Gino Ferrand
CEO & Founder
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Why Mexican Tech Firms Are Losing Their Best Software Developers

By Gino Ferrand | Tue, 08/16/2022 - 11:00

It’s no secret that there’s fierce competition globally to hire qualified software developers. Yet, the battle for Latin America’s tech talent has become particularly challenging recently, with a constant tug-of-war between US and Latin American companies to retain the best local IT professionals.

Mexico is no exception. Top software developers have been flocking to work for North American and European tech firms, leaving positions behind at local Mexican firms that are staying vacant for months.

But why?

Some say it only has to do with money. International tech firms are paying premium salaries to Mexican developers, enticing them to leave local opportunities. As a leader in Latin American tech recruitment, I know that’s not the full story. Though salaries play a key role in IT recruitment, there’s so much more that can sway Mexican developers to stay local.

Let’s go through some of the reasons why hiring Mexican developers has become so cut-throat and how Mexican tech firms can potentially win back their best and brightest professionals.

Why Mexican Tech Firms Are Losing Top Talent

Let’s first take a closer look at how the developer talent market has changed in recent years, causing Mexican IT professionals to leave in droves.

1. Mexican developers are some of the best worldwide.

To start, US, Canadian and European companies are aggressive about recruiting Mexican developers because of their world-class level of skills. Not only does Mexico have the highest rate of STEM tertiary degrees in Latin America but developers here have scored No. 1 on global skills tests in Python and C/C++ programming.

What’s more, the best software engineers in Mexico also happen to have high levels of English and those who don’t yet have proficiency are doing their best to learn English ASAP.

2. The tech talent grid is globally more connected than ever before.

Mexican firms are also losing out because tech recruitment has been transformed by globalized talent platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, StackOverflow, and even GitHub. These networks are now more visible and accessible than ever before, leading to global talent grids instead of local silos.

And with the global shortage of full-time developers expected to rise to 4 million by 2025, it’s no wonder that US companies are actively poaching this readily accessible talent from Mexico. In particular, tech firms in the US have ramped up their Latin American tech recruitment since the pandemic began.

3. It has become easier for US companies to hire Mexican developers directly.

In addition to recruitment practices, it has also become easier to hire Mexican developers directly. In the past, hiring was done through local staff augmentation companies, who acted as a broker between US clients and Mexican talent.

That’s just not the case anymore. International recruitment companies have made it ubiquitous and easy for US companies to bypass local intermediaries and hire talent directly.

4. It’s tough to compete with salary offers from U S and international startups.

Finally, hiring Mexican developers directly also leads to higher salary offers for Mexican engineers. However, this new salary trend isn’t just impacting Mexican staff augmentation and outsourcing companies. All local Mexican startups are finding it extraordinarily difficult to compete with incoming offers from US and international startups.

How Can Mexican Tech Firms Improve Their Odds?

There’s still hope for Mexican tech firms. Besides the higher salary proposition of US tech firms, there are other reasons why the best developers in Mexico prefer to work with international companies.

Here are a few key issues that local Mexican companies must address to start attracting and retaining the top echelon of tech talent. Without thoughtfully considering these areas, your tech firm may be relegated to competing for lower tiers of talent.

1. Re-assessing compensation

It’s not just about the salary but it definitely is a crucial factor. Mexican tech firms need to reassess how salaries have moved in the past couple of years and make sure that they are being as competitive as possible on this front. If they are unable to match some of the offers coming in US dollars from international companies, maybe equity or bonuses can help offset the differences in gross salary. Otherwise, being realistic with requirements and lowering seniority expectations can also help.

2. Remote work

Most US and international companies are hiring Mexican engineers remotely – and you should, too. Asking developers to go back to the office could be a large deterrent for many who enjoy the flexibility of working from home. Allowing remote work can go a long way in attracting senior software developers who are now mostly looking for flexibility.

3. More exciting workplaces

Latin American developers love the idea of working for North American companies where they can practice their English and collaborate with people from other countries. There’s a sense that working for a US firm and earning in US dollars is the ideal end goal.

However, you can change up this expectation by offering that same level of excitement, diversity and workplace dynamics. Often this is done by crafting a seriously great company culture, where developers feel like they can grow and get interesting experience with international teams. Work to develop and highlight these aspects of your company during the recruitment process.

4. Being among the best

IT professionals typically want to be among the best and believe that the most technically advanced companies are based in the US. You can attract Mexican developers by showcasing how your company works with industry-best teams, practices and clients as well. The recruitment process is an opportunity to “sell” your company to candidates and talk about how innovation, new trends and cutting-edge projects define your work. Recruiters, get your sales hats on.

Win Back Mexican Developers

By addressing these blind spots in recruitment, my hope is that Mexican tech firms have better odds in the battle for the best software and tech talent. Though they can’t necessarily compete with US companies at a salary level, they can lure developers with more appealing job packages, technical challenges, a great mission and an excellent growth trajectory.

Photo by:   Gino Ferrand