Finding Tech Talent Offshore, Why the Dickens?

April 13, 2016 1:02 pm | Updated 7 months ago.

You just put out the third ad for a Ruby on Rails developer and did not elicit any response. You wondered where on earth is all the talent from the top notch university going, are  these bright young graduates which the Universities churn turning into hippies,  while they would have been better off  fueling the American economy with their talent.

The problem is not the graduates turning into hippies, the issue is the growing gap between the demand for skills and the people who have them. The US and Europe make up roughly half the world’s economic output, but only 10% of the population, so much of the world’s best talent lives in developing countries.

The off-shoring we are talking about is not the Nike(sian) sweat shops of slave wages, forced overtime, and arbitrary abuse. We are not talking about hiring a David Copperfield in Vietnam or a Lucie in Ukraine, this is about getting top notch graduates, technical brains and  cutting edge researchers from the third world universities. The hunt for global talent is for high in demand and increasingly hard to get professionals in the first world like actuarial scientists,  UX designers, database administrators, QA Managers, computer security experts, data scientists, analytics managers etc, who typically in the United States make  over USD 90000/year.

Why Off-shoring is Becoming a Run for Talent

Market place is no longer about milking a onetime innovation for twenty years of profit. Open source technology, venture capital and startups are out there to disrupt your business if you are not nimble on your feet. It is not about long term planning, it is about planning for the next day so that you remain relevant in the market place. And to keep you nimble and agile you need people who are conversant with the tools to help you strategize, innovate and scale up.  It is not that you are alone in the conundrum, so are your customers and competitors and are increasingly targeting at a small on shore talent pool. That’s why outsourcing is becoming an essential capability.  The skill sets needed to execute plans have become too diverse for any organization to keep on staff full time.  In short, if you want to access top talent, you need to look outside your organization and tap the global market.

Agreed We Need to Go Across Seas, But How Do we Find Them 

Signing up with an head hunting agency might not work. Technology now makes it relatively easy to identify offshore talent. Talent marketplaces like Elance, 99 design, TopTal, Icecat , D2E etc are places to shop for talent. Elance works with over 3 million freelancers across the world working in a diverse set of fields.  The market place agents are vetted for skills and ability through an accreditation test. TopTal shortlists the technologists  on its talent exchange website through stringent test and interview. IceCat approaches talent fishing for full time teams in offshore locations through personal interaction with technology talent via social networks and communities. D2E mentors second and third tier companies and maintains a vetted global roster of talent which can be accessed on the tap for both long-term and short-term expertise.

Global Talent Market has Something for Everyone

US and Europe based firms have a choice of talent across niche geographies.  Taso Du Val, CEO of Toptal, says that he sees vastly different skill levels and prices in different regions.

Cutting Edge: Software developers in the former Soviet Union are considered amongst the best in the world and graduates from Moscow’s MIPT as being especially impressive.   Tel Aviv and Seoul have emerged as hot spots for cutting edge talent in areas like robotics and machine learning.

Well Rounded: If you are looking for tech talent who are also good communicators and have business insight, the Eastern Block countries of Poland, Czech and Hungary should be your port of call. Polant leads the pack in this segment. The prices are also lower at around $4000-$6000 per month.

Time Zone Compatibility: Due to the similarities of time zones, many US firms favor Latin America for outsourcing.   Brazil has top notch talent pool expecially in the area of programming. Such talent comes with a price tag of USD 000-8000/month.

Value for Money:  India and China have positioned themselves as providing talent which is cheap and good. While maybe not at the cutting edge, the talent pool is for regular tasks and to scale.  This means that India leads the world as the outsourcing destinations, picking up bulk orders. Pakistan, is slowly emerging as the go to destination for value for money IT talent.

The Key To Success Is Managing Outsourced Employees As Your Own

Hiring the best overseas talent is not enough, they have to be retained for else your next door neighbor might take them away from you. They have to be treated like full time employee, given challenging assignments, training, incentives, good work environment  and a pat on the back for a job well done. Most importantly your outsourcing managers and HR team have to put the effort in instilling the sense of pride in the offshore workforce in working for your company.