Estimated reading time: 12 mins
The world has become increasingly global, and while that comes with its distinct upsides and downsides, the opening up of the job market can be a huge boon for workers, especially those outside the United States.
The relatively large pay scale of American jobs allows remote employees to not only support their families but also save some money on the side.
Just because the remote job market is widening doesn’t mean that every remote job allows you to work from anywhere in the world.
Of the remote jobs available, numbers show you can only do 5% of jobs from anywhere.
This has much to do with setup and all the policies that need to be in place when setting up remote work positions, and there are not many companies willing to or knowing how to do this right.
The following five companies maintain that work from anywhere ethos, and we’ve decided to put them in the spotlight and offer some advice on how to score your long-distance dream job.
The Opportunity: Appen
You’d be hard-pressed to find a business better suited to expansion in remote work than Appen.
This company has been at the cutting edge of technological development for decades, but their focus for the past few years has specifically been on improving the machine learning experience through human interaction.
It’s the human touch that allows Appen to create more sophisticated and naturalistic artificial intelligence and making sure everyone has access to modern language and search technology regardless of their cultural or linguistic origins is at the heart of their business model.
It’s no surprise then that they’re one of the leading companies for work from anywhere model.
Appen’s original headquarters is in Australia, but they have offices in over 130 countries throughout the world, and they continue to be one of the biggest machine learning innovators anywhere.
Eight out of the top 10 technology companies in the world make use of Appen’s services but there’s a particular level of innovation in how they approach their corporate culture.
The company employs roughly 500 full-time professionals, but it distinguishes itself from a more traditional business model with its network of almost a million contractors.
That dispersed workforce is part of the reason that Appen has become such a successful and prolific business model.
It gives them access to specialized workers no matter what time of day it is or what cultural barriers they need to overcome, and the contract model means that workers have an exceeding amount of flexibility.
While Appen’s primary model is about helping people earn a secondary income through part-time jobs, it’s a model that can provide a sustainable and good primary income to many people throughout the world.
Work can range anywhere from five to 40 hours a week, and there’s a diverse variety of opportunities available depending on your interests and your skill sets.
Most of the jobs that Appen offers are all about improving how the internet works and expanding the value of the social media ecosystem.
The Lesson: Understanding Pipeline Listings
As we mentioned earlier, Appen offers hundreds of thousands of contract positions, and the fluid nature of the company means that there are often employees coming and going.
As a result, they have a tendency to use something known as pipeline listings where a single listing will conceivably represent hundreds or thousands of roles in the same position.
If you’re worried about the competition or feeling not entirely confident that your skills are appropriate for the role, understanding pipeline listings can help you relax a little.
When looking at comparably paying positions, make pipeline openings a top priority because there are simply more openings available to choose from and thus less competition to deal with.
And since they’re usually listings for positions that will continue to be in supply for a while, putting in an application now can pay dividends even if you don’t get hired in the first round.
The Opportunity: Cactus Communications
The international remote job market is saturated by companies based in the U.S. and Western Europe looking to make the most of cheap labor in smaller countries.
However, Cactus Communications is living proof of how the global job market can be beneficial to any business model.
Based out of Mumbai, India, Cactus Communications is focused on the pharmaceutical, medical device, and academic markets.
They understand that knowledge is power, and their main objective is taking professional documents written in specific languages and translating them for professionals in other countries.
As a result, their business model isn’t just a matter of convenience.
People who understand the linguistic and cultural nuances of a specific region are hard to find, and they are an asset rather than just an excuse to pay bottom dollar for employee services.
And this company has cast their net wide.
While based in India, they have offices throughout the United States and Southeast Asia. The capacity to bridge cross-cultural boundaries isn’t just a benefit for their workers.
It’s their whole reason for being, which means non-western employees with a savvy understanding of the target audience are an asset that command larger salaries.
Ideally, this technical knowledge should accompany this ability to cross cultural norms.
Since Cactus Communications deals in highly specific subject matter, people with an understanding of complex mathematics, medical knowledge, or scientific principles are going to be far more valuable than journeymen.
As a result, their contracting staff isn’t as expansive as what you’d find at a company like Appen.
They have roughly 500 full-time staff and over 1,000 in contractors, but they’ve processed over 600,000 documents for clients in over 160 countries around the world.
Cactus Communications is looking to hire the best of the best, which is the reason why they’re open to employing them full time, part time, and freelance employees from anywhere you can imagine.
The Lesson: Skill Sets Still Matter
Appen and Cactus Communications may work in similar fields, but they couldn’t be more different in their hiring practices.
The highly specialized nature of the work that Cactus Communications employees undergo is directly contrasted by their smaller staffing pool and their significantly higher salaries.
We often view global remote work companies as seeking an opportunity to get cheaper labor than what a corporation would find in their country.
But it’s important to remember your cultural experience as an asset and that your specialized skill sets can command capital if properly leveraged.
It’s important to not just see remote work as an opportunity to make the most from outside your country’s borders.
Instead, take into consideration the unique education and experiences you’ve gained over your years and look for remote jobs that are targeted towards your assets.
Cactus Communications may focus on academics with highly specialized technical knowledge, but there are plenty of businesses out there looking for international workers with savvy and specific skill sets.
The Opportunity: SAP
There’s a popular conception saying companies who hire for international remote work are driven by young entrepreneurs hungry for a piece of the global market share.
SAP is evidence to the contrary.
This German company has existed since 1972, and they specialize in enterprise level software designed to help multinational corporations connect with a global audience.
