How to Recruit IT Talent in Latin America

In the past few years, tech companies from all over the world have been gravitating toward Latin America. According to experts, the South American IT services market will grow by 8.7% between 2022 and 2027.

With its huge potential for growth and a friendly business environment, the region has become a real hotspot, attracting both tech giants and startups.

Some entrepreneurs enter LATAM with new ideas and projects, while others expand their businesses there. And yet others still plan to nearshore or outsource their workforce. Regardless of what path you take, you will need to navigate the local job market.

To help you successfully steer through these waters, we are going to tell you about IT recruiting in South America and what makes it unique.

The IT Talent Landscape in LATAM 💎

  • Why It Stands Out
Here are several reasons why Latin American IT specialists offer great value for money:
  • Strong Educational Foundation and Thriving IT Sector
    The region has a large pool of skilled developers with a solid foundation in computer science and hands-on experience.
  • Affordable Cost of Living
    It is much cheaper to hire devs in LATAM compared to North America and Europe.
  • Cultural Compatibility
    This helps break down communication barriers and makes it smoother for new hires to integrate.
  • Convenient Time Zones
    With time zones close to those in the U.S. and Canada, Latin America is an ideal place to source talent if your main office is there. This ensures seamless collaboration without too much time difference.
  • Proficiency of Tech Specialists
The highest concentration of IT pros can be found in more industrialised countries like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile. Those places have some of the best tech experts around. However, you can find highly motivated professionals in regions with fewer economic prospects, like Venezuela.
Key Characteristics and Skills of Latin American IT Professionals:
  • Education
    While high school education may not be the best, university degrees are top-notch. So, people without a university degree, even if they have taken lots of courses, probably don’t have strong maths skills or deep knowledge of computer science or data analysis. If you need someone with in-depth expertise, it is best to hire university graduates.
  • English Proficiency
    Many IT specialists in the area can speak English really well. In fact, Argentina stands out, ranking 28th in the world for English skills in 2023 (Switzerland is 30th for comparison). This makes it easier to integrate Latin American developers into global teams.
  • Alternative Technical Backgrounds
    The Mercosur trading bloc economy has led to the production of many necessary goods within the region. This means there are some differences in hardware compared to Europe and North America.
  • Tech Stacks
    There is a bit of difference in the tech stacks used. There are a lot of experienced C++ devs and strong embedded engineers in Latin America. However, there is a shortage of experts in some hot fields like ML and AI.
  • Cultural Differences
    So, the "mañana" is not just a myth. In this part of the world, people tend to take a more laid-back approach to things. Therefore, you won’t find many nerds here. You can meet plenty of smart motivated people who are proactive, but those who want to dive deep are few and far between.
For over 7 years, Lucky Hunter has been connecting top IT talents with global companies and startups

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  • Which Companies Benefit Most
Based on the Latin American job market, certain companies will definitely benefit from hiring IT professionals:
  • 1
    South American Startups with Foreign Founders and Local Hubs of International Corporations
    Many entrepreneurs prefer to work with people from their own country because they think it will be easier to get along. Therefore, relocating staff and hiring from abroad can be difficult and expensive, especially if you need rare and sought-after specialists. Also, some LATAM countries have quotas that require companies to hire a certain number of local people. So, hiring from the local pool is pretty much unavoidable.
  • 2
    Tech companies from the US and Canada
    Outsourcing IT specialists from South America can be a great deal. They can save a lot of money on salaries compared to hiring North American techs, and it is also convenient due to the slight time zone differences.
  • 3
    European Tech Companies
    They can also save a lot of money by bringing IT talent from Latin America. This is especially true for Spanish and Portuguese companies, given the lack of a language barrier and minimal cultural differences. UK-based companies can also consider this option because the time zone difference is not that big, and South American IT specialists are usually very proficient in English.
  • More Than Just Locals
Good news for businesses considering relocating their employees to South America or seeking to hire talent from their own country! The region is home to a large number of expats, immigrants, and digital nomads!

The amazing climate, great travel opportunities, and low cost of living, combined with easy visa options, have made Latin America a magnet for people from around the world.
Besides standard IT recruiting services, we offer a dedicated Executive Search service to find top-level specialists. If you have a hard-to-fill or complex vacancy, contact us — we are happy to help!
Countries like Brazil, Chile, Mexico, as well as the Caribbean, are super popular with foreign tech pros. Thousands of IT specialists come here to work on contracts with international corporations, while others are digital nomads who work remotely. They are usually well-paid experts, so hiring them might be more expensive than finding local LATAM talent.

