2023 Salary Guide: US vs. Latin America
Discover US and Latin American Salaries by Role.
How much you could save by hiring top remote talent from LatAm
As this salary guide comparing US and Latin American salaries will show, US companies can make significant cost savings by hiring from the region.
The job market in Latin America is rapidly evolving. It presents a wealth of opportunities for companies looking to hire remote talent. The region has seen significant growth in industries such as technology, finance, and customer service, making it an attractive destination for companies looking to tap into a larger talent pool.
Latin America (LatAm) is home to a diverse and talented workforce with a wide range of skills and experiences. Professionals in LatAm are ready to contribute to the success of US companies by providing high-quality, cost-effective remote talent available within US working hours.
Whether you’re looking for a software developer, an accountant, or a customer service representative, LatAm has a wide range of professionals with diverse skills that can meet your needs.
By hiring remotely in LatAm, companies can access a vast pool of talented professionals and tap into the benefits of nearshore outsourcing, such as cost savings, access to a larger talent pool, and increased flexibility.
In this guide, we will provide an overview of the most in-demand roles and fields in LatAm and a breakdown of salary ranges, market trends, and cost-of-living information. This information will give you a starting point from which you can make informed decisions on the compensation packages to offer LatAm remote workers that would be fair for them while still allowing you to make generous cost savings.
Job Market Trends in Latin America
The remote job market in LatAm is showing positive trends in 2023, making it an ideal time for companies looking to hire talent from the region. The demand for salary increases in the US worries businesses when there is a looming potential recession. Employers are looking for ways to save on labor costs, and many have turned to the LatAm job market as a solution.
The cost of labor in LatAm is significantly lower compared to the US, making it a cost-effective option for companies looking to fill roles. This cost-saving trend is expected to continue in the coming years as businesses seek to stay competitive and profitable in a challenging economic environment. By hiring remote talent from LatAm, companies can still increase their competitiveness and drive growth in the face of economic uncertainty.
Workers in LatAm recognize the importance of investing in their skills and professional development. With an exponential increase in digitization, LatAm workers are seeking more training, certifications, and other resources to help them advance in their careers. This presents an opportunity for companies looking to tap into a highly skilled and motivated workforce.
Free education has been a key driver in increasing the number of STEM professionals in LatAm. In countries such as Mexico and Brazil, the government has implemented programs to provide free or low-cost education to students, focusing on STEM fields. This has resulted in a large pool of talented individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the demands of businesses and organizations in the region.
This has particularly benefited the technology sector, which is rapidly growing in LatAm. The region has become a hub for software development and IT services. The increase in STEM professionals has allowed companies to profit from a large pool of highly skilled workers. High-quality LatAm talent is not scarce, either. Due to the shaky economic conditions in many LatAm countries, numerous companies have been forced to lay off many employees, in some cases even going as far as shutting down all their operations. This trend left many qualified employees without a job.
On top of that, most of these newly unemployed people cannot find new jobs due to a lack of job openings matching their skill set. The few vacancies comparable to their previous positions are usually filled quickly. Meanwhile, they would typically be overqualified and underpaid for most of the remaining open positions. As a result, countless job seekers have turned their focus to international remote work. Due to the shared time zones and better salaries, US companies seem to be the target for most LatAm remote workers.
As the cost of living is generally lower in LatAm than in the US, the salary expectations of LatAm workers are also lower. This means that US businesses can make substantial savings on their wage costs while still providing a fair and generous salary to their LatAm remote workers. It truly is a win-win situation.
In summary, the LatAm talent market presents a cost-effective solution for companies looking to hire remotely in 2023. With uncertainty hanging over the economy and demand for salary increases, many US employers are turning to the region for skilled and motivated workers at a lower cost. The trend of upskilling and continuous learning among LatAm workers also allows companies to access a highly skilled workforce. Due to the challenges in their local job market, LatAm workers are seeking remote work opportunities with US companies due to improved salaries and shared time zones.
Most In-Demand Roles (That US Companies Are Filling With LatAm Talent)
When it comes to remote workers in LatAm, the demand for certain professional roles has grown rapidly in recent years. This is due to the region’s increasing pool of highly skilled workers and its lower cost of living compared to other regions. Increasingly US companies are looking to fill key departments with LatAm remote workers, including software development, data analysis and management, design, accounting, and human resources. Talent from these fields is highly sought after by businesses worldwide seeking cost-effective talent with a strong skill set.
