Guide: Hiring Nearshore Software Developers in Latin America

Whether your business is thinking of expanding into the Latin American market, or you’re responsible for filling IT/tech roles in your corporation in North America or Europe, chances are hiring software developers in Latin America is high on your list. And if it’s not, it should be.

Reports reveal that what it costs to hire American tech talent in terms of salary, two or even three Latin American tech workers can be hired for roughly the same amount. For example, the average salary for a senior engineer in Latin America is $75,000 USD per year, while their counterparts in the United States make an average $150,000 USD a year.

Of course, what tech talent will accept as a fair wage will vary from one Latin American country to the next. Software developers, engineers, and other IT/tech workers in dollarized economies such as Ecuador, Panama, and El Salvador are likely to demand a bit more from US companies than others, where the local currency is weak against the US dollar. For this reason, there has been an uptick in hiring software developers in Andean countries, with a corresponding surge of headhunters in Colombia

For North American and European companies, the persistent shortage of IT/tech talent is not just with software developers. So what are the most sought-after IT/tech roles that need filling?

hiring software developers in Latin America
Hiring software developers in Latin America can be easier if you check how many are involved in offshore development

Hiring software developers in Latin America, and other in-demand tech jobs

What follows is a list of the 10 most in-demand tech jobs in 2024:

  1. Information security (Infosec) engineer.
  2. Full-stack developer.
  3. Data scientist.
  4. Machine learning engineer.
  5. JavaScript developer.
  6. Data Engineer.
  7. Cloud computing engineer.
  8. Backend developer/engineer.
  9. Salesforce developer.
  10. Automation engineer.

That top-notch IT/tech talent can be found at a fraction of the cost of tech workers in North America and Europe should be enough to convince companies to begin hiring software developers in Latin America. But what other advantages are there?

6 benefits of hiring software developers in Latin America

  1. Tech talent is of a high caliber – Many companies hesitate to engage in nearshoring because they worry that paying less for tech workers means the work will be of poor quality. But Latin American developers are just as brilliant as their US counterparts.
  2. State-sponsored tech education – In the past decade, Latin America has become one of the most popular regions for nearshoring due to years-long government investments in tech-related educational programs.
  3. Emerging home-grown tech industry – The technology industry in Latin America is booming due to rapid growth over the past seven years. Venture capital investments in Latin American tech have been growing steadily, doubling annually since 2016.
  4. Few cultural differences – All countries in the Americas share more than a land mass in common, but also a similar cultural background that makes it easier to integrate diverse nationalities into a team.
  5. Moderate English proficiency – Many Latin American software developers have some level of English ability. In addition to being a required second language in most Latin American classrooms, English is widely spoken among the educated urban middle class in major Latin American cities.
  6. Same/similar time zones – Latin American software developers have nearly identical working hours as their American or Canadian counterparts. Latin America shares a full overlap with North America, allowing up to eight hours of synchronous work. 

As talk of hiring software developers in Latin America is all the rage right now, it might come as a surprise to many that a large part of the market remains untapped. The sheer size of the labor pools of IT/tech talent in the region means that companies have no excuse for leaving tech-related positions unfilled. By some estimates, there are well over one million software developers and other tech workers in the whole of the region.

Consider the most popular programming languages in the biggest country in the region before thinking about hiring software developers in Latin America

But it may be the case that those companies simply don’t know how to tap into the vast tech labor pool.

How to go about hiring software developers in Latin America?

What follows are 5 suggestions for how foreign companies can better navigate Latin America’s tech-talent landscape:

1. Do your research into each Latin American country

There are a significant number of tech workers in the region, but not all of them specialize in the same thing. Chile might have the best educational institutions for training data scientists, for example, while Colombia’s tech-focused universities tend to churn out DevOps developers. Depending on what kind of tech skills gap a company is seeking to fill, one or another Latin American country will be better at pursuing that particular IT/tech specialty. 

2. Acquire knowledge about local universities and tech schools

Highly related to the first point – research should not only be done at the country level but the educational institution level as well. Understanding which schools have the best software development programs will empower companies to make better decisions when it comes time to enter a certain market in search of tech workers.

3. Post on Latin American, and international job boards

Job boards and talent-relationship management sites like Indeed, Greenhouse, and Lever tend to be fairly straightforward to use. You become a client, create a job opening, and wait for the applications to roll in. They are great tools for managing your hiring process, but going it alone in hiring has its pitfalls. Your job postings may get a lot of applications, but not necessarily from the specific type of tech workers the company needs.

4. Seek the services of a professional recruiter

In order to attract top-tier IT/tech workers in Latin America, a professional recruitment service with local knowledge and experience might be the wisest option. When it comes to hiring software developers in Latin America, recruiters can help companies sift through the slush pile of applicants to find top talent. Recruitment firms can assume varying levels of involvement in the process, from managing the entire hiring and onboarding lifecycle to finding promising candidates and forwarding their CVs to a hiring manager.

5. Make your company a great place to work

From a software developer’s perspective, a company is considered good if it offers a good salary, bonuses, benefits and other perks like paid time off, the ability to take off national holidays in their home countries and receive co-working stipends and stock options. The company should have an excellent work environment and culture, and not treat 100-percent remote workers differently than those who come into the office every day.

Frequently Asked Questions when attracting and hiring talent in Latin America

Based on our extensive experience these are the common questions and doubts of our clients when looking to hire in the local market.

1. Why hire talent in Latin America?

Hiring tech talent in Latin America offers access to a large talent pool that is located in the same time zone as the North American market, is culturally similar, and is more economical. The combination allows a company to complement an existing North American based team or to establish an independent Nearshoring center within the region. 

2. Can I hire top tech talent in Latin America?

Yes, you can hire top tech talent in Latin America. The region possesses a large talent pool of bilingual technology and engineering professionals with extensive experience working with both local and international companies. According to the uniRank database in 2023, there are currently 1,869 higher-education institutions in Latin America, with 428 of these eligible for QS top universities consideration, with Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, and Panama the regional leaders. 

3. What is the level of English for professionals in Latin America?

Latin America has approximately 5.4 million speakers, with Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, and Chile tanking the highest on the English Proficiency Index.

4. How many software developers are there in Latin America?

The Association of Computer Science and Information Technology states that there are over 2 million tech professionals within Latin America

Biz Latin Hub can help you with hiring software developers in Latin America

At Biz Latin Hub, we provide integrated market entry and back-office services throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with offices in Bogota and Cartagena, as well as over a dozen other major cities in the region. We also have trusted partners in many other markets.

Our unrivaled reach means we are ideally placed to support multi-jurisdiction market entries and cross-border operations.

As well as knowledge about hiring software developers in Latin America, our portfolio of services includes hiring & PEO, accounting & taxation, company formation, and corporate legal services.

Contact us today to find out how we can assist you in finding top tech talent, or otherwise do business in Latin America and the Caribbean.

If this article on hiring software developers in Latin America was of interest to you, check out the rest of our coverage of the region. Or read about our team and expert authors.

Um infográfico da BLH mostrando os principais serviços oferecidos pela empresa
Key services offered by Biz Latin Hub

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
David Wright

David Wright

David spent 22 years working for the British Diplomatic Service serving in various Latin American countries. He served twice in Colombia including acting as an advisor on regional security matters to the President of Colombia. Currently, he acts as a consultant for companies and governments on risk management, security and technology.

David is also involved in mining related companies, both in Executive and Non-Executive roles. Together with Craig Dempsey he set up Biz Latin Hub and now acts as its Non-Executive Chairman. David holds a Bachelors Degree in Astrophysics from Birmingham University and also studied at Brown University.

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