When John F. Kennedy spoke of “crisis”, he liked to point out that the Chinese translation of the word consists of two characters (危机). The first means “danger”; the other “opportunity”.
It’s on this pivot that the tech recruitment industry finds itself in a world still adjusting to post-pandemic work life.
Businesses are aware of the “danger” of not having enough tech firepower to compete with rivals amid a digital shift to remote working. Yet they struggle to access the sea of untapped talent in emerging markets that holds an unprecedented growth opportunity.
A “tech talent gap” in many developed economies is evidence of this, one forecasted to be worth almost $500 billion by 2030 in the United States alone, according to studies from the International Data Corporation (IDC).
Remoti CEO Pablo Miller spotted this issue early on. As a student back in 2008, he saw first-hand the disconnect between the first fintech startups and tech talent.
After working with legendary entrepreneur James Caan, famed for his work with unicorn startup´s TransferWise and Starling Bank, he began to recognize golden opportunities in recruiting talent from emerging tech markets.
Recruiters, Pablo realized, were making a big mistake.
“Recruiters were getting something fundamentally wrong,” he recalls. “They didn’t get to know their clients or the technology they were selling. Instead, they were driven by short-term sales targets rather than working to fundamentally understand the things these startups need when they start to expand internationally.”
It led many a recruiter down the wrong path when it came to hiring new talent.
Pablo knew tech recruitment needed a different approach, and he sought to build a company that removed the barriers between recruiters and clients.
He benefited from the help of Oliver Pawle, chairman of UBS investment banking and founder of the Centre of Entrepreneurs which advises young business people. Under his mentorship, Pablo learned how tech startups worked, what made them tick, and what type of personnel they needed to grow.
As someone of British and Colombian heritage, he had built-in experience with multiple working cultures, and when it came to the attributes that tech startups needed from their employees, one market stood out.
He’d go to Colombia.
Colombia is famous for its coffee exports, but fewer people have heard of its rich availability of digital expertise that’s been brewing over the last decade.
Pablo Miller found that the abundance of skilled young developers and engineers there had the opposite problem to companies in the USA or Europe: there weren't enough tech roles for them.
It was a waste. They had what Pablo describes as the “secret sauce” of skills: adaptability, education, and enthusiasm – all characteristics that tech startups crave.
He launched Remoti in 2016. Its raison d’etre was to build a talent pipeline between US- and UK-based companies and skilled young tech professionals across Latin America, but Pablo wanted it to be more than that.
He added two important figures to his executive team. Now-CGO Daniella Meneses came in as Director of Technology and built the startup’s search technology. And Juan Felipe Velasco Sáenz, former People and Culture lead for super app Rappi, brought in his data-driven HR expertise to help Remoti develop rapidly.
After launching, Remoti’s team “on the ground” wouldn’t just search and screen candidates, but also deal with the complicated hiring and payroll processes. Until this point, foreign employers had to set up a Colombian legal entity or outsource to a third party: both costly options that led to a fragmented recruitment process.
Instead, Remoti would become an extension of the company’s recruitment arm, an embedded talent acquisition service that provided direct access to local legal financial experts to ensure compliance with employment laws in Latin American countries.
Remoti’s HR-as-a service meant their clients’ own HR leaders would become a part of Remoti’s team. This meant dissolving communication barriers via easy data sharing and joint access to virtual hiring tools.
But the process didn’t finish once the hire was complete. Pablo wanted to put into practice the lessons he’d learned from recruiter mistakes in the UK. He wanted to build long-term relationships that benefited both the company and employee.
Remoti’s mission was to align the interests of businesses and employees with one solution.
Pablo has made it clear that he wishes for workers to continue to improve post-hire.
He explains: “I want to build a platform that gives young professionals access to what I did growing up in the UK: amazing healthcare, education, and English communication skills. It doesn’t matter which emerging market they’re in, they should work with companies who can help them develop their skills”.
This led to Remoti’s People Products services. Employees receive upskilling opportunities via TechEd classes on coding and developing; they can also sign up to language classes and mental wellness programs. Employers, meanwhile, have a ready-made selection of HR programs to choose from.
Building successful remote teams suddenly started to look a lot easier.
Remoti’s focus on providing high-impact emerging market candidates for their clients has paid off.
The fact that Remoti clients save an average of 40% on talent attraction and HR costs has also helped.
The startup has bootstrapped its way to over 70 employees, including 52 trained recruiters. It’s become the go-to partner for over 100 tech companies, including Visa and Amadeus. It adds 500 bilingual developers to its ranks every week. It’s about to open a new office in Miami, allowing Remoti to service US clients in the whole of Latin America.
“Now, more than ever, is the time to look to hire remote,” says Pablo. “The post-pandemic paradigm shift is allowing businesses to accelerate their recruitment. After all, who doesn’t want high-quality, affordable developers? Remoti’s ethos on social mobility is making this happen by giving companies easy access to skilled talent they don’t have locally”.
It appears JFK was right. Out of the danger of the pandemic crisis have appeared unprecedented opportunities for tech businesses. The key is accessing them.
Remoti is that key.