How and Where to Hire the Best Remote Workers for Your Business
It’s fair to say that the internet has changed the way that we work, engage with content, shop, and communicate. In this guide, I’m going to cover what this means for you as an entrepreneur or business owner looking to hire remote workers.
This guide will provide you with information you’ll want when hiring remote workers from different regions of the world. Just to be clear, this is not going to be another Guide to Using Freelance Software to Hire Someone. There are plenty of great articles that cover that subject.
What I want to help you with is hiring professional, capable, full-time employees from another part of the world who can help you scale your business. That could be a graphic designer, a content writer, a computer programmer, data-entry specialist, or any other role that can aid your expansion efforts. To do this, you need access to information about the local market in that country. Things like:
- What are the best places to look for a person to fill a certain position?
- What does a competitive wage look like for a graduate?
- How much holiday will your staff expect and is there any legislation you need to consider?
- What are the best channels for advertising your job?
- What are the best universities you’d ideally like to hire graduates from?
We’ll be covering all of this information in this guide. Specifically, we will be looking at how to hire best remote workers from the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Russia, and the Balkans. Let’s get started.
The economy of the Philippines is growing rapidly, at an average rate of six percent a year. According to the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, the country hopes to achieve upper-middle income status by 2022, and the young workforce is expected to do most of the heavy lifting needed to meet that goal. The median age for Filipino men and women is 23.
Economic growth is focused primarily around the major cities highlighted in the map below as well as in third-tier cities.
Overall, the country has a highly qualified workforce, with a high number of college graduates. There are over 200 universities and colleges around the country, which means there’s no shortage of qualified workers.
Eight of the top 10 universities in the country are based in Manila and in Quezon, which is essentially part of the larger Manila metropolitan area. When looking for remote workers for your company, it’s worth reviewing the top universities by vertical depending on your needs. For example, the top three universities for computer programming are:
- AMA University
- FEU Institute of Technology
- Mapua Institute of Technology
In the Philippines, the average graduate salary is just short of $350 per month. Wages in the capital are generally higher, starting from around $400-$500 per month. Salaries for experienced employees generally rise to between $600-$1,200 a month. Of course, starting wages also vary by profession.
Since the Philippines is a former Spanish colony, labor laws are broadly European. That means four weeks paid vacation plus 13 days of public holidays. Keep in mind that Filipinos expect to be paid an additional 13th-month salary, which is usually paid out in December.
This combination of a highly qualified, young, English-speaking workforce and relatively low wages has made Filipino workers a popular choice for overseas businesses looking to grow their companies. It’s a good place to look for virtual assistants, copywriters, IT support staff, and programmers.
If you are looking to hire an employee in the Philippines, a good place to advertise your job is Online Jobs. This is one of the largest marketplaces for part-time and full-time employees. Freelance hiring platforms like Upwork are generally more geared towards contract workers who are paid by the hour.
Some quick facts: Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world, with 264 million inhabitants spread across thousands of volcanic islands. That’s roughly 50 million fewer people than the US. The national language of Indonesia is Indonesian, and the median age is just over 30 years old.
For the last few years, the Indonesian economy has been growing at a rate of just over five percent a year. Most of the economic activity is centered in the large cities on the island of Java, where the capital, Jakarta, is located. The smaller islands of Bali and Lombok have large tourism sectors and are hubs for expats.
Indonesia has a mix of public and private education. The best universities are all to be found in first-tier cities on the island of Java. They include:
- University of Indonesia in Jakarta
- Gadjah Madah University in Yogyakarta
- Bandung Institute of Technology in Bandung
Indonesia is a great place for companies looking for programmers, designers, data-entry roles and other positions. In fact, while 20 years ago a large portion of successful expats would have been running a furniture business, it’s more common to find people running tech startups or running tech support for corporations based in the US and Europe.
The level of spoken and written English, especially for university graduates, is fairly high. However, you would be better off focusing on the Philippines or India if you are looking for a competent writer.
The average salary for a fresh graduate in second- and third-tier Indonesian cities starts at around $280 dollars per month. The starting salary in Jakarta is closer to $350 per month. However, Indonesians, like Filipinos, will expect a 13-month salary. This is paid out just before Idul Fitri, the celebration marking the end of Ramadan. According to Indonesian law, employers must also provide staff with medical insurance.
Annual leave for Indonesian workers is one of the lowest in the world at just 12 days of paid leave. With that said, Indonesia has one of the highest numbers of public holidays in the world, at 15 days.
If you are looking to hire a remote worker, it is generally best to focus your efforts in Bandung and Yogyakarta. Both of these are university cities with a young, highly educated population.
Another area to target if you are looking for remote workers is Batam. The island has a free-trade zone, making it the preferred operations location for a number of international companies with headquarters in nearby Singapore. It is a particularly good place to target for entry-level and middle-management programmers and CGI animators.
If you are looking to hire an employee in Indonesia, a good place to post your jobs are regional job boards like Jogja Karir. These sites are in Indonesian, so you would need to use Google Translate or be able to read Indonesian to navigate them. However, you can post your job description in English.
India is the world’s largest democracy with a population of over 1.3 billion people. Hindi and English are the two officially recognized languages used by Government and the judiciary. The median age in India is 28 years old.
Indian real GDP growth rate is 7.3 percent, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The low median age when compared to China could well result in the country becoming the second-largest economy in the world by 2050.
