How to Hire Software Developers in Latam:
Cost and Salaries

Emmanuel Olvera

CEO & Cofunder of Hireline

Latin America offers largely untapped markets of culturally diverse and English-speaking talent with general knowledge of American culture. Like US talent, these professionals bring industry expertise and know-how while also offering fresh perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking. Latam has opened up a pipeline to a sizable talent pool with equal or fairly similar time zones and which quickly led to a gap between supply and demand for tech talent. Companies can still attract top-tier talent with the proper benefits and compensation.

Nearshoring to a different country requires understanding peculiarities your company may face throughout the process. This includes everything from cultural differences to payment models and interviewing processes, which all depend on the countries you’re looking to hire in.

In this Guide, I will briefly explain how the recruitment and hiring process for technology profiles in the Latin American market works and what you can do to find the best programmers for your open positions and hire them under a remote work model. We’ll cover:

  • Tech talent market in Latam
  • Salaries and cost of hiring software developers
  • Employment Contract Options
  • Where to hire the best tech talent in Latam

At Hireline, we have more than 9 years of experience in the labor market connecting companies with the best programmers in Latam. With data from more than 350,000 tech professionals in our talent pool and thousands of job posts on our platform, we offer information that may be relevant to grow your team in Latam.

I. Tech talent market in Latam

It is well known that the majority of technology talent is employed, which is why companies need to look for talent outside of their countries. Fortunately, the US is close to one of the regions with the largest pools of tech talent: Latam, which also has the advantage of sharing the same time zone with the US.

The types of projects in which LATAM developers have experience are related to the maintenance of systems or legacy code in medium/large corporations, including US companies like banks. This implies that the programming languages and the versions they are experienced in are Java and .NET. Until 2015, Latam only had two unicorns, but in recent years the figure grew to more than 30; in a single year - 2021 - the record number was 18 with startups developing major products like Kavak, Rappi, QuintoAndar, Uala, Bitso, Kushki, CloudWalk, Stori, and Nowports, among others. These in addition to Brazilian Nubank, which is already a public company.

Currently, the most senior talent with experience in global projects is found in nearshoring companies and software factories:

  1. Large global IT consulting firms such as Accenture, IBM, TATA, Wipro, Cognizant, NTT Data, DXC Technology, T-Systems, Deloitte, HCL, Infosys, Luxoft, Capgemini, Indra, etc. which have offices in major cities across Latam.

  2. Globant, an Argentine-origin company, with over 20,000 engineers and world-class clients such as Google, Electronic Arts, NatGeo, Southwest Airlines, and Coca-Cola, among others.

  3. Softtek, a Mexican-origin company, boasting 15,000 engineers specializing in but not limited to: banking, finances, insurance, and retail projects.

  4. Encora, employing 9,000 engineers, with 6 engineering centers in Latam and clients like DHL, Switchfly, Movoto, Sagent, to name a few.

Companies such as Stripe, Etsy, Lyft, Eventbrite, Salesforce, Uber, Zillow, Oracle, Intel, and others now have engineering offices for product development in Latam.

There are currently 26.9 million developers globally, according to data from Evans Data Corporation (EDC). It is estimated this figure will increase by around 1 million each year, with Latam being the region with the second-highest growth of developers globally.

Latam engineers are at an intermediate level of English.

Taking as a sample the 400,000 candidates registered on Hireline, 28% of technology professionals have advanced English, 45% have a medium level, and 27% have a basic level. Most engineers graduate from public universities where learning a second language is not a requirement for graduation, unlike private universities, such as the Tecnológico de Monterrey, where all graduates have advanced English. Considering the above percentages, the talent pool is reduced and it will be necessary to create alternatives as part of talent attraction strategies and project management. One of these is requiring advanced English for senior profiles and medium to basic English, with potential written and conversational communication errors, for mid/jr profiles...

As shown in the graphic below, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia are the largest pools of developers in Latam.

II. Salaries and cost of hiring software developers in Latam 2023

Of the salaries in the region for technology professionals in Latam with intermediate English, Chile is the country with the best salaries, with an average net remuneration of $2,238 USD per month, 69% above the regional average ($1,324 USD). It is followed by Mexico with $1,431 USD and Argentina with $1,379 USD.

In Mexico, the average monthly salary of a technology professional with advanced English is $2,710 USD, while with an intermediate level it is $1,431 USD (Hireline México Tech Labor Market Report 2023).

Tech talent with advanced English proficiency almost doubles or triples monthly salaries. For those with senior tech talent it quadruples salaries.

