How has Covid Affected International Recruitment?

Published on
28 February 2022

Unsurprisingly, the global pandemic has had a substantial impact on international recruitment, that’s likely not news to anyone, but now that we’re well into 2022, are the pressures of Covid starting to wear off, or are difficulties going to persist?

At Quantum, our team of international recruitment consultants have seen and heard it all over the last 24 months. We’ve compiled our thoughts into this article, discussing how Covid has affected our day-to-day business, and trends that we’re seeing (and expect to see) as we move deeper into 2022.

Are people still less likely to want to leave their stable jobs?

In short, no! Labelled “The Great Resignation” by many, almost one in four UK workers are planning a job change. This has been prompted by the pandemic in many ways: burnout is at an all-time high, people aren’t satisfied with their wages, and many have realised that remote working isn’t just possible, but is preferable.

Many people have rethought their priorities and are now looking for change, and this isn’t limited to the UK – a Microsoft study suggests that 41% of the international workforce is considering leaving their current position in search of more fulfilling work.

However, more people looking for work doesn’t necessarily mean that more people are willing to move abroad to work; we’re still seeing ripple effects from the pandemic, and people are only just starting to look overseas again for their next career step. Generally speaking:

  • People are now less interested in taking risks with their career, family and location.
  • They are less happy to relocate across borders.
  • Good companies have bought a lot of loyalty in the pandemic through treating staff well!
  • People are wanting to work for companies that offer flexibility.
  • Companies have realised remote working can work (meaning relocating isn’t necessary).

So while there are more people now looking for a change in career, many of them are looking to stay working in the country that they’re settled in, making recruitment more difficult.

Hiring the right people is more important than ever

Hire the right people, they’ll be less likely to leave. It’s essential that businesses show off their true colours when hiring new staff.

Sure, we all sugar coat a little, that’s natural, but if your new hire comes into the business wearing rose-tinted glasses, when they get stuck in and realise that things aren’t quite what they expected, then they’re far more likely to leave.

This is especially important when hiring internationally.

If you need help attracting the right candidates, contact our specialists at Quantum. We have over 20 years’ experience successfully moving senior leadership talent and their families across borders.

Comprehensive onboarding is necessary

Onboarding international employees was a challenge even before the pandemic. Living and working abroad is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s not always an easy process.

Now, more than ever, it’s important that you have a comprehensive and engaging onboarding process when welcoming international recruits into your business.

Your process should address:

  • Culture shock – Help new recruits to adjust by running through social norms, inviting them to social activities and implementing a buddy system.
  • Language barriers – Having a rudimentary understanding of the local language works wonders to help employees adjust to a new country and culture.
  • Loneliness (separation) – This is not unusual in international recruitment. Ensuring regular communication with new hires will help them feel like part of the team.

Have we passed the worst of the pandemic for recruiters?

The last 24 months have been tough for a lot of people in many different ways. Here’s what our director, Tony Wright, had to say about the future of recruitment:

“Working as an international search consultant has definitely had its challenges over the course of the pandemic. We experienced a huge drop in demand from historic customers, with some clients struggling to transition to new recruitment methods (Zoom/Teams, etc.).

However, over the last 4 months, demand has risen hugely across the board, both at home and abroad. This comes as many open opportunities have remained unfilled for several months, and businesses are now looking for recruitment support.

Search companies are now having to earn their position as partner more than ever. It’s essential that they demonstrate a deep understanding of their clients’ needs, culture, opportunities and future.

It’s crucial that they can identify candidates from a wide range of locations, not just in their home territory, as the best candidates are often found on the global stage.

To summarise: search businesses are more in demand than ever, but they’re under intense pressure to deliver. Time pressures have been exacerbated by Covid, and many businesses have exhausted traditional recruitment methods, meaning that they’re in a hurry to identify and fill their roles.

It’s an exciting time to work in executive search. I feel that we’ve passed the worst of the pandemic, and that 2022 will be an incredibly busy (but fulfilling) year!”

International executive search service from Quantum

At Quantum, we believe that the right talent is out there for every organisation.

We draw on our extensive experience and wide-ranging international network to find the perfect candidates for our clients.

If you’re looking for international talent acquisition, get in touch with our specialists by clicking here.

Alternatively, give us a call on +44 (0)1564 774433, or email us at

We’re available for a friendly chat about your recruitment requirements.