Recent posts on the Staffing Stream on nearshore staffing— highlighting the benefits it could bring to your organization and the importance of choosing the right partner — provided an excellent overall understanding of the opportunity nearshore offers in size and scope.
Is that simple? Can you really access quality IT bilingual talent in your own time zone at a fraction of the cost you would incur if hired where you are located? Over the past 20 years, I have built a career in the IT staffing industry, focusing in Latin America and for the past seven years stationed in Mexico City, leading our fastest-growing nearshore operation in the Americas.
Let me share why I believe there’s never been a better time to incorporate nearshore as a critical component of your hiring strategy.
The Perfect “Nearshore” Storm
The world of business is undergoing its most dramatic test since the advent of the Internet thanks to the pandemic and the resulting explosion of remote work. Along with its many devastating effects, Covid-19 has also brought opportunity as a result of the rapid adaptation we have made in the way we collaborate, and the trust companies have needed to build around their teams performing remotely under these extraordinary global circumstances. According to Global Workforce Analytics, 56% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with remote work, and I suspect the percentage is much higher among IT professionals, with the rest of the world seeing similar trends and adoption metrics.
Meanwhile, higher education in Latin America has made great strides over the past four decades; Mexico, for example, ranks as one of the world leaders in computer science with as many as 65,000 people graduating each year from the country’s 100-plus engineering and technical institutions. But Mexico is not alone, as companies in many countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Europe, and Australia, are turning to Latin America for the quality of their talent, particularly for engineering and tech positions.
What happens when these two realities finally collide? Of course, remote work isn’t the latest trend we are all trying to figure out, and Latin America has for years been a top nearshore destination; however, something feels different this time. As remote work becomes the established norm and companies configure their IT teams purely on the merits of the overall value return to the organization (regardless of the team´s location), the question suddenly becomes, “What could possibly hold a company back from wanting to achieve more with less?”
Realizing the Potential
So back to the original question, is nearshoring really that “simple” to adopt? As someone who has seen many companies succeed with the model, my short answer would be YES. But you need to keep these things in mind:
- Manage your expectations. There is plenty of quality talent in Latin America available at a fair price, but like everywhere else, good talent is scarce and highly sought after; so if you decide nearshore is for you, get ready to compete with numerous other companies that have already adopted the model and are doing a terrific job at keeping their extended workforce engaged and happy.
- Hire for experience AND potential. Conceive your nearshore strategy as a way for your company to gain a sustainable growth advantage over time and not just as a tactical solution; invest in and nurture your nearshore teams as you would your own.
- Leverage the cost advantage (but don’t skimp). Talented people know their worth and will try to land a job that recognizes their value, both locally and internationally. Seek advice on local best practices for talent retention and work with a partner that can offer fully compliant hiring solutions, regardless of the location.
- Take action. Don’t listen to the naysayers and find out for yourself if there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and, if needed, “fail fast and fail cheap” but go and explore. As in life, it might take you a few trials before you find a lifelong partner that can help you win the war on talent but remain open-minded, and you might just end up wishing you had started this journey before.