I’m often asked, where should I hire offshore employees? That amounts to the same question as, where should I set up my offshore business? Where should I set up my outsourcing business that requires a number of employees? When asked where I should hire offshore employees, here’s the trick I’ve learned.
Step 1 is to use Uber or Didi over a number of days in the city you’re thinking about opening up shop in. Are the rides cheap and are there many cars available? This will almost always tell you whether there are employees available in the city and whether the population is hungry for work.
For example, in the United States and Puerto Rico, the cost of Uber is very high and the number of drivers has declined significantly during the pandemic. This is because the government is paying their bills and unemployment seems to be an unlimited resource in America. Thus, there is little incentive to work.
And we see this proven out over several industries. Nearly every restaurant I visit in California is looking for employees. Several had to eliminate lunch service because they simply couldn’t find the workers.
The same is true of sales, retail, and call center jobs. It’s difficult to fill these positions in the United States. Some drive Uber because they can stop after the maximum allowed income they can earn before reducing their unemployment benefits. But, many will not take a part-time or full-time job until these subsidies end.
As most of these employees are renters, the fact that many are in rent forbearance in the US means that they have zero incentive to work. I recently stayed at an AirBnB for 30 days. It was a rental and I learned that the person had been in forbearance for over 12 months. They were taking in $3,000 a month in sub rent and paying zero to the building owner.
So, what does this have to do with the question of where should I hire offshore employees? Simple: if the government is subsidizing your target worker, you can’t compete. Laziness and getting something for free will always trump what you’re willing to pay or a fair wage.
Using the Uber test, you’ll find that cities like Tijuana, Mexico, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic are excellent for employee-driven businesses. Both of these locations have cost-effective Didi and Uber services and employees are readily available at a reasonable cost.
Conversely, Cancun, Mexico fails the Uber test. While this is in part due to a lack of workers, it’s also a sign of corruption and other issues beyond the scope of this article. But, suffice it to say, the Uber test shows that Cancun should be avoided.
Step 2 is to look for cities with a number of bilingual call centers. If the city has a few thousand bilingual seats over multiple call centers, you know that you’ll be able to find quality bilingual employees. By offering a little better wage and better working conditions, you will attract more workers than you can use.
Likewise, if the city does not have many call centers, it’s unlikely that people focus on English as a second language in school. There may be many job seekers, but very few will have the level of English you require.
The rule of thumb is that the further south you move from the United States, the lower your costs will be but the more difficulties you will have in finding quality English speakers. This proves out true even in massive cities like Mexico City.
For this reason, one of the best cities in the world to hire offshore employees is Tijuana, Mexico. Costs are a fraction of its neighboring city of San Diego, California where the minimum wage is now $14 per hour and going to $18 in a couple of years. In Tijuana, bilingual call center jobs pay $500 to $1,200 a month, with the average being about $900 per month.
Other benefits include the ability to easily commute to or from San Diego, access to US stores and tech, using US banks to operate, and the possibility of hiring US persons to train or work full time in TJ to support the local staff. None of this is feasible when your city is a flight rather than a 30-minute drive from a major US city.
My second choice for a city based on call center coverage is Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Also, Santo Domingo is the first choice for those on the East Coast while Tijuana is more efficient for those on the West Coast.
There are over 50 call centers in Santo Domingo and the city’s educational system focuses on English. Many younger graduates or college students work in call centers. You’ll also find experienced managers and reasonable access to technology.
Average call center salaries in the Dominican Republic are about half of those in Tijuana. However, the industry is competitive and you will pay a premium for quality English speakers.
Note: The salary ranges from the link above include a large percentage of Spanish-only workers.
One interesting benefit of the Dominican Republic is its proximity to the US territory of Puerto Rico. Many American entrepreneurs have moved their businesses to Puerto Rico for tax savings. There are also many international banks opening on the island. These businesses can see significant cost savings by moving some of their services to the neighboring island, the Dominican Republic.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that these cities are only good for call centers. I’m saying that these cities are the best for all offshore businesses where you require a bilingual workforce. I’m merely using call centers as an indicator of the number of English speakers available.
I hope this article on where should I hire offshore employees has been helpful. I believe the Uber test, along with the call center test, will give you a good indication of a city’s workforce availability and English proficiency.
If you would like to hire us to set up a business in Tijuana or Santo Domingo, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to represent your company in these cities and build out your division or business in an efficient manner.