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ICT and the Competitive Talent Challenge

By Selene Diez - Forte Innovation Consulting


By Selene Diez | CEO - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 11:00

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The technology sector and the talent sector have proven time and again to be resilient in the midst of economic cycles. Today, tech hubs in America continue to produce innovations that attract customer demand. And now, increased remote hiring can spread job growth for tech talent across markets.

Accelerating technical progress in the digital universe has made the use of devices and applications using cloud computing, big data analytics, blockchain or artificial intelligence a daily occurrence. The technological revolution, coupled with the change in the strategies of leading companies in the use of digital technologies, has led to the rise of global platforms. 

Access to talent has become a crucial issue for both established and emerging companies. Fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs has become a necessity.

Contact Nodes for Talent

Latin America offers multiple advantages to American companies: compatible time zones, professionals with English language skills, lower cost of living for workers, among others.

As a result, specialists have proliferated within Latin America that work by connecting qualified workers with companies looking for specific skills. Platforms like Metaphorce or job search portals serve as a nexus and, as more technology companies mature in this part of the continent, they are also equipping employees with the relevant practical skills to start their own businesses.

Latin America has become aware of the importance of building a scientific-technological infrastructure and training its human resources. Today, it continues to embrace digital transformation with several points in its favor: exponential growth in enabling technologies, such as cybersecurity, and the increase in the development of technology startups, for example. (Michael Page Report: Market Trends)

This shows how the future of digital transformation in the region is assigned by the effort to strengthen aspects that go hand in hand with the trends that will be seen in the coming year: development of power skills, consolidation of fintech ecosystems that will digitize 100 percent of their relationship with customers, a decrease in the digital divide and the use of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things, blockchain, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Importance of IT Talent Training

According to an Accenture study (2020), Latin American investment in artificial intelligence and human-machine collaboration will increase employment for professionals in the region by 10 percent. Hence the urgency in terms of IT talent development in Latin America to accompany digitization.

However, this leads both organizations and development policies in the region to face other challenges, such as making access to technology and training inclusive and training human resources with both technical and soft skills.

Over the last 10 years, investment in research and development (R&D) activities in the region has doubled, although only three countries, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, account for 91 percent of investment in the sector (Science and Technology Indicators Network RICYT).

STEM Competitiveness 

Thanks to the current technological prominence, we wondered about the 4.0 competitiveness of Latin America and if they are training the number of IT professionals needed to respond to the demand that the market is generating around these talents. After analyzing data from more than 124,000 software developers who are part of the talent network of 12 countries, the Revelo report, which aims to demonstrate the technical expertise that Latin American talents have, shows that 46 percent of North American employers express the need to find staff in this area. By 2025, it is estimated that the US alone will need to fill 3.5 million jobs, of which 2 million cannot be filled due to a lack of skills. (Revelo Releases First "Latin America Remote Tech Talent Report'').

The need to meet this demand has been such that in countries like  Mexico, 23.5 percent of technology vacancies are remote, according to this year's IT Labor Market Report. Revelo's co-founder, Lachlan de Crespigny, says, "The data found evidence of an alignment between the skills, experience and English proficiency requirements of Latin American talent with the US technology industry." He adds: "Access to the best talent will be key during the next wave of innovation in the US technology market."

Why A Deficit of Tech Talent in Latin America?

According to data compiled by IDC, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Finnovista, Latin America grew by 8.5 percent in the technology market and is expected to grow to 9.4 pércent at  the beginning of 2023.

So, why is there believed to be a deficit of technological talent in Latin America? Basically, because many countries have lagged behind in investing in the training of this type of talent, especially Mexico, the country with the highest demand for technological talent.

"If we take into account the statistical compilation of the Revelo report, out of 718 Latin American managers, 64 percent stated that their technological project has suffered difficulties due to the lack of skills of the responsible personnel. On the other hand, 51 percent of them acknowledged having a severe deficit of skills in data analysis, while 40 percent pointed out that they lack preparation in programming and software development." (Revelo Releases First "Latin America Remote Tech Talent Report'').

According to Oracle and Fibra in their report Desafio Latam: Impact of the Crisis on the Labor Market and Education, the three largest IT talent markets are Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Santiago de Chile, and the fastest growing is Bogota.

Mexico, a Key Location

CBRE Group's data on the 10 largest tech talent markets in Latin America places Mexico City in second place. 

Mexico City stood out in CBRE's report on the indicator of more tech-degree graduates in 2021 (19,407) than any other market in the Top 10. The next closest was Sao Paulo, with 14,701.  Likewise, Mexico City was  up 18 percent in software developer salaries in 2016-2021.

No Digital transformation ithout Digital Specialists 

From large banks to laboratories, industries and specialized sectors, all are technology players that need to automate services, processes and solutions, and all have begun to hire intensively technical profiles to strengthen their teams and are increasingly looking to Latin America. 

If nearshoring already brings great opportunities for Mexico and Latin America in 2023, it is important to consider that skilled labor and talent that can counteract this regional-global shortage must become the standard to stand out and face the great wave of companies in various sectors looking to hire specialized talent.

All this can be done through investment in professional development programs for employees, educational programs and government support for institutions with STEM careers because the key is to provide the possibility for employees to have career development, with training, challenging projects, long-term development opportunities and partnerships with universities and governments promoting recruitment opportunities.

Photo by:   Selene Diez

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