Apples & Oranges: Comparing Workforce Opportunity Globally


Trying to compare a workforce strategy in any two countries is almost always like comparing apples and oranges. They may share some similar characteristics, but they are two very different pieces of fruit. In the United States, you may engage with contingent workers using a set number of processes for various operations within your business. There are specific tax policies and reporting functions that are automatically incorporated into your workforce management cycle.

In other countries, no matter how simple their regulations may appear, it is never an option to simply copy and paste your existing processes into the new market. While the United Kingdom may appear to be very similar to the United States in some ways (and yes, even though they used to actually be the same country), you cannot leverage contractors in the same way that you would in the United States. Unique tax policies, Agency Worker Regulations, Workers’ Councils, and collaborative agreements are just some of the reasons why a different approach is required.

Cultural expectations, worker behavior, basic business policies, and economic considerations will each have varying degrees of impact on how and when you engage contingent workers in any given country. And as we all learned back in grade school, you cannot fit a square peg into a round hole – so identifying these differences, understanding the necessary changes, and localizing your workforce programs is necessary to achieve your expansion objectives.