? We’ve asked our followers this question: Do you find it hard to find the best global payroll talent?

The results are clear, and rather worrying:

  • 52%: Yes!
  • 35%: Depends on location & profile
  • 13%: No!

Well, we’ve come to learn that it is very challenging for businesses to attract you! Is this because there is a disconnect between supply and demand? And if so, why is this? I want to explore this together with you. I will reflect upon my 18 years working in global payroll and my conversations with peers (most likely including you!)

What is happening with supply and demand?

The global payroll industry is expanding rapidly as businesses continue to internationalize. Despite this growth, there seems to be a mismatch between the supply of qualified (global) payroll professionals and the increasing demand for their expertise.

Recognizing global

As more companies expand their operations internationally, the complexity of managing payroll across multiple countries and locations increases. This complexity requires highly skilled professionals who understand the intricacies of managing payroll that they likely know less about compared to their domestic markets. Compliance requirements also differ, and that’s not even starting on language barriers and cultural nuances! 

Yet, many businesses struggle to find such talent to support this growth. We can look at this gap from two perspectives:

  • Are businesses looking for the right profiles?
  • Are payroll professionals going global with their careers?

I have reviewed a lot of job postings on LinkedIn and what strikes me is that everyone asks for experience, a lot of experience - even for entry-level roles. Experience with certain countries, providers, and systems. 

But how important is this really? 

What if you expand into a new country, would you then hire a new person or train them? I would always prioritize skills, attitude, and the overall talent profile over specific experience. The other requirements can be learned through training.

On the other hand, based on many conversations, I think domestic payroll professionals can often be apprehensive about taking their career global:

“I don’t know this legislation or that legislation” “I have no experience in the field” etc.

I would argue that if you can do payroll for one country, you can at least coordinate it for other countries. If you know the core payroll process, speak proficient English, and have a learner mindset: you can go global. 

I always tell people in global payroll that it’s not what you know, but who you know. So, go and connect with people who’ve been there (like me) and educate yourself on going global. You can attend events, webinars, or even enroll in some global payroll training from PAYO.

Career progression, more than anything else

When seeking new opportunities, global payroll professionals prioritize certain factors that influence their decision to switch jobs. According to our survey:

  • 44%: Career Progression
  • 31%: Total Rewards
  • 20%: Empowerment
  • 4%: Other (please comment)

Career progression is the most decisive factor for professionals considering a move. Global payroll roles offer unique opportunities for growth and advancement, as they often involve strategic decision-making, leadership roles, and exposure to international business operations. Companies that clearly articulate and provide career advancement opportunities are more likely to attract top talent.

Total rewards, including competitive salaries, benefits, and bonuses, are also crucial. Professionals in this field are aware of their worth and expect to be compensated accordingly. Organizations that offer comprehensive and attractive compensation packages will stand out in the competitive job market.

Empowerment in the workplace, including autonomy, influence, and the ability to drive change, is another key factor. Payroll professionals seek environments where their expertise is valued, and they can make meaningful contributions to the company's success with a positive impact. Organizations, specifically global payroll teams, that foster a culture of empowerment and respect will be more appealing to potential hires.

Strategies to Attract Top Global Payroll Talent

Given these insights, what can businesses do to attract the best global payroll professionals?

  • Invest in Training and Development: Organizations should invest in robust training and development programs that equip payroll professionals with the skills needed to handle global operations. Get those training budgets up! This investment not only enhances the existing workforce but also makes the company more attractive to prospective employees.
  • Promote Clear Career Paths: Clear and attainable career paths should be communicated to candidates. Showing a commitment to professional growth and providing opportunities for advancement can significantly boost a company's appeal. (And make this specific to global payroll, perhaps even job rotations!)
  • Offer Competitive Compensation: Ensure that compensation packages are competitive and reflect the value that global payroll professionals bring to the organization. Regularly benchmark salaries and benefits against industry standards to remain attractive.
  • Foster a Culture of Empowerment: Create an environment where payroll professionals feel empowered and valued. Encourage their input in decision-making processes and recognize their contributions to the company's global success. Allow them to initiate provider changes and process improvements!
  • Emphasize Work-Life Balance: Global roles can be demanding, but organizations that prioritize work-life balance and offer flexible (remote) working arrangements will be more appealing. Highlighting these aspects in job postings and during interviews can attract talent seeking a balanced professional life. Global payroll can be managed from anywhere in the world!

What about attracting Gen Z? 

Gen Z, the newest generation entering the workforce, brings fresh perspectives and unique expectations. Gen Z is particularly purpose-driven due to their upbringing in a world marked by rapid technological advancements, social change, and environmental challenges. This generation has been exposed to global issues such as climate change, social inequality, and political instability from a young age, fostering a deep sense of social responsibility and a desire to make a positive impact. 

What are Gen Z looking for?

They seek meaningful work that aligns with their values and want to contribute to organizations that are committed to ethical practices, sustainability, and social good. For Gen Z, a job is not just a means to earn a living but an opportunity to drive change and create a better world.

So, make global payroll part of an overall purpose and a greater good. Clarify the positive impact they can make to colleagues, and the world through their payroll deliverables.

So, what’s next?

Attracting top talent in global payroll is indeed challenging, but not impossible. By understanding the key factors that professionals value and strategically addressing these in recruitment and retention efforts, businesses can bridge the gap between supply and demand. The journey to finding and retaining the best talent may be complex, but with the right approach, it is achievable and can lead to a significant competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

So what’s next for your organization? Are you ready to implement these strategies and attract the best global payroll professionals to your team? Are you as a payroll professional ready to take your career global? I certainly didn’t regret it!

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