A combination of scarce talent and hybrid work is leading both small and large U.S. technology companies to scout for new hires in Latin America, home to a number of qualified candidates who’ll work for lower pay.

Bloomberg calls the trend a “logical extension” of working from home and efforts by many workers to leave metropolitan centers like New York and San Francisco. Currency moves are feeding the trend, as well. The currencies of Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, in particular, are making such a strategy attractive.

One Brazilian professional, engineering manager Alexandre Rocco, said he understands he’s probably paid less than a U.S. hire would be, but his pay increased by about 40% when he joined Walrus Health, a Silicon Valley startup. From the company’s perspective, it makes sense to bring on cheaper labor. Walrus Health has hired several Brazil-based developers, who constitute half of its development team, Bloomberg said.

“This is not an ad hoc solution,” CEO Kimball Thomas told Bloomberg. “We really want it to work long term, and we want to invest in it.”

Long-Term Tactic

Even when the pandemic ebbs, the idea of hiring overseas talent may continue to be attractive, Bloomberg said. According to consulting firm Korn Ferry, the U.S. tech industry may be short 1.2 million specialized workers by 2030.

In recent months, the number of foreign companies hiring from Latin America increased by 156%, according to the global hiring company Deel. Software engineers are the most sought-after tech professionals. The region benefits from ”cultural similarities” with the U.S., which allow employers to connect more quickly and employees to “hit the ground running,” said Pepe Villatoro, Deel’s regional head of expansion.

Plus, hiring from overseas isn’t such a stretch now that employers are getting used to remote employees. ““If I’m hiring a person in Cleveland, why not just hire a person in Bogota?” said Josh Brenner, CEO of the job marketplace Hired.

But bear in mind: The competition for talent, already viscous in the U.S., may heat up in Latin America as companies give it more attention. “Why did I go job hunting abroad?” asked another tech professional in Brazil “Because foreign companies began reaching out. Every week I began receiving new proposals.”

By Mark Feffer

Mark Feffer is executive editor of RecruitingDaily and the HCM Technology Report. He’s written for TechTarget, HR Magazine, SHRM, Dice Insights, TLNT.com and TalentCulture, as well as Dow Jones, Bloomberg and Staffing Industry Analysts. He likes schnauzers, sailing and Kentucky-distilled beverages.


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