Doing business with a UK PEO / Employer of Record
The United Kingdom can be a highly appealing country for expanding businesses. As one of the world’s most globalized economies, it ranks 5th worldwide in total goods imported, and 10th in total exported. The lack of language barriers, the standard of living, and other factors can also add layers of appeal for companies. At the same time, the reality of Brexit-motivated hiring freezes, as well as other possible staffing issues for start-ups in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are possible barriers.
The United Kingdom still has a powerful allure for new overseas companies, Brexit or not. Sectors such as Aerospace (2nd in the world), Financial Services (2nd globally), and Pharmaceuticals (10th worldwide) are all stalwarts of the UK economy, and are ripe for new business introductions.
For any new business, losing valuable time to sourcing locations and employees, interviewing and onboarding new hires, and obtaining all the necessary permits and visa approvals can mean failure before even officially opening. One solution can expedite marketplace entry and even continue to support ownership after you’re successfully launched UK PEO services. A partnership with a UK Employer of Record is a different approach that outsources just what businesses need in the human resources area – allowing the owners to focus on overall progress and profits.
We’ll list and explore the top-ranked UK PEO/EOR services below.
Why partner with a PEO/EOR in the United Kingdom?
Working with a UK PEO allows overseas businesses to eliminate a huge number of barriers and headaches. As they serve as the UK Employer of Record, they can handle hiring, payroll, taxes, benefits, and more, while the actual company operation and direction is left to the company’s owners.
Best UK PEOs and Employer of Record
Horizons has been assisting its customers with tailored, locally-based solutions since 2009. Horizons is a PEO/EOR service that brings in local experts for a whole suite of human resources help: recruitment, interviewing, hiring, and payroll administration.
Horizons promises to help reduce the risk involved in overseas startups. Using their services can help new businesses gain a toehold in a competitive UK market while postponing the necessity of legal entity setup. Their client base is broad, and their growth in new countries is laid on a strong foundation of local knowledge.
GlobalizationPedia identified some of Horizons’ key advantages compared to its competitors:
- A 100% Horizons-owned entity in the UK, staffed with HR experts.
- Native-English speakers with expert-level HR knowledge on-site in the UK (Manchester) handling all HR matters for your employees.
- Competitive pricing, and a scalable pricing model that gets even more affordable the more employees you hire.
- Autoenrollment pension system, making complex local pension calculations effortless for clients.
Global PEO is a well-respected global expansion company that has continued to provide superb guidance in recent years. The group is based in Hong Kong, but their knowledge base in other countries is localized and up-to-date with the modern working culture. Global PEO’s focus on providing cost-effective expansion solutions is a strong selling point for businesses expanding into the United Kingdom, and offers rates that provide strong value and remain competitive compared to industry norms. In addition to recruitment and hiring services, Global PEO also has the capability to take on a variety of duties based around entity setup, staffing, payroll, and a variety of administrative functions.
Globalization Partners has a robust worldwide network that covers 170+ companies. They market themselves as a platform-based solution for business expansion. Their UK capabilities include onboarding of workers, a multi-layered payroll system for your employees, and responsibility for the necessary tax filings.
What GP doesn’t take on for their United Kingdom clients are recruitment activities or other assistance that benefits from local expertise. For new businesses that need help on the ground in the UK, one of the PEO/EOR companies that can assist with turnkey office openings may be preferred.
Why are Deel, Remote, or other companies missing?
Deel, Remote, and other market-leading EORs are fine companies – but they may not be the best choice for hiring in the UK due to several factors:
- Such companies often prioritize hyper-growth, driven by investor demands for rapid expansion, over ensuring compliance with local regulations and protecting the interests of their customers. This can lead to potential legal and financial risks for companies utilizing their UK EOR services.
Example: A company focused on hyper-growth might encourage employers to hire de-facto employees as contractors, opening the client up to employee misclassification risk unnecessarily.
- In the past, we’ve seen that such ‘young & tech-driven’ providers may not meet the necessary license requirements for providing UK EOR services – as may take years to apply for – further jeopardizing compliance.
Example: The UK is a special case because it is possible for the client to have a local entity and still utilize UK EOR or UK PEO services. However, the client’s UK subsidiary should never sign the contract, since that duty falls to the EOR. Additionally, to fully protect from compliance risk, the employee hired on the EOR should work only on a WFH basis. Missteps on these issues, and others in the UK, can happen if the UK EOR or UK PEO is not expert enough.
- Relying on a virtual-only support team can make it challenging to address any issues or concerns that may arise, potentially causing delays or disruptions in operations.
Example: If there are no local support staff in-country, your UK employees may be left without answers to their important questions. If you go with a company that outsources their support staff to another time zone or to non-HR specialists, you risk losing candidates, or worse, employees.
As such, it is recommended to carefully evaluate EOR providers based on their track record of compliance, experience in the UK, and support capabilities, rather than solely on their growth and pricing potential.
Request a Proposal
If your company is interested in expanding your business operations into the United Kingdom, GlobalizationPedia can connect you with a PEO that best fits your needs at a cost-effective price. Fill out the form below and we’ll leverage our extensive database of strategic partnerships to provide you with a full rundown of the best potential PEO matches for your company.