In the following table we see a comparison of salaries for the most common technologies based on English proficiency levels.

Monthly Salary: Software Engineer in México 2023 by specialization

Language Monthly Salary Average
With Advanced English (USD)
Rate per hour
160 hours per month
Monthly Salary Average
With Mid English level (USD)
Swift $4.221 $26 $1.689
Go $4.208 $26 $1.683
Apex $3.968 $25 $1.587
Ruby $3.824 $24 $1.529
PL- SQL $3.490 $22 $1.395
Kotlin $3.480 $22 $1.392
Typescript $3.323 $21 $1.329
Dart $3.285 $21 $1.314
Java $3.253 $20 $1.301
C# $3.184 $20 $1.273
Python $3.137 $20 $1.254
Cobol $3.008 $19 $1.203
JavaScript $2.911 $18 $1.164
Delphi $2.911 $18 $1.164
PHP $2.150 $13 $860
Visual Basic $2.058 $13 $823
C $1.640 $10 $656

These figures are net salaries, or the amount of free income remaining after deductions and taxes. Companies that hire on full-time provide additional benefits as explained below in the employment contracts section.

What matters most to tech talent?

According to our Latam Tech Labor Market Report 2023 , 77% of Mexican IT professionals consider professional development the most important factor when accepting a new job offer. To continue in a company, salary, work environment and perks are almost as important. The number of applications a company receives for a position is 3 times higher when the vacant position is fully remote.

Developers in Latam are seeking a salary increase of 21% to 30% to switch jobs. It is important to show all the information and details of the type of projects they will be working on and the salary offered.

III. Employment Contract Options

There are two main hiring schemes commonly used for tech professionals:

  1. Direct Hire, Full-Time Employee: Case Mexico. Benefits based on the law in Mexico assume all legal responsibilities and increase the cost by an additional 35-40% to the salary. The employee has the following withholdings:

    1. IMSS (Mexican Institute of Social Security)
    2. INFONAVIT (Housing Fund)
    3. Christmas bonus: 15 days (30 days average in the industry)
    4. 12 days of vacation per year and vacation bonuses
  2. Contractor Services Agreement: Sign a contract for services between contractors and your company. This cost ranges from 15-25% -of the payroll service, and the contractor receives a net salary.

    1. The full salary will be paid directly to the contractor.
    2. The contractor will be responsible for paying taxes and other legal obligations.
    3. Perks and benefits will be optional and depend on you (e.g., life insurance, major medical insurance, Christmas bonus, meal vouchers, etc.).
    4. The contractor model is a good option to consider for your first employees, as you don't need to have a company incorporated in the country where the employee is located.
  3. Recruitment Services for Tech Talent: For the initial hires, having a recruitment partner who handles everything from sourcing to filtering the top 3 candidates would be the most convenient solution when your recruitment team lacks the knowledge to find tech talent.

IV. Where to hire the best tech talent in Latam

Recruitment agencies can be a good partner because they know the market, they know where the talent pools are and they can provide you with a customized solution to conduct first interviews until they deliver you the best 3-5 candidates.

Today's job search is done primarily through the Internet and, of course, job portals. The latter has facilitated the recruitment for thousands of organizations, being the first source of tech talent job searches in Mexico. Some such job portals that operate in Latin America are OCC Mundial, Computrabajo, Indeed, and Bumeran.

LinkedIn is the second most used platform by IT professionals to look for jobs. Job recommendations from friends and colleagues complete the top 3 most popular ways to access new job opportunities.

The disadvantage of LinkedIn is that you do not have the candidate's contact information to talk to him/her immediately. You must send a connection request, which the candidate may or may not accept.

If you are looking for a complete solution, Hireline provides recruitment and payroll services specialized in connecting the best technology talent in Latin America with companies around the world. We find the best candidates from a pool of 300,000+ Latin America technology specialists

The ideal job post to attract software developers in Latam

The more information your job posting has about your company and position, the more candidates will apply. It is likely that Latin American candidates haven't heard about your company. It is important to include these points:

  1. Clear job title describing main Role and Technology needed in the position. For example, if you are looking for a programmer who knows Java you should use the title "Java Programmer". This way the candidate will quickly understand what position and technology you are looking for.
  2. Qualifications you are looking for. I suggest a section for indispensable qualifications and another section for those that would be a plus.
  3. Company description. Someone reading your job posting may be attracted to the position if you get them to think about the types of projects they will be involved in. Many candidates are looking for professional challenges.
  4. Salary and perks you offer. If you need a full-time engineer the salary should be specified in dollars per month. Benefits are always a great attraction and say a lot about you as a company.

