Web Design

Should You Hire International Web Designers to Support Your Agency?

web design

Your design agency or marketing firm is off to a strong start. Unfortunately, you may have trouble finding enough web designers with the skills you need to keep up with business demand. What can an agency do when they either need to hire more designers than are available or ones with a different skill set?

As with any hiring practice, there are pros and cons to hiring out of your home country. Remote work seems to be the wave of the future, but how can you ensure the web designers you hire are the best fit for your brand?

Is There a Shortage of Web Developers?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of web development jobs will grow 13% a year through 2030. Figuring out how to keep up with demand and have enough employees isn’t an easy task, especially if you live in an area without a lot of technologically minded individuals.

If you’ve tapped out your local market or just want to bring in some skill sets you can’t seem to locate, consider hiring international web designers to support your agency. You can hire them as contracts per job or bring them into the agency as international employees.

Knowing what you might face ensures you make the best decisions possible for your current employees, future ones and your company. What are the pros and cons to hiring globally?

Con: Tax and Currency Concerns

You may need an accountant who understands international remote work. Depending on what country your workers are in, there are various tax entities you’ll contend with. If you hire your international web designers as contractors, you’ll still need to figure out conversion rates and payment methods.

There are ways to circumvent these challenges fairly easily, but being aware of them and that they might require an extra step or two is important. Will you need to hire a third-party to handle payroll management? What is the added expense? Weigh all these factors.

Pro: Embracing Remote Work

Since the pandemic struck and people were forced to work from home, the workplace has changed considerably. Now, over 4.7 million people work from home in the U.S. and 66% of the world allows remote work.

People are loving remote work because of the flexibility and savings on commuting. It’s also friendlier to the environment. New tools make it easier than ever before for companies to integrate remote workers from anywhere in the world.

Many workers are demanding work-from-home opportunities. They want more flexibility in their schedule. With an international workforce, you have the ability to cover different times of the day so your clients always have someone available to work on their sites.

Con: Language Barriers

If you have your web designers speak directly to clients, you may run into some language barriers. Even if the designer speaks multiple languages, differing accents can create communication issues.

There are, of course, workarounds. You could have the designer speak to the client over text or direct messaging. You could have a point of contact for the customer who then reiterates what the client wants.

This won’t always be an issue, but there may be times where you need a translator, especially if you also have international clients.

Pro: Embrace New Trends

One of the ways agencies stay at the top of their game is by offering up the latest design trends clients want. When you pull in designers from different areas, you gain different perspectives and skills. It’s smart to have different designers with various specialties and even different ages and cultures.

For example, you might find someone who specializes in mobile design. With more than 50% of all traffic coming from mobile devices, you need mobile design skills on your team. If you are able to have your team meet virtually occasionally, they’ll learn from one another and everyone’s w      Con: Time Constraints

Consider where your new workers are located and their time zones. It’s challenging to have a video meeting with a designer who lives in an area where night and day are opposite to yours. One option is to limit the countries you work with. The other option is to seek a time that works okayish for both of you and won’t make anyone too tired.

Unfortunately, with design, there will be times you need to have a quick brainstorming session. You might be able to use digital project management tools for some discussions, but others need to happen in real time. There are workarounds if everyone can be flexible.

Pro: Save Money

Hiring internationally can save you money, depending again on where you hire from. The exchange rate may be to your advantage, for example. Some countries have lower wages than others.

Consider the benefits you’ll gain and how much you’ll save. Another thing to think about is that if you can only afford to hire so many full-time employees and pay benefits, you can fill the gap with remote workers on contract until your business can support more on-site staff.

Remote Is the Future

One thing is certain, jobs such as design, marketing and office support are easily remote positions. The Great Resignation sees more and more people in these positions demanding work-from-home options or leaving their current jobs. If you’re going to hire remote workers, you might as well open up the candidacy pool to all qualified people.

International workers can fill the gap. Where one area has a worker shortage, another might have a job shortage. Stay open to the options and you’ll be surprised how well your multi-national team meshes.


Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design and/or tea on LinkedIn!

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