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DevEngine Whitepaper

White paper: Could Latin America (LATAM) be the solution to North America’ engineering recruitment woes for Small and Medium-Sized Business (SMBs)?


CMA Population: Nearly 660 millions

Global Population Share: just under 9%

Time Zone: GMT -05 to GMT-03

Latin America, less than two decades ago, “Latin America” and “technology” were seldom used in the same sentence. Many people in North America still associate Colombia and Argentina mostly with danger and inadequate infrastructure, some might even feel that Chile has just recently gotten rid of their dictator. Whatever our pre-conceptions might be, the reality is that these countries got involved in the technology race and now produce IT talent that matches the level of those in developed economies.

Latin American is becoming a technological hub of innovation and production at an increasing rate. A significant shift to hiring engineering talent in Latin America in the last five years is obvious, for reasons that are apparent: companies want to hire good talent and save money. Compared to Canada and the US, the prices in Latin America are significantly lower.

What about that language barrier? English is “unofficially the official language”, but not everyone is fluent in it. Argentina is home to the most proficient English speakers in Latin America with Costa Rica and Chile not far behind. Overall, the majority of software development candidates you see will come from the countries with high and moderate global English proficiency level.

The education systems have improved dramatically over the last decade as well. The hubs in Latin America including Santiago, Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Medellin produce highly educated, and technologically sophisticated individuals. In 2019, 16 Latin American countries landed in the global tech hub ranking. “Chillecon Valley” (Santiago, Chile) being the biggest one, followed by hubs in Mexico and Colombia. You might also be surprised that Ecuador and Peru are also on the list.

Latin American venture investment reached USD15.7b in 2021, more than 3x the previous record of USD4.9b in 2019, and more than the 10 years of previous venture investment combined (with the majority of the investment going to Brazil).

The North American Talent Pool

Now, it’s no surprise that even during the economic slowdowns, IT hiring in North America remains highly competitive. Large tech companies tend to prioritize releasing sales, marketing, and HR/recruitment staff before top-notch engineers with unique and highly valued skills, who may not be laid off until later rounds. During boom times, finding technical talent becomes nearly impossible for many but the best-funded companies.

So… the “Takeaway” of the current condition of the North American’s tech talent pool should be;

“A vibrant high-potential technology market with dwindling talent supply, growing demand from international players, increasing competition for talent and rapidly rising rates and salary expectations!”

So why should you look to Latin American tech resources to relieve your engineering recruitment shortage?

There are many benefits for you, as a North American company battling global technology giants for resources, in opting to take advantage of the LATAM engineering tech talent pool, including:

  • Talent Availability (this will feel like a breath of fresh air compared to what you have to deal with in the local market)
  • Time zone (whether you are in Vancouver or Toronto, San Francisco or Boston time zones match nearly perfectly with Latin America)
  • Comparable approach to building products (the majority of the most talented engineers in LATAM work for international companies and use the same tools and methodologies on the daily basis)
  • Little language barrier (language may become a possible minor caveat, but running multi-national and multi-cultural teams in Canada or the US anyway you will notice no difference).
  • Lower rates (rates are lower for LATAM engineers, without a doubt, but we urge you not to expect top-notch talent on the cheap – it’s a global market after all)

So what’s your best solution as a hiring manager in Canada or the US competing for top tier talent in the local market? Latin America Based - Remote, Distributed Teams!

Hiring Remote, Distributed Engineering Teams in LATAM allows you to:

  • Source an entire talent pool less competitive than your current one
  • Save on the cost of office space, hardware, infrastructure, administration and utilities
  • Access an alternative resource pool that prioritize work/life balance, and working from the convenience of their own home offices
  • Gain a competitive advantage with attracting and retaining resources that view Canadian and US work opportunities as highly desirable, thus making your new hires less susceptible to offers from the local competitors.

And that’s where we can help!

We are DevEngine.

We help small to medium-size Canadian and US companies recruit and build remote, distributed software engineering teams in Latin America. We are technology agnostic. We facilitate the process of finding, screening, on-boarding, managing and retaining your distributed software engineering team anywhere in Latin America.

Why should you use DevEngine as your LATAM engineering recruitment Partner?

Look… you know your business best. And only you know if a remote team in South America is a suitable solution for your company and your product, but it should be a pretty straightforward decision now that we’ve all been working remotely throughout 2020 and 2021. If you can fill your engineering roles locally in Austin or New York without breaking the bank… awesome! But if you believe the time has come to try alternative recruitment options to augment your existing team, LATAM is the right place, and DevEngine is a savvy and enthusiastic partner!

