Mexico City — As companies’ digitization becomes a priority in Latin America, the demand for tech talent is growing, but will 2023 continue to be a time of tech talent shortage?
For the CEO of technology education startup, Colectivo23, Cristina Elías, “there is a huge digital talent gap in Latin America”, and who acknowledges that, when talking about education, there are gaps of all kinds, but one of the biggest today is that in technological training.
In 2021 a survey published by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in its book Digital Transformation and Public Employment, indicated that out of 718 Latin American public managers, 64% stated that their technology project had suffered difficulties due to lack of skills among personnel.
Likewise, 51% acknowledged having a severe deficit of skills in data analysis, while 40% identified a lack of preparation in programming and software development.
Companies are demanding professionals with knowledge in new technologies and professionals need training in countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru.
In 2022, a study on emerging technologies in Latin America, conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in partnership with NTT DATA, revealed that despite their intentions to digitize, 73% of executives said that talent was the biggest barrier.
In Mexico, at the close of 2022, 57% of companies were expanding their technology workforce, according to a study by Experis Mexico, a company specializing in talent search.
However, 68% reported having difficulty finding the tech talent they were looking for, Carlos Bueso, director of Experis Mexico, told Bloomberg Línea.
During the first quarter of 2023, Bueso said, “explosive technological growth” will continue and this time “technological positions will be more sophisticated or more specialized, requiring deeper knowledge of technological platforms, which makes hiring dynamics more difficult.”
The tech talent deficit will continue in Latin America in 2023, Elias told Bloomberg Línea, adding that there is currently a great need for UX designers and interface designers, in addition to product owners, who are people who own products, who have a good command of technology, management of technological equipment, and of digital product indicators.
Moís Cherem, CEO of Bedu, a competence training company for digital businesses, believes that there are three major opportunities to develop technological talent in the region.
The first has to do with the digital transformation process that was generated from the pandemic by large corporations; the second is remote work, which allows access to opportunities with global companies and the third is in the startup sector that needs to grow at scale, although for the moment there is some contraction, Cherem said.
How to find and retain tech talent
Competition for technology talent is accelerating as more professionals are needed to sustain the digitization of Latin America, with the technology market in the region having expanded 9.4% in 2022, according to data compiled by IDC.
To address the talent shortage, many companies have turned to startups that connect tech talent with demand, such as the Peruvian Talently or US-based Howdy and unicorn Turing.
However, large corporates can do much more. “It’s very important if you’re a company to have a more proactive role in training your talent,” Cherem says.
“If you’re a company and you’re looking for software quality assurance experts, then generate a training program, attract people with a set of initial competencies and through a competitive process pick the best ones,” Bedu’s CEO suggests.
Once you have managed to get the necessary technological talent, you have to retain it, however.
“You have to understand that digital talent is mainly young and prefer the concept of hybrid work and, in addition, it is a profile that seeks challenges a lot,” said Elias.
“Understand very well the talent you are looking for, and what are the things that generate value for them,” advises Colectivo23′s Elías.
The technology talent expert believes that in Latin America “we are seen as one of the most backward regions, not only in digital transformation, but also in productivity, so that’s where the gap is”.
However, Latin America can turn around the shortage of technological talent in 2023 through more training.
“We should be those catalysts for Latin America to be the hotbed of digital talent for the world and become increasingly competitive in the type of talent,” Elías said.