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Navigating the Global Gig Economy for US-Based Businesses

Learn how the global gig economy can accelerate and ease growth for US businesses.

Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Jul 10, 20244 minutes
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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In today's fast-paced world, the gig economy is booming, offering businesses unprecedented access to global talent. For US-based small businesses, hiring contractors abroad can unlock a wealth of skills and new perspectives. But, navigating the complexities of international hiring can be daunting. 

That’s where a global EOR like Justworks can help. We simplify the process, ensuring seamless management of your global workforce, so you can focus on what you do best — growing your business. Let’s explore the global gig economy and what options US-based businesses have for tapping into this market.

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What is the Global Gig Economy? 

The global gig economy refers to a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. It leverages digital tools to connect businesses with independent workers worldwide. This model offers flexibility and cost savings for companies while providing workers with autonomy and diverse job opportunities.

The Gig Economy in the Global Market

The gig economy isn’t just a trend following COVID,  it's a global movement reshaping the way businesses operate. In recent years, the number of contractors worldwide has surged dramatically. According to a recent study by World Bank, there are around 435 million gig workers in the global marketplace contributing significantly to the economy. Gig workers are in demand in developing countries and support inclusion by providing opportunities for women and contractors fresh out of college. 

Certain regions have become hotspots for freelance talent. Eastern Europe, for instance, is renowned for its skilled software developers and engineers. Latin America is emerging as a hub for bilingual customer service representatives and administrative support. These regions not only offer a diverse range of skills but also provide cost-effective solutions for businesses looking to expand their workforce without the overhead costs associated with full-time employees.

Considerations for Hiring Contractors Abroad

When hiring international contractors, it's crucial to evaluate their skills and qualifications carefully. Look for proven experience, strong portfolios, and relevant expertise to ensure they meet your project needs.

Understanding cultural differences and communication styles is also essential. Clear, respectful communication helps bridge many cultural gaps, fostering smoother collaboration and mutual respect.

Lastly, ensure legal compliance by familiarizing yourself with international and country-specific labor laws. Proper employment contracts and adherence to local regulations protect your business and maintain a fair working relationship.

Understanding Payments for Contractors

Paying contractors across borders can seem complex, but the right tools and knowledge make it manageable. Popular payment platforms like PayPal, Wise, and Payoneer offer reliable and efficient ways to transfer funds internationally.

When dealing with international payments, currency exchange considerations are essential to remain compliant. Exchange rates can fluctuate, impacting the final amount your contractor receives. To minimize transfer fees and avoid surprises, it’s wise to choose a payment platform known for favorable exchange rates and low fees. 

Setting up clear payment terms and schedules is essential for a smooth working relationship. Agree on the currency, payment frequency (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly or per project), and the method of payment before starting any project. Clear terms prevent misunderstandings and ensure that both parties are on the same page.

An easier option is to utilize a global EOR like Justworks. An EOR takes on the responsibility of managing payroll, taxes, and compliance with local labor laws, ensuring that payments are made accurately and on time. With our multi-product solution, you have the option to pay international contractors all through an easy-to-use platform. By using an EOR, small businesses can navigate the intricacies of international payments with confidence and ease, ensuring a seamless experience for both the employer and the contractor. 

Gathering Essential Information for Contractors

The foundation of a successful contractor relationship starts with gathering the right documentation. Essential documents include well-drafted contracts outlining terms of service, clear identification to verify their credentials, and a portfolio showcasing their value to your businesses. These documents not only protect your business legally but also set clear expectations.

Setting clear project scopes and deadlines is the next crucial step. Deadlines should be realistic and mutually agreed upon to keep the project on track. This level of clarity prevents misunderstandings and keeps the project moving smoothly.

Effective communication is the glue that holds everything together. Utilize communication tools like Slack or Asana to stay connected and manage tasks efficiently. Regular check-ins and updates through these platforms can help track progress and address any issues promptly. Video calls via Zoom or Google Meet can also bridge the gap, providing a personal touch to remote collaborations. By leveraging these tools, you create an environment where contractors feel supported and engaged, leading to higher-quality work and a more cohesive team dynamic.

Remaining compliant and organized with documentation that meets country-specific requirements, project scopes, and communication strategies not only ensures smooth operations but also builds a strong foundation for long-term success in the global gig economy.

Embrace the Global Gig Economy

The global gig economy offers US-based businesses an incredible opportunity to tap into a diverse pool of talent. By understanding what contractors are available on a global scale, evaluating skills carefully, managing payments efficiently, and gathering essential documentation, businesses can successfully navigate international contractor management. 

Exploring the global gig economy allows your company to access specialized skills, enhance productivity, and foster innovation. Embrace this new way of working to stay competitive and drive growth.

How Justworks Can Help

Ready to harness the power of the global gig economy? Justworks is here to help you navigate the complexities of hiring and managing international contractors and full-time employees. From ensuring legal compliance to simplifying payments, we provide the tools and support you need to succeed. Learn more about how we can support your global hiring needs and get started today!

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Written By
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Jul 10, 20244 minutes

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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