Economic activity is centered around the larger and primarily coastal cities. Mumbai is the financial capital of the country, while Bangalore is known as the “IT capital of India.”
India has a mix of public and private schools. As with most developing countries, educational standards in the public school sector vary significantly by region. Of the top five universities in the country, four are focused on science, engineering, and technology.
The best universities in the country are:
- Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore
- Indian Institute of Technology Indore
- Indian Institute of Science Bombay
As a former British colony, India’s labor laws are broadly European. Employees are entitled to 15 days of paid leave a year. This is in addition to the three days of public holidays each year.
While highly educated, university graduates may face a struggle finding jobs in the country. To create job opportunities for graduates, it is estimated that the Indian economy will need to generate five to ten million job opportunities a year for the next 10 years.
That’s not a small number, so it is unsurprising that the unemployment rate for university graduates in the country currently hovers at around 10 percent. As a result, many Indians are forced to look for jobs overseas. Case in point: the number of Indian scientists and engineers living in the US has increased by 85 percent since 2003. This employment gap is a clear opportunity for firms looking to hire Indian staff.
The average graduate salary in India is just short of $350 per month. Of course, this varies significantly by profession and region. For example, a competitive wage for a fresh engineering graduate from one of the top universities in the country is around $16,000 a year.
India is a good place to look for virtual assistants, copywriters, IT support staff, and programmers. Good places to post jobs for the Indian market include Naukri and Amcat. You can also use professional networking sites like LinkedIn.
For certain obvious historical reasons, Russia hasn’t typically been one of the major countries American or European businesses look to for outsourced work. However, this has changed in recent years, as many companies are beginning to recognize the wealth of programming talent on offer in the former Soviet Union.
To give you a sense of the demographics, Russia has a population of 145 million citizens. The median age is close to 40, and yearly economic growth is low at 1.6 percent. This stagnation is largely the result of sanctions imposed on the country following the annexation of the Crimea.
One thing to note is that hiring Russian workers comes with a couple of unique challenges, both related to the sheer size of the country. First, standards of English language skills aren’t the highest. This doesn’t reflect the level of education in Russia; countries with a higher number of native-tongue speakers just tend to have poorer English since there’s less need to learn a second language.
Second, like any other large country, Russia has a large economic disparity between rural and urban areas. Most of the money is concentrated in a few cities in the west, so that’s where most of the skilled workers are, too.
The real selling point is the Russian education system. In short, there’s a mix of seriously prestigious public universities and very high-quality, employment-focused technical colleges. In particular, employers should look for candidates from the state-run science academies in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Notable universities include:
- Lomonosov Moscow State University
- Saint-Petersburg State University
- Novosibirsk State University
Russian programmers and data scientists are globally recognized for their expertise. They are highly qualified for more complex tasks, and as such, they can command fairly high salaries for being remote workers. This can range from $2,000 to $4,000 a month—still less than the same position would pay in many US cities, but not by the same margin as you would find elsewhere. Other countries in the post-Soviet space such as Ukraine and Moldova offer similarly qualified developers.
Over the centuries, people have tried to divide the Balkans up countless different ways. For the purpose of hiring remote workers, there’s only one divide you need to know about. That is, there’s a mixture of EU and non-EU countries in this little corner of Southern Europe.
The first camp is made up of Croatia, Slovenia and Greece. Naturally, EU membership means that workers in these countries command much higher salaries. These countries are also all bound to the Working Time Directive, which means five weeks paid holiday.
Of the non-EU Balkan states, the two largest and most popular for remote hires are Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Both have very young, qualified workforces, and an average salary of around $400 per month. The education system is slightly odd in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina; the public universities coexist with American and EU-funded institutions.
The upshot of this education system is that levels of English are very high. University programs also tend to be very employment-focused, especially from the American University of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the European University Belgrade.
Also in the Balkans you’ll find Macedonia, which has found infamy in recent years as a fake-news mill. This might not be the reputation the Macedonian tourist board dreamt of, but it indicates a high level of written English skills, which could make it ideal if you’re on the lookout for adept content creators.
The Balkans are the perfect hiring ground if you’re in need of multilingual staff. In fact, in these countries, it’s not unusual for young people to speak as many as 5 or 6 European languages. On top of English, this typically includes German and/or Russian. This could give you a real edge if you want to hire a small number of people for international service roles or translators for your web copy to break into new markets.
Other Options to Consider
When considering hiring remote workers, it is worth keeping in mind that there are plenty of expats around the world who might be interested in the employment opportunity that you are providing. Popular spots around Southeast Asia where you’ll find communities of digital nomads include Bali, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap, Manila, and more.
Expats living overseas can be a good option especially if you are seeking remote workers for part-time positions. It’s a cost-effective solution that sidesteps many of the cultural issues you need to adapt to when managing a multinational team of workers.
Most cities or regions with a large community of expats have an active Facebook group or groups associated with them. These are good places to post your job and look for candidates. Examples of such Facebook pages include Bali Expat Jobs and Chiang Mai Community.
I hope this guide has provided you with useful information that you can use for hiring remote workers. I used the same research formula I have used for myself and for my own clients, with the aim of providing you with important information you’ll need when putting together your job description and advertising the role in another country.
Keep in mind that while this guide provides you the framework for finding great staff, you will still need to go through the process of vetting applicants to get the right candidate. This can be a time-consuming and frustrating endeavor, but with persistence, I’m sure you’ll find great staff who can help you achieve your business goals.