If you are looking for a complete recruitment and hiring solution, Hireline can help you.

Here is one example for you to get inspired:

About Nubank

Nubank was founded in 2013 in order to free people from a bureaucratic, slow and inefficient financial system. Since then, through innovative technology and outstanding customer service, the company has been redefining people's relationships with money across Latin America. With operations in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, Nubank is today one of the largest digital banking platforms and technology-leading companies in the world.

Today, Nubank is a global company, with offices in São Paulo (Brazil), Mexico City (Mexico), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Bogotá (Colombia), Durham (United States), and Berlin (Germany). It was founded in 2013 in Sao Paulo, by Colombian, David Vélez, and cofounded by Brazilian, Cristina Junqueira, and American, Edward Wible. For more information visit

Engineering at Nubank

We strive for state-of-the-art software development practices that currently include a variety of technologies. While we value candidates that are familiar with them, we are also confident that software engineers who are interested in joining Nubank will be able to learn from our team. Elements of our engineering:

  • Dynamic and reusable components in our frontend using React.js
  • Continuous Integration and Deployment into AWS
  • Horizontally scalable microservices written mostly in Clojure, using Finagle and leveraging upon functional programming techniques and hexagonal architecture
  • High throughput jobs and inter-service communication using Kafka
  • Storing data in Datomic and DynamoDB
  • Monitoring and observability with Prometheus
  • Running as much as possible in Kubernetes

We are a process-light organization that values human interactions. We value working in small, independent teams that feel like small startups within the company, and avoid coupling and centralizing where realistic. We understand that execution is the key to success and optimizes processes to remove bottlenecks.

You can read more about it in our blog and get some insights into how we work.

As a Full-stack Software Engineer, you’re expected To

  • Build our frontend, being open to contribute to backend development, according to business needs
  • Make continuous iterations to our frontend products (like our website) based on new requirements
  • Plan and execute on entire features, collaborating with peers while planning the work ahead, and seeing it through
  • Collaborate with building microservices and work with continuous delivery and infrastructure as code
  • Work with agile software development methodologies
  • Write, test, instrument, document, and maintain code
  • Pair, and participate in code reviews, to grow and contribute to the growth of others in and around the team
  • Collaborate closely with Product, Design, and partner Engineering teams to build the best experiences
  • Participate in on-call rotations for your team and respond to incidents as necessary

What are we looking for?

  • Proven track experience building digital products
  • Ability to quickly understand technical and business requirements, translating them into technical design and implementation
  • A problem-solver who is able to communicate effectively across functional teams
  • A software engineer who cares deeply about user experience and likes to take part in hiring, onboarding, mentoring, and training
  • Proven understanding of object-oriented or functional programming language
  • Experience with React.js
  • Flexibilty to learn about distributed systems

Core Benefits

  • Equity at Nubank
  • Health and life insurance
  • Food card
  • 15 days of paid vacation with 25% vacation bonus
  • Holiday Bonus ("Aguinaldo") of 30 days of pay per year
  • NuCare - Our mental health and wellness assistance program
  • NuLanguage - Our language learning program
  • Extended maternity and paternity leaves
  • Interviewing and onboarding are currently done virtually due to COVID-19. Everyone new to the team and our current staff will remain working from home until it is safe to return to our offices. If/when relocation is required, we have a team dedicated to global mobility and have

Now you have a broad overview of the tech talent in Latin America, which we can summarize in the following main points:

  • Consider the salary ranges according to the English level you require in your vacancy. Remember that in Mexico, the average salary of a technology professional with advanced English is $2,110.4 USD but if you're looking for a senior profile, you should consider a higher salary.
  • The contractor model is a good option to offer with the first employees since you don't need to have a company incorporated in the country where the employee is from.
  • The more information your vacancy has about your company and position, the more candidates will apply. It is probable that Latin American candidates haven't heard about your company.
  • A good advice I can give you is to bet more on talent than on specialization or years of experience in a specific technology.

We know that the fast-growing IT industry needs changes equally fast and effective to adopt flexible but challenging work schemes. It is key to have strategic partners who allow you to move forward and keep the pace that the industry and your organization demands, as well as mastering the data and culture of the country in which you want to hire.

Hireline offers you everything you need to start or expand your engineering team distributed in Latin America. Recruiting, Hiring and Payroll.

Hireline is a recruitment platform specialized in technology profiles. We connect the technological talent of Latin America with the best companies in the world.

If you have any questions or suggestions about the IT Recruitment Guide you can send us an email to [email protected]