Although Argentina’s bond market is in turmoil and its stock market is nose-diving, its abundant supply of tech talent remains a major attraction for foreign multinationals looking to expand in the South American country.
According to a Bloomberg report, Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Chase and BPO firm Accenture are all hiring hundreds of workers in Argentina to bolster their technology hubs there.
Accenture is adding 700 people to its roughly 7,000 workers in Argentina, while Citigroup is talking of hiring nearly 100 personnel to its workforce by early next year. It is not known precisely how many people JPMorgan is hiring in the country.
Argentina’s advantage is the availability of skilled professionals at lower costs than can be found in neighboring countries Brazil and Chile.
CESSI, Argentina’s IT industry association, has embarked on a mission to generate skilled labors for the industry, and is encouraging member firms to collaborate with universities and train the students in IT services skills.
The government, on its part, offers a 50% tax break on the profits made by IT companies, and allows firms to use the payroll tax for covering the cost of training programs.
The country’s software industry registered more than 10% growth in 2012 and generated more than US$900 million in export revenue. An increasing number of companies in the country are adopting agile software development methodology, an area where the country is showing some real leadership.
And Argentine exports totaled US$36.8 billion in the first six months of this year, according to the country’s Ministry of Industries.
Citigroup has a long track-record in Argentina. The U.S. bank runs a technology center known as the Argentina Development Center, which designs software for its Latin American business. It services retail and corporate banking, contact centers and automated teller machines.
Quoting unnamed sources, Bloomberg said JPMorgan is cutting hundreds of technology-support employees in its corporate and investment bank in locations such as New York, Tampa, and Dubai, but is adding people to its operations in Argentina.