Rise of remote working is creating diversity in tech | theHRD – The HR Director Magazine

Diversity in tech has evolved tremendously in the past few years, especially since COVID-19 has changed the way that even traditional businesses operate. Previously, hiring global talent was more convoluted and resource intensive, requiring the need to balance visas, costs, and additional expenses not just for the ex-pat, but for their immediate family as well. However, the rise of working remotely from anywhere worldwide has removed those barriers and made Western companies more open to hiring international top-notch IT talent.

Latin America, in particular, has recently become the new forefront for nearshore IT talent, as its industry has seen rapid development in the past five years. The silver lining of the global pandemic is the rapid acceleration of diversity in technology talent because companies of all sizes realize that it takes a global village of talent to meet market demands.

As part of an initiative to make the tech industry in Latin America more inclusive, many countries are working hard to make sure that US companies have a diverse roster of talent to choose from. For example, the US Embassy in Quito, Ecuador sponsors a program called POWER (Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise), where young Ecuadorian women in STEM are mentored by women entrepreneurs and female talent in STEM-related fields. This program works diligently to help these young women gain access to employment internationally while also giving them an invaluable network of women in tech and STEM fields to tap into for advice and individualized professional development.

Even with these types of initiatives, there’s still significant work to be done to combat stereotypes about having diverse teams. It’s been heavily documented that gender-diverse teams tend to perform better than single-gender teams, yet it can still be difficult for even one female tech dev to be added to an all-male team. In recent years, tech companies across the world have mandated that their HR teams find solutions to overcome this issue.

In order to accomplish this, hiring managers must start at the very beginning to keep a sharp focus on creating diverse teams. Inclusivity and diversity must be key tenants when screening and selecting interviewing candidates during the entire hiring process. This remote candidate pool allows hiring managers to focus on what’s truly important – to enable Western companies to evaluate global talent on a more level playing field. HR no longer needs to adhere to traditional hiring metrics when interviewing developers from abroad, but rather they can focus sharply on their hard and soft skill sets and ability to perform in a 100% remote role. Some people are just bad interviewees in social settings, but this virtual style of the hiring process alleviates a lot of pressure and allows each candidate’s tech skills to shine.

Honing in on a candidate’s complete skill sets, allows HR to be more objective when it comes to evaluating whether these developers fit both the hiring company’s culture and can easily adapt to the various workplace cultures of Western companies. This is where nearshoring developers from Latin America have a distinct advantage over other global talents. Many people think Latin America is a completely different world compared to the US, but that’s far from the truth. Besides close geographical proximity, Latin America has similar cultural work values to that of the US when compared to countries in Asia and India, for example. Latin American developers are able to more easily adapt to being part of a US-based team and take full advantage of the opportunities available when working with US teams. This chameleon-like adaptability gives Western companies the reassurance that this type of distributed team will bring a stronger sense of teamwork and prove to be a valuable backup option when hiring local talent is not feasible.

However, there is definitely still some pushback when outsourcing international talent.  Unfortunately, the long-disproven myth that hiring staff outside of their borders is taking jobs away from their local citizens still influences HR hiring practices. This is especially apparent in the developer sector.  My company is rapidly expanding because it is still very difficult to find skilled developer talent despite some big tech hiring freezes. US employers have posted a record 1.6 million job openings for tech professionals so far this year, an increase of 40% compared to the same period last year, according to CompTIA’s report. However, they have not been able to hire as many tech professionals as they need. Positions for software developers and engineers accounted for nearly 30% of all employer tech job postings in 2022. Without them, businesses can’t function because they are under mission control. There are plenty of unfilled developer positions and the problem is global. Nearshore talent does not take jobs away from developers; they are a welcome addition to overworked, stressed-out teams who need more resources to deliver upon digital transformation goals.

It is important to keep in mind that global talent competition is nothing new, but with remote work as the norm, now everyone has the same opportunities and advantages. The global talent pool has expanded and it’s now more equitable because access has been granted to anyone with the right skill set and connectivity. At the end of the day, Western companies must take into consideration the best hiring decision based on the current resources available. As a recent Fortune survey points out, the talent crisis is the top threat to businesses according to CEOs. The problem is urgent, companies are unable to reach digital transformation and business goals without adequate resources, and developers are overwhelmed with work and facing epic burnout rates.

The decision to outsource talent is nuanced. As much as we don’t like to admit it, costs do play a huge factor in these decisions. This makes hiring nearshore devs from Latin America a more attractive option for these companies when looking for top-level IT talent. In outsourcing talent from Latin America, these Western companies gain a Latin American nearshore developer that is an expert in their field, in a similar time zone, and a good culture fit for the company – eliminating many, if not all, of the problems that stem from hiring offshore talent in places such as Asia and India. For example, our highly vetted, qualified, and diverse pool of candidates represents the top 3% of Latin American developers and they are 25 to 40% less expensive and they stay in positions 60% longer than US workers. Additionally, hiring Latin American developers infuses diversity into teams for broader perspectives that lead to better products, and services, and create new approaches and it directly addresses the in-house burnout experienced by overworked U.S. tech professionals.

But it’s important to remember that a company’s choice to hire Latin American nearshore developers is about more than just filling a diversity quota. Augmenting teams with diverse talent creates a dynamic that brings different, unique, cultural perspectives and ideas, which ultimately enriches the team and elevates results. With this value at the forefront of every hiring decision, it can create a type of synergy not seen anywhere else – and create the best results for your fully integrated, distributed, and more global team.

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