In this section, we will explore some of the roles and estimated LatAm salary ranges, including a salary comparison versus US-based talent, for ten fields: accounting, finance, sales, marketing, customer support, operations, HR, IT, data, and design. It’s important to note that the salary ranges provided in this guide are estimates. The final salary of a remote worker in LatAm will depend on various factors, such as experience and skills required, as well as the specific company and location. Nevertheless, the information provided in this guide can give businesses an idea of the cost savings they can expect when hiring remote workers in LatAm, as well as the range of talent available to them in this exciting region.
Choose one of the fields below to learn about the roles in that field that can be filled by LatAm talent and the estimated minimum and maximum salary ranges for each role.
Cost of Living
Salary expectations in LatAm vary. Each country has unique socioeconomic conditions, leading to diverse living costs and affecting salary expectations. This section will provide an overview of the cost of living in five LatAm countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. We will also cover the US so that you have a reference point to compare the LatAm living costs to.
We will give an overview of how much essential items (housing, food, healthcare, and taxes) cost in each country. This information can help you understand the cost of living expenses remote workers in LatAm may have, which will help you make informed decisions when setting salaries and compensation packages.
The US is known for its robust and dynamic business environment, diverse industries, and competitive market. With its strong economy and numerous growth opportunities, it is no surprise that businesses worldwide set up shop in the US. However, with a high cost of living and expensive healthcare and taxes, businesses must also factor in these costs when deciding between local and international remote talent.
- Interest rate (March 2023): 5%
- Annual inflation rate (December 2022): 6.5%
- GDP per capita (April 2022): USD 76,027.043
Given the vast area of the US, housing costs vary greatly depending on the location. New York City, the largest city in the US, has a higher cost of living than smaller cities. As shown in the table below, renting in the second or third most populated cities, Los Angeles and Chicago, is obviously cheaper. Prices also differ based on the location relative to the city center, with NYC displaying the greatest variation between urban and suburban offerings.
Food costs in the US are 2–3 times higher than in LatAm. The daily spend for the recommended minimum amount of food per person is around USD 12.78, which amounts to a monthly recommended minimum of around USD 396.10. Of course, this will vary some depending on location in the US.
The medical costs are incredibly high, with an estimated three-day stay at the hospital costing approximately 30,000 USD. The US is the only developed country without a universal healthcare system. Thus, access to public healthcare is not free. However, the government provides some public insurance options for seniors and low-income individuals through the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which cover most medical expenses. However, the selection of medical health providers under these plans is more limited than private healthcare as co-pays are lower (or non-existent), and many institutions refuse to accept these plans.
Because not everyone has access to these public programs, many people have to pay for private health insurance. It is estimated that around 60% of Americans pay for some kind of private health insurance. These plans can be paid for by the individuals themselves or sponsored by an employer. The costs for individual health care plans vary greatly. However, on average, they can be anywhere from USD 400 to 800, depending on location and the type of coverage.
When it comes to taxes, it is important to note that the US tax system is complex and varies depending on many factors, such as income level, state of residence, and type of business. The corporate income tax (CIT) rate is 21% at the federal level, with additional state taxes ranging from 1% to 12% depending on the state (which are deductible from the federal CIT). The personal income tax rate is 37%, and the individual capital gains tax is 20%. Unlike some LatAm countries, there is no standard value-added tax (VAT) or net worth/wealth tax of any kind.
Argentina is known for its rich culture, history, and diverse landscapes. It is also known for its resilience in the face of a fluctuating economy, headlined by the unstable valuation of the Argentine peso. Despite its economic troubles, Argentina has an immense entrepreneurial spirit, making the country home to more than ten unicorns, second in the region only to Brazil.
- Interest rate (January 2023): 75%
- Annual inflation rate (December 2022): 94.8%
- GDP per capita (April 2022): USD 12,187.30
The cost of housing in Argentina varies depending on the location, with Buenos Aires, the highest-populated city, having the highest cost of living. Cities located in the interior of the country have lower housing costs. In line with this, living in the second or third most populated cities, Cordoba and Rosario, can be much cheaper. Prices also differ based on the location relative to the city center.
The cost of food in Argentina is relatively affordable. Based on a Western diet and the daily recommended minimum amount of calories and nutrients, the cost of food per person in Argentina is USD 4.68 per day or USD 145.03 per month.
Argentina offers both public and private healthcare options. The public healthcare system provides free hospital, medical, dental, and palliative care. It also offers free rehab, medical transport, and prosthetics.
