Support local: It’s something we’re all encouraged to do these days. It conjures images of a strong, close-knit community willing and eager to support its own. But it’s not that easy to be a local company these days.

Companies across the globe are finding themselves stuck in a tech talent gap—you could even call it a global tech talent “war.” A shortage of skilled tech labor is pushing more and more companies to hire talented people wherever they can find them. Couple that with the work-from-anywhere shift brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, and you have yourself a global labor force working remotely. That company on the corner could easily have employees who’ve never set foot in the city, never mind the country.

And it’s becoming more and more likely that those employees could be paid thanks to investors from other countries. While I’ve noticed that Canadian companies often hold back from international funding or even hiring globally because they’re afraid of what that looks like for them, their reluctance means they’re linking their rate of growth and innovation to how much capital local investors are willing to risk. If a company wants to grow, the chances are pretty good that, eventually, they’ll consider looking for international financial backing.

So how does a business keep its local creds when it’s being run by a remote workforce and funded by global investors? The answer lies in being local while thinking global: bringing in global money but spending it locally, investing international capital into your local roots.

I’ve experienced this firsthand with our recent merger with Accolite Digital. Xerris owes much of its success to the support of our local clients and employees, and now that we’ve gone global, we still want to maintain our local presence. With our merger, we continue to invest and build our Canadian talent pool, but we can also access near- and off-shore talent to serve our Canadian clients. We can keep our expert knowledge of our local market and beef up our services by bringing in workers from across the globe.

There are plenty of reasons to hire globally. It enhances efficiency and productivity, it helps you hire the best person for the job no matter where that person may be located, and it also brings in a healthy mix of personalities and perspectives. In my experience, it radically increases problem-solving capabilities and brings diverse critical thinking skills to the table.

But there’s a huge issue with hiring globally: the salary disparity within and across countries and job markets. Do you benchmark pay based on an employee’s location (if you even know it reliably)—even if that means paying someone in, say, Seattle differently than you pay someone in Saskatoon who is doing exactly the same job? Or do you pay everyone in the same role equally, no matter where they’re based—even if that means you’re paying wildly more or less than other employers in certain markets? Or do you just come up with something customized for your company?

The one thing you can’t afford to do is ignore the problem—because salary disparity can create real problems within teams and between global offices.

I don’t have the answer to the problem of the global salary gap, but I do know that we have to talk about it openly—and that there has to be a shift in the way we think about local and global economies. The pandemic has blurred geographical boundaries and forced so many of us to work remotely for so long that I can’t help but wonder: What does being local even mean anymore?

I think these are questions that the world is just starting to grapple with. As we move into working in a post-pandemic world, perhaps now is the best time to be local while thinking global. What do you think?

The author, Jeremy Tooley, is CEO at Xerris, an Accolite Digital Company.

The article has been originally published in Forbes Technology Council.

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