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2 posts from August 2020

18 August 2020

Employing remote workers? How a Central Employing Entity could benefit you

by Sarah Mullen Director, PwC United Kingdom

Email +44 (0)7841 788989

More than 75%* of companies are currently supporting remote working across borders as part of their workforce strategy, in order to manage the employment of individuals who have no clear employment entity. This may be because there are employees who now want to work in a location that differs to their current employment contract location, want the flexibility to work across two or more countries (“global commuters”) or because they are employees who can be truly location agnostic (“global nomads”), hired from and performing their role anywhere in the world.

Traditional employment models were not set up to support the complexities that such arrangements entail across tax, immigration, employment law and employee lifecycle management. Or take into account the operational aspects like delivery of pay, which are key benefits of a Central Employing Entity (CEE), sometimes referred to as a Global Employment Company.

What is a CEE?

A CEE is a special purpose vehicle established to employ a defined population of employees (e.g. globally mobile, top talent, local hires in new/low volume markets or global remote workers).

They are generally established in locations that have the most effective tax, legal and social security systems and that also make sense from an operation and infrastructure perspective. Common CEE locations include the UK, Ireland and and the US

It provides a centralised approach to critical areas - managing the risks associated with a complex employee population, harmonisation of HR policies, processes and reward, talent and performance management.

Evolution of the CEE

Historically, we saw CEEs used in the oil and gas, engineering and manufacturing sectors for traditional globally mobile populations, like rotators and those on back-to-back assignments. In recent years, the CEE has been re-purposed and we’ve supported companies from a broader mix of industries including technology, telecoms, fintech, professional services and not-for-profit organisations to support with global expansion, deal readiness, talent management and strategic decisions including managing increasingly distributed workforces.

Benefits of a CEE

  • Provides a way to employ the best talent globally, regardless of where they are geographically based, in a streamlined way and without the need to ‘outsource’ their employment.
  • Provides a way for remote workers to enrol in company provided benefit plans (e.g. medical, pension etc.). Also provides a way for remote workers to be granted equity.
  • Serves as a centralised employment and pay vehicle for employees in locations where the company does not have a legal entity (globalists/nomads/remote workers).
  • Helps manage corporate risk (e.g. permanent establishment, transfer pricing, payroll, compliance, etc.) for specific groups of complex employees.
  • Improves the speed of deployment or employment of key talent in/to new markets.
  • Cost savings - Can provide a lower cost alternative to creating individual employment infrastructure in each location (i.e. through local entities) or outsourcing employment (e.g. to PEOs).

Where do I get started?

It’s really important to ensure that a strategic challenge and feasibility review takes place initially, to understand and articulate to key stakeholders how and why a CEE could support employment of global remote workers (or other employees) before the creation/investment process begins. A due diligence phase follows, to review and confirm the appropriate CEE location, any host location considerations, the appropriate participation criteria etc. leading into the design, build and implementation phase focused on putting in place the right process, policy and governance framework to support the successful ongoing maintenance of the CEE.

For more information, please get in touch.


*PwC’s Global Mobility Pulse Survey June 2020


by Sarah Mullen Director, PwC United Kingdom

Email +44 (0)7841 788989

13 August 2020

“Are You Missing Millions?” asks former Australian Prime Minister and Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL) Chair Julia Gillard

by Brenda Trenowden CBE Partner, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting, PwC United Kingdom

Email +44 (0)7483 329718

How can you pave the way for business growth after COVID-19? One strategy offers a big opportunity: enabling women and men to have an equal role in strategic planning, technological development, product and service design, marketing and the supply chain. As some of the world’s largest companies have found, it can lead to a growth in your customer base, revenues and competitiveness.

Simply put: gender equality is both morally right and good for business.

That was the key takeaway from a recent webinar hosted by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London. The discussion was led by institute chair and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

‘Right around the world, businesses are under huge pressure because of the pandemic. In tough times, it is tempting to yearn for a return to the status quo, but in our rapidly changing world that dream won’t come true. To thrive in this environment business will need to seize the opportunity to build back better, including realising the benefits that come with gender equality and diversity.’

Building on a report released last year by the 30% Club in conjunction with PwC, the webinar looked at how efforts to promote greater inclusion for women could help businesses emerge stronger than ever out of today’s crisis. Joining Julia and me in the conversation were Ebony Rainford-Brent, Sky Sports broadcaster and Director of Surrey Women's Cricket; Daniel Klier, Global Head of Sustainable Finance at HSBC; and Sally Jackson, Senior Vice President of Global Communications and CEO Office at GSK.

Last November’s report , ‘Are you missing millions? The commercial imperative for putting a gender lens on your business’, shows how organisations reap significant benefits by promoting gender inclusion. For example, Unilever’s Unstereotype initiative – which is aimed at more diverse, inclusive and realistic portrayals in ads – produced a 37% benefit to brand impact, a 28% uplift in purchase intent and a 30% increase in credibility.

The key: A strategic, company-wide mindset shift

Gaining such business benefits requires a company-wide commitment to inclusion – HR alone can’t drive this shift. It takes a more strategic way of thinking, with support from the C-suite down.

Promoting gender equality also requires more than ticking boxes. Leaders across an organisation must recognise that when they fail to consider women’s needs and concerns in business decisions, they are failing to connect with a large number of potential customers. That’s leaving money on the table – money a competitor will pick up instead.

After Vodafone identified a ‘mobile gender gap’ of around 200 million women in emerging markets, the company made it a priority to bring mobile services to at least 50 million such customers by 2025. As a result, the telco already reaches some 20 million new female customers through programmes such as Mum & Baby, a service with free healthcare information for expectant parents in South Africa.

Programmes like that are good for business – but not possible with buy-in from HR alone. Leaders must make it happen and employees must take it to heart.

Let data be the driver

While anecdotal examples such as Unilever and Vodafone are helpful, the most powerful inspiration comes from data. The more insights a company has into where women stand in the organisation – as employees, as suppliers, as customers – the better able it will be to identify and act on its unique challenges.

Look at initiatives on climate and sustainability. When organisations first began to improve in these areas, they often discovered how much they didn’t know about their performance. It was only after they committed to collecting the right data, and putting that to use, that they could identify and make progress towards meaningful sustainability goals.

The same is true for gender equality: you will need a lot of data to identify where the best opportunities lie. Similarly, better data will help drive racial, disability and LGBTQ diversity programmes as well.

Look forwards, not back

COVID-19 has upended the working world, and made it clear the future must be more flexible and more digital. To make the most of new opportunities, organisations will need to be more inclusive too, and make gender equality a priority. After all, what makes greater business sense: to focus on 50% of your potential employees, suppliers and customers… or to fully consider 100% of them in every decision?

To learn more, read the ‘Are you missing millions?’ report or watch the webinar.

by Brenda Trenowden CBE Partner, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting, PwC United Kingdom

Email +44 (0)7483 329718