Local start-ups and SMEs are banking on offshore talent

The triple whammy of a global skills shortage, high salaries and remote working is forcing many companies to rethink their growth aspirations. While culture, reputation, social and climate issues remain on the leadership agenda, shrinking budgets and economic uncertainty have seen a recalibration of organisational priorities.

Close to 70% of directors and senior executives now say profitability is now their top focus, up from just 47% last year. The Financial Review recently reported a “decided pullback” on investment by top companies.

Organisations are exploring opportunities for profitable growth and testing new business models, or striving to manage cost pressures and risk, deferring investment and ‘hunkering down’. Either way, the message is clear: brands are getting back to basics and securing affordable talent is critical.

Global skills game-changer

While large organisations have long relied on offshore talent strategies, many high-profile start-ups are turning to remote resourcing to fuel growth.

Design juggernaut Canva has marked Manila as its preferred offshoring base for nearly a decade, expanding its team across design and marketing, customer service, human resources and finance roles. And it appears other ambitious innovators are now following suit: the $1.2 billion HR software start-up Employment Hero has staff in Manila, along with fast-growing tech unicorn SafetyCulture.

At the same time, increasing numbers of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are finding the employees they need at a rate they can afford in the Philippines. With corporate workers clinging to remote work – despite edicts to return to the office – distributed teams are unquestionably here to stay.

It’s no surprise that offshoring rates in Manila have soared over the past 12 months, as companies scramble to source hard-to-find talent and keep costs down. For managers now accustomed to hybrid work and ever-tighter budgets, the prospect of saving 50%-70% on salaries is compelling. And while cost efficiency remains a lead consideration for companies embarking on offshoring, gaining access to scarce skills is a game-changer.

Perception is the new reality

For many years, offshoring battled negative perceptions, due in large part to unethical operators and outdated bulk-hiring models. Language barriers, unskilled resources and arms-length SLAs contributed to poor experiences for onshore organisations, their employees and customers.

Today, modern offshoring models like Integrated Resourcing are revolutionising the industry. Leading providers offer access to highly skilled, hand-selected employees who are onboarded directly into onshore teams. Manila’s advanced education system and globally recognised accreditation bodies, coupled with a population of 114 million, represent a resourcing sector valued at AUD$47b.

“The pandemic effectively rebranded the offshoring industry overnight,” explains the founder and CEO of ConnectOS, Steve Evans.

“The acceptance of working remote put every employee on a level playing field, regardless of location. For people in global companies, using Zoom or Teams and being mindful of time zones was always the norm – but suddenly this cultural shift was universal.

“Fast forward to the current challenges of an entrenched skills shortage, reduced investment and expectation to do more with less, and Integrated Resourcing solutions are proving a lifesaver for many start-ups and SMEs. We’re seeing businesses tapping into offshore talent to help boost capacity in their core teams. They’re still hiring onshore, but it’s a more strategic approach. Leaders are looking to build depth and redirect their key people to higher-value tasks.”

Across the board, customer service, back office, administration and accounting roles continue to make up the majority of roles offshored in Manila. However, latest recruitment data shows start-ups and SMEs are opting to augment their workforces across a much wider range of skillsets and technical competences. Virtual assistants, legal, sales, software development and engineering roles are seeing significant growth.

Growth factors

In addition to cost savings, offshoring can help start-ups and SMEs drive growth by leveraging four key factors:

  1. Access to diverse talent: Manila opens doors to a large and diverse pool of skills and experiences, helping boost innovation. Canva’s Philippines country head says Filipinos’ creativity helped the company create new designs and projects that were often first tested in the country.
  2. Scalability: start-ups and SMEs face unpredictable growth patterns, which means every decision to make a new hire is key. Integrated Resourcing solutions provide the flexibility to scale teams up or down at pace, in response to changing business needs and market fluctuations.
  3. Focus on competencies: by outsourcing non-core functions such as customer support, IT helpdesk or administration, managers can redirect their strategic resources toward product development, market expansion, and customer acquisition.
  4. 24/7 productivity: large enterprises have reaped the advantages of overlapping time zones for many years. Tasks can be allocated and handed off between teams, ensuring that work progresses around the clock, achieving a continuous workflow and accelerating project timelines.


About ConnectOS
ConnectOS does offshoring differently. Our Integrated Resourcing solutions help businesses boost productivity, secure hard-to-find talent and reduce costs by up to 70%. From hiring one person to building a large team, we connect companies around the world with ready-now talent across multiple sectors and more than 80 job categories. www.connectos.co