Key Points About Labor Laws in Latin America 💡

Some aspects of labour laws in South America can be quite different from what foreign business owners are used to. It might seem a bit confusing at first, but it is better to familiarise yourself with them before you start a business there:
  • Extended Paid Vacation: In Brazil, people get 30 days off for holiday, which is more than in Europe or the US. In Argentina, it depends on the seniority of a specialist: junior employees get 14 days off, but employees with more than 20 years of experience can take 35 days off.
  • High Rates of Social Security Contributions: Employers have to pay significant amounts for social security. For example, in Brazil, it can be up to 28% of their employees' salaries, and in Argentina, it can even be 27%.
  • Strong Employee Protection: In many Latin American countries, labour laws strongly protect employees' rights. That can make it really hard to fire someone, even if they are not performing well. Employees who feel like they were wrongfully fired or have other issues, tend to take legal action right away and usually get a good settlement.
To avoid all that hassle, many corporations and tech startups prefer not to set up their own businesses in the region. They just hire Latin American techies through contractor deals. It is a common practice, and the local IT experts are used to it and okay with it.

Where to Find IT Specialists 👀

LinkedIn is a popular platform in South America for finding jobs, especially for skilled professionals with English proficiency. These people are generally oriented towards international jobs, so their profiles and skills fit the needs of companies in Europe and, particularly, the United States and Canada.

You could also check out local job boards, which can be a good option if you want to save money and want to hire a team that speaks Spanish.

Some popular job search platforms are:
  • EmpleosIT
  • Hireline
  • Tecnoempleo
  • ZonaJobs
  • Bumeran
  • CodersLink
  • Computrabajo
Many of these platforms have different versions for different countries.

Hiring Hacks 🤌

  • Cultural Insights
When communicating with Latin American IT experts, the same rules apply as with people from Europe and North America. However, there are some nuances that can help bridge cultural differences and mindsets.
  • WhatsApp is King
    The most popular messenger. If a job applicant gives you a phone number, it is common practice to contact them via WhatsApp.
  • Small Talk Matters
    Showing interest in their country and language will go a long way. Even if you can only say a few words in Spanish (or Portuguese), it will help you build rapport with your business partner and earn you some brownie points.
  • Indirect Communication
    In many LATAM countries, it is considered rude to say "no" directly. So, if someone keeps putting things off and making more and more promises, they are probably just trying to refuse more politely.
  • Personal Space
    South Americans have a more relaxed approach to personal space than people in North America and Europe. When talking to someone in person, your conversation partner might stand closer than you expect. Don't step back, as this might be seen as impolite.
  • Time Management
    The most well-known and somewhat stereotypical point about Latin Americans is their relationship with time. They really value their own time, but unfortunately, they don’t always respect other people’s time as much. Punctuality and good time management are not strong suits for many people in LATAM.

    This trait is so widespread that it has kind of become a part of local culture. You can either deal with it and learn to get along with it, or you can look for more punctual and reliable professionals, which are definitely out there among Latin Americans.
  • How to Recruit Effectively
A lack of understanding about the recruiting scene in Latin America can cause a lot of frustration and even total disappointment in the region. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
  • 1
    Value Personal Relationships
    Personal connections matter a lot in South America. People there value personal relationships more than anything else. Colleagues become friends and hang out together in their free time. If you want to build long-term cooperation and have a tight-knit team, it is essential to establish a friendly rapport with candidates right from the start. Look for common ground and shared interests to build a solid foundation.
  • 2
    Verify Expertise Carefully
    For some Latin American developers, working for an international company can be a real golden ticket, especially in countries with unstable economies. These guys might be over-the-top when it comes to talking about their experience and skills, so it is important to be careful when checking out their qualifications.
  • 3
    Salary Expectations
    IT experts in Latin America might have significantly higher salary expectations if you approach them in English, even if your company is based locally.

    Here are a few strategies to deal with this:

    • State Salary Range Upfront: Most IT pros in LATAM are willing to adjust their expectations as long as your offer is in line with the local market rate.
    • Hire Local Recruiters: Bringing in local recruiters could help close the communication gap and better filter out candidates with unrealistic salary expectations. Keep in mind that Spanish can vary a lot from country to country, so it is best if the recruiter is from the same place you are hiring.
    • Consider Non-English Speaking Candidates: Look for devs with less or no English proficiency. They could be really good at their job, but they might cost less than those who are aiming for US jobs. A good idea would be to hire Spanish-speaking devs and have an English-speaker manager handle communication and coordination within the team. This could be a good solution for bringing in new talent without breaking the bank.

At Lucky Hunter, we have been helping companies all over the world find top IT talent for over 7 years. We understand the unique challenges of international recruiting, including Latin America. Fill out the form, and we will get in touch with you soon.

Olga Makhina
Content Manager in Lucky Hunter
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