The number of organisations with some technology staff working in a “fully remote borderless arrangement” has doubled to 58% in three years – with 19% of IT staff (in companies that allow it) now borderless
That’s according to a new report from Gartner, which defines a borderless workforce as “talent working remotely from different countries based on an employment contract made across national borders.”
The survey shows a sharp difference in US and EU companies recruiting borderless IT staff in India (you can call it old fashioned "outsourcing" if you want, you cynic, but it's evolving) with US companies (59%) nearly double as likely to have remote IT staff working in India as their European counterparts (34%).
Whilst The Stack has noted technology companies at both the established and startup level opening new offices over the past few months (DataStax and Firebolt, to name just two), hybrid working models are alive and well and that has driven a surge of interest in talented technologists working anywhere in the world.
Borderless IT staff are mostly building, supporting apps
The survey found that CIOs and other IT leaders were primarily recruiting software engineering/application development (62% of survey respondents) and application support (55% of survey respondents)
India remained the king of outsourced/remote IT support. It was the most selected country for borderless technology labour for European and North American companies. The UK ranked in fourth place.
Gartner analysts presented the survey findings during the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo, which is taking place this week. The survey was conducted among 288 C-level executives and their direct reports during the second quarter of 2022 to understand their willingness to pursue a borderless tech workforce.
Conversations The Stack has had with CIOs and CTOs has flagged strong differences in views on this.
For some, the pandemic-driven shift to a fully remote world was a democratising one which cast a new light on previously overlooked capabilities in remote support and other IT teams, which are now being nurtured on a more equal footing with local staff. For others, the challenges of ensuring borderless IT staff can be well nurtured, any nascent mental health or productivity issues addressed fast, and the challenges around brainstorming ideas around digital whiteboards mean getting teams back in a room regularly is a priority.
Gartner’s Gabriela Vogel said: “Today in the professional world, location is fluid, the market is global, and the talent competition is agnostic as we are all competing under the same flag, technology… countries are losing talent to other countries, the public sector is losing talent to the private sector, and all the verticals are in the same situation. There are no more competition boundaries, and business and IT leaders hire borderless staff where they have the biggest competitive advantage – what we call the ‘borderless zone’.”
“Hiring borderless staff requires business and IT leaders to make significant adjustments to their operational model, including revising their management techniques, infrastructure and technology, cybersecurity and data protection, and pay equity,” added Vogel – adaptations that most have made but which continue to need refining.