Tackling the Skills Gap with Foreign Talent

June 4, 2019 Erik Prado

As the skills gap continues, companies must look for talent outside U.S. borders to fill key roles

By 2020, there will be an estimated global shortage of 40 million high-skilled workers. This number is raising the eyebrows of hiring managers and C-level executives alike. Gartner Inc.’s most recent Emerging Risks Survey found that in Q4 2018, talent shortage was cited as the top emerging risk facing organizations. In the prior quarter, talent shortage was the third overall risk. One way companies are addressing this shortage is by leaning on foreign talent for hard-to-fill roles that are also⁠—perhaps coincidentally—the most important to their organization’s success. Keep reading to learn more insights on utilizing talent from outside the U.S.

Understanding the need for foreign talent in today’s competitive talent landscape

Level of importance

U.S.-based companies have been utilizing foreign talent for decades. The rise of tech hubs like Silicon Valley has increased the number of foreign nationals coming to the states, and Envoy Global’s 2019 Immigration Trends Report indicates that need will remain. In the survey of over 400 HR professionals and hiring managers across the U.S., 95% of respondents stated sourcing foreign talent is either somewhat, very or extremely important to their talent acquisition strategy. Of that percentage, 40% said the hiring of foreign talent is “very important.”


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Additionally, 80% of employers expect their foreign national headcount to either increase or stay the same in 2019.

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Download Envoy’s 2019 Immigration Trends Report

Despite the need for foreign talent, companies are concerned what they future may hold against a backdrop of policy changes and proposed overhauls to programs like the H-1B lottery.

Where will the world’s high-skilled talent come from?

With the talent shortage top-of-mind, companies also need to think about from where it makes the most sense for them to hire foreign talent based on their needs. The growth of foreign talent from countries like China, India, Brazil and Indonesia is a dramatic increase from prior years. Looking at China and India more closely, it’s estimated that these two countries may produce approximately 60% of all STEM graduates by the year 2030.

Where will the talent come from? 

 It’s also apparent that the workforce of tomorrow will be more educated. In 2017, approximately 60% of H-1B holders held an advanced degree, while 40% held a bachelor’s degree. The talent shortage doesn’t have to be a deal breaker for organizations trying to remain competitive. If you’d like to get more insights on the current talent landscape and the most competitive job markets, check out Envoy’s interactive data map.

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