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How to Overcome the Shortage of Tech Talent in the US While hiring tech talent locally is challenging and expensive, there is an increasing number of service providers that make Latin American tech talent accessible to US companies.

By Roland Polzin

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A peak in the tech job market is coming. The migration and technological adoption that almost all the US industrial sectors undertook due to the pandemic has overstretched the available STEM talent pool in the United States. Tech workers' wages have skyrocketed for some time due to the labor shortage.

A close, competitive, and viable ally

Reports and articles abound confirming growth in demand for STEM jobs linked to the industrial digitization goals of US companies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations such as Data Scientists, Information Security Analysts, Statisticians, or Web Developers are among the five fastest-growing jobs for the next decade (2021-2031). But domestic talent is not sufficiently available, and employing foreign workers can generate a significant administrative burden for companies. So, hiring engineers and data scientists based in Latin America can be a much simpler, more viable and more profitable alternative than importing talent from other parts of the world.

First, the geographical factor is important since Latin American countries have time zones similar to the US, which can improve the coordination of work teams. Also, Latino engineers who graduated from regional STEM faculties are of top-notch quality. According to the 2022 QS World University Ranking list, the University of Chile, the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, the UNAM in Mexico, and the University of São Paulo in Brazil are all producing high-caliber talent.

Although there is no accurate census, according to data consulted from Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia, an estimated 165,000 to 220,000 engineers graduate annually from these universities.

Related: Why Entrepreneurs Are Looking Towards Latin America for Nearshoring Opportunities

How to access that talent?

The impact of COVID-19 in all industrial sectors revealed opportunities in the labor dynamics of which teleworking is here to stay—85% of IT divisions consulted by Deloitte plan to be hybrid or fully remote. However, 82% of US companies could not complete digital transformation projects in the past year due to a lack of resources and skills.

The pandemic positively impacted the modernization of remote contracting and payroll administration platforms. Although there are specificities for different countries, there are generally three viable options for hiring remote talent: As an independent contractor, through a local employer (EOR), or via opening a company subsidiary in a specific country.

Some platforms specialized in accelerating these processes are strategically located in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, or Peru, such as Skills.tech, Revel or Baires. Those companies and others offer candidate filtering services, skills verification, team management, recruitment laboratories and continued talent education, among other features.

Related: 4 Tips for Hiring Employees No Matter Where They're Located

Two potential drawbacks

Firstly, companies seeking to outsource talent (of any kind) should include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies in their work culture. This concept is critical because Latino workers might quickly leave their employers if they do not feel represented or included. This often happens regardless of the team they work with or the professional challenges they face.

Another factor to consider is language. Latin America is not particularly known for having the best English literacy in the world. According to the English Proficiency Index de EF (EPI), only Argentina is listed as having at least a "high" English proficiency among Latin American countries.

The good news is that there is a direct correlation between work experience and the level of English. Better yet, the same EPI recognizes that, as a result of the pandemic, English in Latin America seems to have improved exponentially compared to the rest of the world. The scores show an increase of 16 points compared to the average increase of 3 points for the rest of the world.

Related: Interested in Starting a Business Overseas? Keep These 5 Things in Mind

Conclusion

Having the most qualified people is key to competitiveness and growth for most businesses. Hence, US companies have been competing to attract and retain IT professionals. The current demand and shortage of professionals pose a unique and timely opportunity for Latin America, and several startups are starting to capitalize on this opportunity.

While directly hiring foreign workers is an option for some companies, leveraging remote talent via service providers can present a simpler and more profitable alternative. The time zones of the USA are similar to those of Latin American countries, and the population of engineers is motivated and well-educated.

With special attention to remote and DEI policies, Latin American talent can provide an unparalleled competitive advantage for US companies seeking tech workers.

Roland Polzin

Co-Founder & CMO

As a former German Army officer, I made the unusual decision to become a tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and found Wing. My background provides me with a unique perspective on leadership, decision-making, and change management, and I hope to help others drive change and progress for the better.

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