Latin America is experiencing an unprecedented IT brain drain, with more and more software professionals abandoning their regional employers for a position in a European or a US firm.
The factors driving the exodus include the region’s depreciating currencies and the growing popularity of remote working.
With the work-from-home arrangements blurring national boundaries, the regional IT providers are struggling to retain talent.
The worst hit is Brazil, many of whose companies are setting up shop in Portugal as part of a unique labor acquisition strategy, under which they draw their country’s talent to a European country.
That is because Brazilian IT professionals prefer to work remotely for a company that pays them in foreign currencies, says Portuguese news outlet Valor. The number of Brazilians looking for Portugal visas increased 200% in 2021, according to the news outlet.
Brazilian IT industry needs at least 160,000 new professionals every year, but all it can train in a year is a mere 53,000, according to Brasscom, the country’s IT lobby group.
There is an acute shortage of IT talent even in Uruguay, according to AFP. The tiny South American country has a deficit of 5,000 IT technicians, reported the French new agency, citing the Uruguayan Chamber of Information Technology.
Clearly, the brain drain will have a devastating impact on the region’s economy, the technology sector in particular, because Latin America’s IT talent deficit is predicted to widen to 48% by the end of this year, according to a British consultancy PageGroup.