However, waiting lists for public healthcare can be long, which is why many Argentines opt for private health insurance. In major cities such as Buenos Aires, La Plata, Rosario, Mendoza, Cordoba, and Salta, private healthcare options provide excellent professional care and facilities at a reasonable price, with the most basic plans starting at USD 50 per month.
In Argentina, the CIT rate is 35%, and it’s paid in monthly installments. The personal income tax rate is 35%, which is paid in mid-June, following the return filing due date. Meanwhile, the net wealth/worth tax rate is 0.50% to 1.25% for all assets held in Argentina and 0.7% to 2.25% for assets held abroad. The standard VAT rate is 21%.
Brazil is the fifth most populous country in the world and the largest country in South America. Brazil also has the highest GDP in LatAm, making it a major player in the global economy. It is home to a large number of multinational corporations and is a popular destination for tourists and business travelers alike.
- Interest rate (January 2023): 13.75%
- Annual inflation rate (December 2022): 5.79%
- GDP per capita (April 2022): USD 8,570.28
Similar to its southern neighbor, the cost of housing in Brazil can vary depending on the location and type of accommodation. São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, has the highest rent prices in the nation. Apartments in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, the second and third largest cities, respectively, tend to cost much less.
When it comes to food, Brazil offers a variety of options for its residents and visitors. The average minimum cost for a balanced diet per person per day is USD 5.61. As such, each person spends an average of USD 173.80 monthly on food.
Brazil also offers both public and private healthcare options for its residents. The public healthcare system, the SUS, offers universal health coverage and many free services, such as preventive, primary, and maternity care.
Nonetheless, public hospitals may be overcrowded and lack the infrastructure and conditions of private hospitals. Private healthcare options are usually offered through employer-provided employee benefits programs. The average cost of medical insurance for the most basic individual plans hovers around USD 55.
When it comes to taxes, Brazil has a varied array. The overall CIT rate is 34%, composed of their corporate income tax, IRPJ, at the rate of 25% and their social contribution on net income, CSLL, at the rate of 9%.
The personal income tax rate is 27.5%, and the standard VAT rate is 18%. Federal VATs (PIS/COFINS) have a combined rate of 3.65% (cumulative) or 9.25% (non-cumulative). Meanwhile, state VAT (ICMS) ranges from 17% to 20% (lower rates apply to inter-state transactions, varying between 4%, 7%, and 12%).
The municipal service tax (ISS) ranges from 2% to 5% (cumulative).
Colombia, located in the northwest corner of South America, is renowned for its lush rainforests, vibrant cities, and diverse wildlife. In spite of its reputation for political instability and security issues, Colombia has been making significant strides in recent years to improve its economy and infrastructure.
The country’s efforts to attract foreign investment and encourage entrepreneurship have led to a growing number of successful businesses and a thriving startup scene. Additionally, Colombia’s diverse population and growing middle class have made it a popular destination for international companies looking to expand their operations in the region.
- Interest rate (January 2023): 12.75%
- Annual inflation rate (December 2022): 13.1%
- GDP per capita (April 2022): USD 6,806.52
In Colombia, rent prices don’t differ much from city to city. Like in most of the cities in the region, in Bogotá and Medellin, the largest and second largest Colombian cities, respectively, suburban apartments are much cheaper than those in the city center. However, Barranquilla is an exception. Rent for centrally-located apartments is cheaper than rent for apartments outside the city center.
The daily food budget for a basic diet is approximately USD 4.03, which amounts to USD 124.94 per person per month.
Colombia has both public and private healthcare options. Unlike its South American neighbors, access to public health is not 100%. Under the public insurance system, called EPS, the co-pay rates range from USD 1 to 11.15, depending on income. Out-of-pocket costs for a doctor’s appointment without any insurance in the public sector could amount to USD 50 per visit.
In private health facilities, patients can access services with shorter wait times and direct access to specialists. The cost of health insurance plans to access these facilities range from USD 55 to 90 per month.
The CIT rate in Colombia is 35%, which is paid between April and May in two or three installments (depending on the amount owed). The personal income tax rate is 39%, which is due between August and October, depending on the worker’s tax ID. Meanwhile, the standard VAT rate is 19%.
Unlike some of its neighbors, individuals don’t have to pay any net worth or wealth tax.
Mexico is a vibrant and culturally rich country. It is the 11th largest economy in the world and has a growing workforce of over 120 million people. Despite its large population, Mexico still faces challenges like income inequality and low wages in certain sectors.
Regardless of these challenges, Mexico has a thriving job market with many opportunities for professionals in various fields.