Today, clients uses SAP’s enterprise level software in over 180 different countries, and this German company has over 65,000 full-time staff.
But they’ve since diversified their operations, and they also focus on offering robust technological solutions to small business and mid-sized operations.
As cloud based solutions become a more prevalent and viable option for businesses of every size, SAP has opened up their services and provide software based solutions affordable to small and mid-sized businesses.
That includes service models like machine learning, professional IT, and security that once came with an exorbitant price tag.
As their business plan might suggest, those with technical knowledge are always in high demand at SAP.
Experience or training in software development or IT will get you a long way, but it’s not the only option available.
If you have a less technical skill set, remote positions are often available in the sales department, HR and recruiting.
SAP also sometimes hires remotely for finance and accounting positions. Roughly 15% of the employees at SAP work remotely on a full-time basis.
The Lesson: Take Corporate Culture Into Consideration
If you’ve ever worked in the remote customer service department for a large company, you probably understand the stresses that come from being a cog in a larger machine.
Many businesses don’t take the needs of their employees into consideration and instead use poorly designed quotas that leave customers dissatisfied and employees working with undue stress.
And while some people can compartmentalize the difficulties and make jobs like those work, it’s important to recognize that there are alternatives out there.
SAP is notable for their commitment to finding a balance between your personal life and your work life, and they don’t make exceptions for remote employees in that regard.
Just because you’re not in the same country as your employer’s headquarters – or just because you’re listed as a contract worker – doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look for companies that treat your quality of life seriously.
Potential benefits for qualifying employees at SAP include health, travel, and life insurance and paid time off, the ability to purchase stocks, and other notable perks.
While that’s not always the expectation with remote work, it’s important to remember that pay rate isn’t the only metric to consider when assessing a company.
The Opportunity: Gun.io
Most international remote jobs will have you working for the company that hires you whether you’re a contractor or a full-time employee, but Gun.io does things a little differently.
They’re basically a hiring agency for remote workers specializing in software development.
If you have skills as an engineer or a developer, Gun.io can advocate on your behalf and help connect you with companies in need of your services.
Unlike job sites like Monster and Indeed, you don’t apply for jobs directly. Instead, you apply to be a part of Gun.io’s pool of professionals at which point they’ll begin hunting down the right job to match your skill set and capabilities.
Based out of the United States, Gun.io has existed since 2011 and enjoys a 91% placement rate with its professional freelancers.
A large part of that comes down to the careful vetting process that Gun.io uses.
It’s not easy getting in, but it’s driven by your capabilities and experience more than your connections or recommendations, and most engineers should be able to get consistent and meaningful work regularly once they’ve passed the tests.
Flexibility is at the heart of Gun.io’s philosophy, as the minds behind the company feel that a traditional 9 to 5 schedule isn’t necessarily the best route for those working in the software sector.
That makes it a promising lead regardless of where in the world you work, and the software development model is especially flexible to professionals working in different time zones.
The Lesson: Make the Most of the Resources Available
A good remote job doesn’t mean cold calling companies endlessly, and it doesn’t require you to rely solely on job boards and hiring sites where you have to spend a significant amount of time filtering through non-remote jobs to find the work that you desire.
While Gun.io is highly specialized and sets strict standards for who they’ll take on board, there are a ton of sites that can help freelancers connect to clients, and the opportunities are broad if you’re willing to be proactive and pursue the freelance lifestyle.
That’s not a way of life that will fit everyone, but there are also resources that are specifically catered towards remote working but don’t require you to work in a freelance capacity.
Flex Jobs is one of the better of these opportunities available. Their detailed directory of businesses only focuses on companies that hire remote workers, and listings include contract, part time, and full-time work.
While Flex Jobs requires a paid subscription if you want to make the most of their services, it’s a good place to start if you plan on finding serious remote work.
The Opportunity: Enago
If you speak English as a second language, that’s an asset that can score you a lucrative gig with Enago.
Enago specializes in offering English editing services to writers who don’t speak the language, allowing them to open up to a much larger market than they’d otherwise have.
This company is a proof-of-concept that sometimes an army of remote workers is the best and arguably the only way to get the job done the right way.
And while Enago is looking specifically with editors with a strong grasp of English who can create the most accurate and concise translations available, the importance of the native language ensures prospective staff members who don’t speak English as a first language will always be a more valuable commodity to the company.
Enago focuses around the motto “author first, quality first”, and the Enago Academy provides many resources for foreign language authors looking to have their works translated.
These include training workshops and outreach programs.
Since its inception, Enago has translated over half a million manuscripts and helped more than two million authors.
They can offer a great opportunity to put your linguistic knowledge, specialized knowledge, and research skills to work.
The Lesson: Understand the Skills Most in Demand
We’ve already talked about how your existing skills can be an asset during the hiring process, and we’ve looked at resources that can help you track down good jobs that let you work 100% remotely, but if you really want to make the most of your potential, you need to evaluate what talents are in demand.
It will allow you to better identify the competencies you should highlight when looking for work and also help you determine what skills you can work on to better improve your value to prospective employers.
Mostly, the most prominent and lucrative jobs available are in the tech sector, particularly in software development and engineering.
The structure of these work environments makes them a capable choice for fully remote work schedules, and the demand to keep everyone on the schedule is usually not all that relevant.
And people with software development skills are in such high demand that hiring locally often isn’t even an option, so these businesses are often built from the ground up with remote work in mind.
Additionally, being multilingual is a huge asset. Translation, editing, and copywriting are incredibly in demand positions that are perfectly suited to remote work.