Help wanted: US companies seeking international software developers

The trend: US tech companies are increasingly hiring remote workers in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

  • The move is especially strong for software developer positions that only require a laptop and an internet connection.
  • Last month, 75% of companies hiring US engineers also looked for engineers in Latin America, up from 55% a year ago, per Insider. Pre-pandemic, only about 25% looked to hire engineers in the region.
  • The trend isn’t just happening among US tech companies. As part of a 227% increase in Asia Pacific employers hiring remotely, Singapore’s tech industry has also been hiring internationally for tech roles, with 11% of talent based in the US, 11% in the Philippines, 9% in India, and 6% in Indonesia.

Some companies making moves:

  • San Francisco-based Deel and Austin-based Safeguard Global, which want to scale their companies quickly, are looking for the best candidates located anywhere in the world.
  • Deel, which launched in 2019, has 1,100 employees spread across more than 75 countries, including Nigeria, Colombia, and Belarus, with only 18% based in the US.
  • Hiring platform Revelo, based in Miami, wants to help ease the process of US tech companies hiring workers in Latin America and currently offers a pool of 300,000 vetted tech developers.

What’s driving this? Tech’s shift to outsourcing jobs globally is largely rooted in The Great Resignation and the shift to remote work that grew out of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Although Silicon Valley is hiring remotely within the US, the cost savings is marginal compared with hiring internationally.
  • While a US-based software engineer working remotely could earn a $199,000 salary, the median salary for senior software engineers in Argentina is $60,000, $76,000 in the Philippines, $81,000 in Brazil and Mexico, and $85,000 in Poland.
  • A tight labor market is making it hard for companies to find software developers.
  • During the Trump administration, tech companies became more averse to bringing international workers onshore due to immigration policy restrictions.

What’s next? The trend may mark a shift from tech’s desire for in-person, collaborative work environments, but it’s not likely going to pervade the entire industry.

  • Some Big Tech companies and others hiring for roles that can’t easily be done remotely will continue to hire locally.
  • For businesses with remote work setups, international hiring could increasingly become the norm and even help them expand core services to new markets.
  • While this grants international workers more opportunities, it also means nascent tech industries in other countries might not be able to compete.
  • If a recession were to hit the US, we can expect a major blow to domestic tech worker salaries.