Since the end of its military dictatorship in 1990, Chile has emerged as one of Latin America’s most politically stable and economically prosperous countries. It has been relatively free of the coups and poor governments that characterize much of the region’s history. The South American country has and continues to be an attractive jurisdiction for companies looking to tap its large pool of skilled IT/tech talent. The demand for tech talent has skyrocketed in recent months – particularly from US companies – so the growing trend of hiring developers in Chile (or hiring tech talent in Chile in general) shows little sign of abating.
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Advantages to hiring developers/tech talent in Chile
- Business/investment friendly environment
- A large and growing pool tech talent
- Comparatively low cost of labor
- Moderate level of English-language skills
- Time zone relatively close to those in the US
The enduring depreciated value of the Chilean peso against the US dollar makes doing business in Chile – tech related or not – a wise and cost-effective decision.
Hiring developers in Chile: Top 5 reasons for hiring tech talent in Chile right now
Tech firms, or businesses that rely on software knowhow for their operations, should seriously consider tapping into Chile’s tech talent ecosystem. They can do so either by offshoring software development/IT operations, or by setting up shop in the country. What follows are the top 5 reasons why hiring tech talent in Chile might be right for your company:
1. Business/investment friendly environment
Investors reacted to the election of young left-winger Gabriel Boric to Chile’s presidency in December 2021 by selling off assets, sending the value of the Chilean peso into decline. But as it became clear that president-elect Boric had no intention of nationalizing Chilean industries, markets have calmed. Chile’s GDP grew 11.9 percent in 2021, outpacing its OECD and regional peers. Chile also ranked a respectable 59th out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2020 study – higher than any other Latin American nation. These are positive indicators for companies large and small that plan on hiring developers in Chile.
2. A large and growing pool tech talent
In the early 2000s, the Chilean government invested heavily in computer-centered education that focused on computer literacy. It also launched a program to ensure every school in the country had access to the internet. The investments have paid off. Chilean developers, software engineers, full stack developers and programmers are considered some of the best in the region, prompting tech giants like Alphabet Inc (Google), IBM, Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle to domicile in the country. There has never been a more opportune time to begin hiring tech talent in Chile.
3. Comparatively low cost of labor
Cost savings is at the heart of the growing nearshoring phenomenon, with Latin America being the primary recipient. By ‘nearshoring’ (i.e., offshoring to jurisdictions with a close proximity to the US), tech firms can save a bundle in labor costs. An entry-level software developer in the US can expect to receive about $80,000 USD per year, while a Chilean software developer doing the same job makes around $35 million pesos per year (roughly $36,000 USD). That’s a cost savings of 45 percent – hiring developers in Chile is a no-brainer.
4. Moderate level of English-language skills
Chile ranked 47th out of 112 countries in the EF English Proficiency Index study released in 2021. It’s considered to have ‘moderate proficiency in English, according to the study. But the country’s young, highly educated tech professionals far surpass the national average in English language ability; speaking English is widely considered to be a prerequisite for career advancement among Chilean professionals.
5. Time zone relatively close to those in the US
Continental Chile falls into the GMT-3 time zone, meaning it is one hour ahead of Eastern Time, two hours ahead of Central Time, and four hours ahead of Pacific Time. The times are not so different that Chilean tech workers and their colleagues in the United States can’t easily work together, hold Zoom call meetings, and collaborate on projects remotely.
Hiring developers in Chile: Interesting tech facts
- There are an estimated 75,000 software developers/engineers/tech professionals in Chile, and that number is growing with each passing day
- There are two main tech hubs in Chile: one the capital Santiago and the other in the city of Concepción
- While tech in Santiago is an engine for doing business, Concepción’s primary focus is on tech innovation and development
- Santiago is the city with the third-largest pool of available tech workers in Latin America, after Mexico City and São Paulo
- The Economist news magazine dubbed Chile “Chilecon Valley” to describe its potential to one day rival the real Silicon Valley
Common Questions when attracting and hiring talent in Chile
Based on our experience these are the common questions and doubts of our clients when looking to hire in the local market.
Investing in talent in Chile is a smart move. With a population exceeding 19 million, Chile provides a robust consumer base. Its stable economy and strategic location connect diverse markets offering access to over 86% of the world’s GDP through 30 free trade agreements. Over 50,000 engineers graduate annually, fostering a skilled workforce, while its innovation initiatives receive around $1 billion in government funding. This, coupled with a solid political stability index score of 9.17 and a Corruption Perceptions Index ranking of 33 out of 180 countries, creates a secure business environment. Additionally, Chile’s renewable energy sector constitutes more than 20% of its energy mix, contributing to a sustainable future.
Absolutely, Chile offers a prime location to hire top tech talent. With over 1,300 startups and around 700 IT companies, the tech sector is thriving. Santiago stands out as a tech hub, hosting 50% of startups and 60% of IT firms. Annually, Chile produces circa 13,000 engineers, contributing to a skilled workforce. Notably, 60% of professionals exhibit good to excellent English proficiency, facilitating efficient global collaborations.
The level of English proficiency among professionals in Chile is high. According to the EF English Proficiency Index, Chile ranks 45th out of 100 countries assessed in terms of English proficiency. Approximately 60% of professionals in Chile possess a good to excellent command of English. This bilingual capability among tech talent is especially advantageous, given the country’s growing prominence as a tech hub. As Chile invests in its education system and emphasizes language learning, the English proficiency of its professionals continues to improve.
Chile’s commitment to education is evident through its universities and institutions offering specialized programs in software engineering, computer science, and related fields. The country boasts an estimated talent pool of circa 10,000 to 15,000 software engineers and related professionals.
Biz Latin Hub can help you with hiring tech talent in Chile
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 developers in Chile, our portfolio of services includes hiring & PEO, accounting & taxation, company formation, bank account opening, and corporate legal services.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can assist you in finding top talent, or otherwise do business in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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.