Although the cost of living in cities like Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara is relatively higher than in the rest of LatAm, the average salary in Mexico is still low compared to the US. As such, many qualified professionals seek remote international opportunities to earn a comfortable living.
- Interest rate (January 2023): 10.50%
- Annual inflation rate (December 2022): 7.82%
- GDP per capita (April 2022): USD 10,165.67
Out of the countries we explored in this guide, Mexico has the highest rent prices in the LatAm region. Like its southern neighbors, the costs increase the bigger the city, with Mexico City having the highest rent in the country. There is also a big variation in prices when comparing urban to suburban options.
Similar to rent, Mexico has the most expensive food in LatAm. A person needs to spend around USD 6.75 on food to cover the daily nutritional requirements. Thus, the minimum monthly amount spent on food per person is USD 209.20.
Mexico has a mixture of public, private, and employer-funded healthcare systems. Depending on which program someone is enrolled in, the employer-sponsored IMSS or the Seguro Popular for those on low incomes or pre-existing conditions, the medical care may be free or at a low cost.
For those who do need to pay, the costs vary based on various factors (e.g., medical institution or type of specialist). For example, an emergency room visit can cost between USD 15 and USD 25, and a doctor’s consultation will cost around USD 18. The average cost of private healthcare per month is USD 142, with an annual deductible of approximately USD 5,000.
In Mexico, the CIT rate is 30%, and the personal income tax rate for residents is graduated at progressive rates up to 35%. For non-residents, it varies depending on the type of income, with salaries being taxed at progressive rates up to 30%. The standard VAT rate is 16%.
Peru offers a relatively low cost of living compared to other countries in the region. With a diverse culture and rich history, it has become a popular destination for those seeking new business opportunities.
Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in LatAm, the cost of living remains low, making it an attractive option for those looking to hire talent based in Peru. With a well-developed infrastructure, access to natural resources, and a growing middle class, Peru offers a stable and growing business market.
- Interest rate (January 2023): 7.75%
- Annual inflation rate (December 2022): 8.46%
- GDP per capita (April 2022): USD 7,034.45
In Peru, the housing market offers a diverse range of options for potential renters. The three largest cities in Peru are Lima, Arequipa, and Trujillo, each offering unique features and attractions. The housing market in these cities varies in terms of availability, location, and cost, making for a varied cost of living across the nation.
The cost of food in Peru can vary greatly depending on personal preferences and dietary restrictions. However, a daily recommended minimum amount to budget for food in Peru is approximately USD 4.84. This translates to a monthly recommended minimum of around USD 150.12.
Peru offers both public and private healthcare options. Public healthcare is provided by the Ministry of Health (MINSA) and EsSalud, which is obtained through employment. MINSA serves uninsured people and impoverished citizens in rural and urban areas. Meanwhile, EsSalud collects a 9% employer contribution to cover the employed population and their families.
As in most LatAm nations, public healthcare has long waiting times, and private healthcare is preferred by those who can afford it. Private healthcare provides good standards, and larger cities have multiple private health clinics. Depending on what the private health insurance policy covers, the prices range from USD 26 to 180 per month.
In Peru, the corporate sector is subject to a tax rate of 29.5% on their income. Individuals have a personal income tax rate of 30%. The standard VAT rate in the country is set at 18%.
The cost of living in LatAm is clearly below the average in the US, meaning the salary expectations of even the top-tier LatAm talent will be below their US-based peers. This allows you to offer a very fair and even generous salary that will compensate your LatAm remote workers for their skill and experience level while still allowing you to make cost savings. It’s truly a win-win situation.
The salary ranges in this guide will give you a starting point to base your compensation offers on, keeping in mind that what the candidate will consider an attractive salary will depend on their location and skill and experience level.
This clear cost savings, coupled with the fact that LatAm offers a pool of highly skilled professionals, means there is a growing demand for remote workers from LatAm. This presents a unique opportunity for businesses looking to expand their reach, tap into a diverse talent pool, and increase their competitiveness.
For example, we have helped Delve and Cyberfortress each save USD 500k a year by filling ten positions in marketing and data and eight managerial and finance positions, respectively.
If you are ready to take advantage of the trend of nearshore outsourcing to save on your payroll costs, Near can help you find the best LatAm talent. We can provide a complete service to acquire top talent for you; we can help you find, hire, onboard, pay, and retain your remote LatAm workers.
Schedule a complimentary remote recruiting consultation to learn more about how you can achieve your business goals faster by leveraging nearshore outsourcing.