Talent Beyond Boundaries: The impact of hiring displaced talent on the mobility industry

Talent Beyond Boundaries - Virtual Experience ProgramsFor those with experience in the mobility industry, it’s easy to imagine that you’ve seen and done it all, having been exposed to so many different kinds of customers from all areas of the globe.

It’s common knowledge that the talent market is highly competitive, with mobility companies going to great lengths to source fantastic candidates to join their organisations – however, there is one particular talent pool that for the most part, goes overlooked.

We sat down with Holly Asquith, Head of UK Programmes for Talent Beyond Boundaries, an organisation that seeks to connect potential employers with potential employees, all of whom are refugees. Holly provides her expertise on how tapping into this reserve of overlooked talent can not only benefit the candidate themselves, but also the company they join, helping to solidify mobility as a force for good.

Can you provide an overview of Talent Beyond Boundaries, their aims and the work being done?

Talent Beyond Boundaries is a global non-profit organisation working to ensure that refugees and other displaced people have equal access to skilled migration opportunities. We do this by connecting hiring employees to skilled refugees in need of routes to safety and are ready to put their professional experience into practice. The organisation works with governments, partners and the private sector to design tailored immigration programmes that ensure refugees and other displaced people have equal access to these skilled migration pathways as well as humanitarian and protection programmes. So far, over 1600 refugees have secured a durable solution to their displacement through Talent Beyond Boundaries, and over the next five years, we aim to help more than 15,000 refugees relocate to stable lives. We currently have partners working in Australia, North America, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia and of course, the UK.

What are the most common skill sets that you see amongst refugees?

We’ve really seen that the skills and professional experience of registered individuals spans across some of the biggest industries worldwide. We work around a central piece of software and database for displaced talent which now has over 106,100 profiles of individuals that have the skills and professional experience that employers and HR teams are looking for. So for the candidates themselves, it works a little like a LinkedIn profile, where you register your skills, professional experience, qualifications and fields of expertise. The database covers a range of some of the most sought-after professions, such as the medical field, legal, engineering and technology, just to name a few. We’ve also seen that many of the candidates that have been put forward for job opportunities have very specific skill sets and are already trained in a particular sort of coding and software for IT opportunities or in key medical equipment operations for those working in healthcare, etc.

What unique benefits can refugees bring to a company, that you would perhaps not get from a candidate who didn’t have that sort of life experience?

There are numerous benefits that come with hiring displaced talent at the organisational level, on both economic and personal levels as well. For example, 94% of employers surveyed who have hired through our programme reported that they were highly likely to recruit again, with a number of them returning for additional hires, which is a testament to the value of the candidates they have employed. We’ve also seen that employees relocating through our programme have tended to have a high sense of loyalty to their employer, largely because they have essentially been liberated from unsafe and precarious conditions. We’ve seen retention rates in the UK of 97% after one year of employment, so this loyalty is really quite transparent. Existing teams within the hiring organisations have also seen a boost in morale and a sense of pride to be working on these kinds of recruitment processes, especially given the positive social impact. We work with partners such as the International Organisation for Migration, which can provide training on the context of displacement for existing employees before they welcome new recruits, which likely contributes to this. Lastly, one of the direct benefits of hiring displaced individuals is the multicultural experience that they can bring to their new teams, such as new languages, view points and ways of working that enrich the workplace and internal work environment.

Can you share any success stories of people you’ve helped to move?

Thankfully, we’ve got no shortage of success stories from the candidates we’ve relocated, with one particular story being Maria, who is now living in Sheffield and using her law experience working in a global immigration firm. Now working as a paralegal, originally from Afghanistan, Maria lost her job and ability to work as a woman upon the Taliban takeover. She also, of course, feared for her and her family’s safety. Despite having all of the necessary qualifications and experience working in the legal field, she couldn’t find a way out of her situation until she registered on our talent catalogue and was consequently matched with the law firm that she now works with. Her credentials were particularly impressive, and she is now working in a highly competitive field as a result, with her husband and two small children lifted to safety and set up for a new life in the UK. There are thousands of people like Maria who are ready to start working, and they just need that opportunity to take the first step.

What advice would you give to HR leaders who might be thinking of employing a displaced individual who may not know where to start?

Initially, I would encourage employers to be part of Talent Beyond Boundaries’ scheme to lead the way on displaced talent mobility. As of November 2023, the number of displaced people worldwide is 114 million people , so the work we do aims to draw attention to labour mobility and the issue at hand. We work with all types of organisations, from companies with 14 employees to 40,000, providing help at every step of the way. I would suggest that HR leaders take the leap and get in touch and speak to our team so that we can ask you all the right questions, from what structures your business has in place, to what information we can give you to help make the case at your organisation and push things forward.

As the world of work continues to change and the social and cultural values of employers becoming increasingly key to attracting and retaining talent, organisations are increasingly looking to hire refugees or displaced persons. Bringing a wealth of benefits to a business, from helping address skills shortages and nurture a diverse and ambitious workforce, hiring displaced individuals should not be overlooked.

If you’re looking to request to hire a displaced person in your organization, or if you want to learn more about Talent Beyond Boundaries, please visit their request to hire page. Alternatively, you can contact Holly directly for any enquires or further guidance.

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