It’s no surprise that North American companies are starting to see the value in hiring technical talent from Latin America. With thriving tech industries, large talent pools of skilled software developers, and proximity to the United States, the region offers many benefits for companies looking to extend their development teams through better, cost-effective hiring solutions.
So how much does it cost to hire a pre-vetted software developer from Latin America? And how does it compare to other regions around the globe? We’ve gathered and analyzed data from the 21,000+ profiles in our network of software developers to answer these questions. In this article, we’ll explore the hourly costs broken down by country, region, and skill to give you a better understanding of the market. We’ll also share our insights from more than 10 years of experience in the staffing industry to provide you with an accurate look into hiring vetted software developers in 2021.
Cost of Developers in Latin America vs. Global Regions
Let’s start by looking at the costs of hiring pre-vetted developers in Latin America versus other global regions. We analyzed the hourly rates from 16 different geographic locations to see how LATAM stacks up.
Hourly rates per global region:
|The United States||$57-85|
|Australia and New Zealand||$55-80|
Across all software roles and skill levels, developers from the U.S. have the highest hourly rates that range from $57.50-85 per hour. It’s worth noting that this is simply the country-wide average and that rates in markets like San Francisco and New York are significantly higher. Canada and Western Europe take second and third place with ranges of $60-80 and $50-81 per hour, respectively. After that, hourly rates dip about 20% to $45-65 in both Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Traditionally, Southern Asia and Eastern Europe have been go-to destinations for companies looking to hire remote talent. Both regions have established markets with large talent pools and relatively affordable prices. In our network, the rates of developers in Southern Asia range from $35-55. Eastern Europe’s prices are more comparable to Latin America and, depending on where you are located, can be a great source of talent. However, If you’re based in the United States, hiring from either of these regions can come with communication and time zone challenges (which can be up to 13 hours apart).
Similar to Latin America, Africa is an up-and-coming market for software talent. Across the region, there are several hotspots with large pools of talented software developers. Hourly rates are also reasonable, with a low range from $39.50-51.25 (Central Africa) and a high range of $40-60 (Western Africa) per hour. However, from our experience, collaboration with developers can be a challenge because of connectivity issues.
When compared on a global scale, Latin America is an attractive option for sourcing talent. Although higher on average than countries in Asia and Africa, Hourly rates for developers in this region are significantly less than in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Time zone overlap and a relatively similar work culture between Latin America and the US enable better collaboration and contribute to overall project success. This is why Scalable Path has focused on building up our network presence in Latin America.
Hourly Rates in Latin America
We found that the hourly rates of pre-vetted software developers across Latin America range from $45-65 USD per hour. However, this number varies slightly depending on the geographic location you’re looking at. To get an accurate breakdown of costs, we pooled data from 20 different Latin American countries to calculate the ranges of hourly rates across the region.
The minimum and maximum range for each country’s hourly rate can be attributed to a few different factors. For instance, level of education, expertise (skills and experience), and cost of living impact how much a developer may charge. The cost of hiring a developer will ultimately depend on a combination of the role you’re looking to fill and the country you hire from.
Top Talent in Latin America
Uruguay, Peru, and Chile, though not the largest countries in Latin America, have excellent sources of concentrated talent and hourly rates comparable to the rest of the region. However, in today’s competitive landscape, access to larger talent pools means you may be able to find, interview, and hire candidates who are a better fit for your role at a faster pace. In our network, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico have the top four tech talent pools. Let’s take a closer look at these locations to see what they offer.
Of Brazil’s 204 million population, an estimated 83 million make up its educated workforce. The country has undergone significant growth in recent years with advances in its startup ecosystem and multi-billion dollar investments in the tech sector. The country’s talent pool is equally impressive. Of the Latin American developers in our network, 75% are located in Brazil. The country also has a moderately low rate range for the quality and experience level of the talent available, ranging from $42-65 per hour.
- Hourly rate: $42-65 USD
- Largest talent pool in our network in Latin America
- Overlapping work hours (0-3 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time)
Argentina’s tech sector is developing at a fast pace, making this another great location to hire software developers from. In Coursera’s 2019 Global Skills Index, the country had the number one spot for Technology in both the region and the world. According to the report, Argentina scored 100% in Computer Software skills and 95% in Operating Systems. On top of this, the country ranked number one in Latin America for English proficiency in EF’s EPI 2020. Excellent tech skills, time zone overlap, and easy collaboration are just some of the advantages of hiring Argentinian developers. Like Brazil, this country’s costs are lower than other locations in the region, ranging from $48-65.