Working in the same time zone is a big deal, even if your team is distributed. It’s tough to expect 100% from somebody coding away or running a client pre-sales meeting in the dead of the night. DevEngine has already helped several companies pivot fully or partially from teams in India to LATAM-based engineers.

If your job posting has been sitting out there for weeks without any applicants and your current recruiters don’t send you piles of resumes (or none at all) – it’s a sign that something needs to change and quickly. Keep in mind that your competitors are likely also looking at LATAM for resources or will do it soon.

What we do.

  • We partner up with a limited number of clients at a time.
  • We provide an alternative approach to finding, hiring, and retaining engineers for small and medium size Canadian and US technology companies.
  • We build distributed teams of LATAM-based engineers.
  • We have created our proprietary paid referral system that guarantees the quality of candidates by design.
  • We screen every single engineer before presenting them to you, even though they all come through reliable and paid referrals from our network.
  • We pay all candidates to write technical assignments that require longer than an hour of time commitment out of our pocket regardless of whether they get hired or not.
  • We pair all candidates with our existing senior engineer for a comprehensive skills assessment before presenting candidates to you.
  • We work with your team to build tailored technical tests for DevEngine to use during our technical pre-screening process. (Ideally, one of your current engineers will take the same test to establish a benchmark for the required level of expertise.)
  • We tailor our recruiting efforts and our network referrals to your specific hiring needs. The better we know your team and understand your product, the easier and faster it becomes to hire engineers in the future to grow your team.
  • We use upfront pricing model, so that you can tell your CEO exactly how much your engineering team is going to cost per month and per year.
  • We manage all of our engineers, provide hardware, HR support, deal with paperwork, vacation time, payments, NDAs, IP, etc. All you have left to do is build your product.

What we don’t do.

  • We don’t source any resources outside of IT and software engineering space.
  • We don’t source candidates outside of Latin America.
  • We don’t check any references (candidates come from our paid referral system.)
  • We don’t have any hidden fees of any sort.
  • We don’t compromise on the quality of candidate pre-screening. (Often when engineering talent becomes scarce and recruitment becomes challenging, the recruiters are less motivated to screen out weaker candidates.)

The Immediate Problem for your team

Finding, hiring, and keeping engineers is becoming more difficult, expensive and time-consuming in Calgary and Montreal, Seattle and Charlotte; and the issue is more likely to become worse in the future. If you are not one of the tech giants or big brands in the area, your chances of consistently attracting and retaining engineering talent are likely average at best. The scarcity of talent and the ongoing exercise of recruiting, testing and interviewing engineering candidates, can be costly, time-consuming, and may possibly be impeding the productivity of your engineering team now, or in the near future.

Our proposed solution

Finding good engineers in LATAM or anywhere else isn’t easy. If it were, everybody would be doing it. DevEngine is capable of providing you with access to niche and experienced software and data engineers and architects, specifically looking for remote work, with interesting and ambitious projects.

In the past, knowledgeable professionals in Latin America were forced to seek opportunities with a finite number of clients, often relegating them to mundane endeavours in a conventional 9 to 5 location-based assignment. But now, with shifts in philosophy to the employment paradigm, these individuals are finally being given worthy opportunities to contribute to meaningful initiatives. These engineers desire to work from the comfort of their own home, and not waste time commuting. They want to structure their work around their life, not their life around their work. And as previously mentioned, access to this “remote first” recourse pool affords you the ability to compete with larger companies, to attract and retain top-level resources, that would otherwise be compelled to clock into a conventional 9 to 5 physical workplaces.

Your “future engineers” will have an opportunity to work from their own home or, if the need arises, from DevEngine provided co-working space.

All engineers in our network are eligible to make referrals and receive fair compensation for the people they recommend, as well as completion bonuses (paid by DevEngine). These additional forms of compensation should serve to further incentivize our engineers to remain within our network.

What we expect from you

  • Focus on recruitment
  • Clearly defined interview process and timelines
  • Cooperation and timely communication
  • Streamlined on-boarding process. It’s a good idea to have a dedicated person on your team for the on-boarding process who DevEngine can work with directly.
  • Timely payments

We are based in Vancouver, Canada and fly out to any location in Canada or the US to meet with our current and prospective clients. Chat with us if you are thinking about testing things out in the Latin American market. We are always happy to share data you might need for decision support. Ping us to set up a quick coffee meeting next time we are in town or if you have any specific questions about current rates for engineers in Latin America.