Discover the best International PEO vendors with OutSail: Compare top providers for expert support, global payroll, expansion services, technology, and cost-effectiveness
OutSail HRIS Advisor
July 4, 2023
The global PEO industry, also called the global employer of record industry, is one of the fastest segments within HR software. Due to the pandemic and the advent of remote-work and hybrid workplaces, companies began to explore the opportunity to hire from a much wider talent pool - a global talent pool.
Before Global EOR solutions came to market, the only options for hiring outside of the US were to: (a) hire contractors, which can be risky from a compliance standpoint, or (b) set up an entity abroad, which can be expensive and full of bureaucratic headaches
Global Professional Employer Organization (Global PEO), or Global Employer of Record (Global EOR), solutions can help solve this problem. International PEO providers have created entities in almost every major country, which allows businesses to hire their international workers through the pre-existing entities.
While these solutions can save businesses time and reduce their risk, it is very difficult to find the right vendor. The industry is full of new companies that the typical buyer in unfamiliar with. And, as a first-time buyer, it can be hard to understand the pros and cons of each option.
If you're looking into an global professional employer organization solution for your international employees, reach out to OutSail and our free services can guide you through the process, helping you find the right vendors, ask the right questions and negotiate the right deal.
Services offered by a global EOR service provider
Before we talk about the vendors that are in the marketplace, it can be good to level-set on the types of services you can expect to find with some employer of record companies:
Global employment - This can be subdivided into three categories: Global payroll, Global Employer of Record (global EOR)and global contractor management
Global Payroll Management - This service is utilized when you have entities already set-up abroad and you want to run payroll across all regions from a single dashboard
Global Employer of Record (global EOR) - This service is utilized when you want to hire a full-time employee abroad, but don't have an entity established in that country
Global Contractor Management - This service is utilized when you don't want to classify a worker as a full-time employee
There are also additional services that some providers will offer, such as global benefits management, entity set-up services and immigration assistance.
Now that we've covered that primer, here's a quick overview of the top vendors for global expansion and how they differentiate:
Best global EOR for companies who prioritize expert support
Globalization Partners, now called GP, is viewed as a market leader in the global EOR space and recently raised a $200M round of funding. They have more fully-owned entities than anyone else allowing greater price control, consistency and standardization. Globalization Partners also provides significant in-country legal and compliance expertise. Some of the gaps in the Globalization Partners offering include: a premium price point with associated fees and a lack of clarity for non-EOR services such as entity set-up or contractor management
Velocity Global is one of the founders of the EOR market and they developed a robust set of expertise, fully-owned entities and risk mitigation services that make them a top choice for companies prioritizing compliance. Velocity Global's biggest differentiator is their comprehensive service model which leads to very high client retention rates. Velocity Global can also offer a tech platform for onboarding, global workforce management and payments. Their pricing model has historically been a challenge for some, but they have made strides here and it is more accessible than before
Atlas was in the market as Elements Global Services for years and was a successful, but somewhat niche brand. They developed robust expertise in employer of record (EOR) and fully own their entities which makes them one of the best options for companies looking for a true global advisor and strong levels of risk mitigation. However, in the past year, Elements rebranded to Atlas and raised over $200M in funding to become more competitive with many of the upstart vendors in the space. They are putting a big emphasis on technology and competitive, flat-rate pricing going forward. They are behind some peers when it comes to global payroll and HRIS integrations but have a strong foundation of global expertise to build off as they grow
Best global payroll and global EOR for companies who want flexibility
Papaya is one of the fastest growing companies in the global employment space. They were the first company to provide global payroll, EOR and contractor management services for international employees. Papaya also differentiates on technology and can provide a broad set of modules in a modern, easy-to-use platform. Papaya utilizes a flat fee pricing model which can help with cost predictability. The main concern with Papaya is that they are an aggregator and do not own their entities. They claim this gives them more options and can create more standardization. However, this model and the in-country support you receive should be reviewed. Learn more about Papaya Global
Safeguard Global has been in the industry since 2008, originally as a managed payroll service provider. For companies that are prioritizing global payroll while also needing some EOR services, Safeguard can be a good fit. Safeguard also provides a tech platform for payroll, time and expenses. Safeguard is one of the largest companies in this report and their internal team provides full in-country compliance and tax support. While their all-in costs aren't as steep as some peers, they still operate on the traditional % of salary model, rather than a flat fee approach.
If you're looking for the most advanced technology in the HR space, Rippling is a really interesting choice. Rippling can integrate with just about any of your existing tools, while drastically simplifying your onboarding, payroll and ben admin experience. A few drawbacks with Rippling are their limited functionality (limited timekeeping and no performance or learning) and the uncertainty around the platform's scalability. Finally, Rippling's founding team's track record with Zenefits is another thing to keep in mind. See a demo of Rippling
Best for companies who care about technology and costs
Deel came to market as the leading platform for contractor management services and has rapidly grown their headcount, technology capabilities and service lines. They now offer EOR in almost every country, global payroll in more than half of the world and a technology platform that provides some of the best simplicity and ease of use on the market. Deel also has some of the most competitive price points in the market. Deel relies on partners for in-country payroll processing and some of their EOR entities, so getting comfortable with the access to local knowledge is an important evaluation step. Learn more about Deel.
Remote was founded by leaders from GitLab, one of the world's largest fully-remote companies. They are one of the few vendors on this report that fully owns their Employer of Record (EOR) entities. Remote also differentiates on cost and by emphasizing IP protections more than their peers. Remote maintains a proprietary network of in-country experts in every country in which they operate. Remote's global expansion services can be a great fit for companies with international employees. Remote's in-country expertise is not as strong as some of their peers, because they rely on outside parties for their domain knowledge and their price point can call into question some profitability concerns. Learn more about Remote.
Oyster is an up-and-coming player in the global payments space and recently raised a large fundraising round. While they are primarily an EOR service, they can support compliant and streamlined contractor management and recently rolled out a global payroll option too. They have one of the most robust global benefits management offerings in the market, but those services are less accessible to contractors. The Oyster technology gets good reviews for ease-of-use, but their support team can be fairly hands-off leading to a very self-service approach for users. Oyster is also limited in the number of in-country experts they make available to clients. Learn more about Oyster
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Meet the Author
OutSail HRIS Advisor
Brett Ungashick, the friendly face behind OutSail, started his career at LinkedIn, selling HR software. This experience sparked an idea, leading him to create OutSail in 2018. Based in Denver, OutSail simplifies the HR software selection process, and Brett's hands-on approach has already helped over 1,000 companies, including SalesLoft, Hudl and DoorDash. He's a go-to guy for all things HR Tech, supporting companies in every industry and across 20+ countries. When he's not demystifying HR tech, you'll find Brett enjoying a round of golf or skiing down Colorado's slopes, always happy to chat about work or play.
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