- Hourly rate: $48-65 USD
- Second largest talent pool in our network in Latin America
- Overlapping work hours (1-2 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time)
Colombia is another country making waves in the tech industry with one of the most robust startup ecosystems in Latin America. Colombia invests 20% of its oil royalties in science and technology, and in 2019, the country became the fourth largest tech industry in the region. The government offers free tuition for all technical and professional postgraduate programs in Information Technology, and over the last two decades, 690,491 students graduated from Software and IT programs. Colombia’s investments in the tech industry and IT education have made it one of the best countries to hire software talent.
- Hourly rate: $45-65 USD
- Third largest talent pool in our network in Latin America
- Overlapping work hours (in the Central Standard Time zone much of the year)
Mexico has one of the largest tech scenes in Latin America and ranks as the world’s 15th largest economy. In recent years, the country has invested $600 million into tech startups. As a result, Guadalajara has become a top tech hub with over 600 companies in the city, 13 universities, and 78,000 employed IT professionals. In our network, Mexico takes fourth place for talent pool size in Latin America. However, this number is growing each year and may eventually surpass other countries in the region. Mexico is progressing rapidly and has invested heavily in the tech sector, making it a great source of technical talent.
- Hourly rates range from $45-65 USD
- Fourth largest talent pool in our network in Latin America
- Overlapping work hours (in the Central Standard Time zone much of the year)
Hourly Rates by Developer Type
Geographic location plays a large role in how much a software developer will charge by the hour. Another factor that can impact cost is the type of developer you are looking to hire. This graph breaks down data from the hourly rates by developer type and popular tech stacks across Latin America.
Across the board, almost every developer type and tech stack has a rate of or around $45-70 an hour, apart from testing ($35-50). The takeaway here is that the skill type and technology can factor into costs, but it won’t drastically impact the hourly rate of senior developers. You may have to pay slightly more (+5.00/hour) to hire a Data Scientist or Ruby developer than you will most other kinds of developers.
So far, we’ve analyzed our internal data to see what developers typically charge in different locations and role types. In the following chart, we break down the frequency of all Latin American developers’ hourly rates in our platform in 2020 vs. the rates of developers who were actually selected and placed on client projects.
The orange bars indicate the subset of developers in our platform who passed our vetting process and were placed on client projects in 2020. While their rates range from $40-89, the highest majority of developers we placed had hourly rates between $50-65 USD per hour. To provide the best combination of expertise and value, we didn’t often go above or below this range in 2020.
We have developers in our network on the low end of the scale with rates from $20-39and on the high end from $90-99, but none were placed on projects last year, and this is a common practice for Scalable Path. From our experience, low rates often reflect a lack of experience, and these developers frequently don’t have the necessary experience to pass our technical interviews. On the other side of the spectrum, we find that we can find skilled developers to meet most of our clients’ needs within the $50-70/hr range, and going above that typically isn’t necessary.
This chart visualizes the subset of Latin American developers in our network who were actually placed on a new client project in 2020 vs. the total set of Latin American developers who updated their desired hourly rate in their Scalable Path profiles in 2020. Because we do the legwork of sifting through large numbers of applications, our clients only need to interview a small number of top developers who we have thoroughly vetted.
Why hire a developer from Latin America?
Cost-effectiveness is a major pull for companies looking to hire remote developers. However, there are many added benefits that make hiring from this region advantageous.
More notable benefits to hiring tech talent from Latin America include:
- Overlapping time zones: Compared to countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa with 10-13 hour time differences from the U.S., Latin America’s proximity to the United States gives way to better collaboration through similar time zones and overlapping work hours. Major markets like Brazil can also work well for companies in Western Europe.
- Available tech talent: Because Latin America is still emerging as a new market, many countries in the region have large talent pools of untapped talent and lower competition compared to more established markets, like Eastern Europe and India.
- English proficiency: Latin America is becoming increasingly more proficient in English. As of now, there are roughly 5.4 million English speakers in the region. According to EF’s Index, 11 countries in Latin America rank above the regional average.
- Work-culture mindset: There is a cultural synergy between Latin America and the United States. From our experience, developers from LATAM are an excellent fit for U.S. companies looking for developers with similar values, work ethics, and skill sets.
Scalable Path is a US-based company with a core internal team that is distributed around the world. 50% of its members are located in Latin America. From our experience, working with talent from this region has been an integral part of building a team that is cohesive, collaborative, and successful.
Latin America has entered the global competition of technical talent in recent years, and for a good reason. With thriving startup ecosystems, governments investing in education and tech, and growing talent pools, the region is rich with technological progress and innovation. For companies looking to hire developers in 2021, hiring Latin American developers is a smart business choice. With more cost-effective options, overlapping time zones, strong English communication, and the availability of skilled workers, the region can offer considerable benefits to companies looking for new opportunities to scale in 2021.
Using data from the 21,000+ profiles in our network, we analyzed the hourly rates of Scalable Path’s pre-vetted software developers broken down by country, region, and skill to give our readers a better understanding of the market and an accurate look into hiring software developers through Scalable Path in 2021.
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