Latin America: The go-to destination to hire an executive assistant
If your endless workload has made it clear that you need an executive assistant (EA), there are probably a few questions you’re asking yourself already.
One of the first questions that might come to mind is: Where can I hire the best executive assistant?
If you’re thinking of hiring someone remotely, you might also be thinking about the following questions:
- What level of English proficiency should I require to avoid a language barrier? And how do I assess this?
- Will they align with our company culture?
- Which time zone will they work in?
- How should I determine compensation & benefits?
- How can I hire and pay them?
Since an EA is such a critical role for executive support, not having an answer to these questions may result in you making a bad hire, which is far more costly than not hiring an EA altogether in matters of both time and money.
Read more to find out about the best place to hire an EA.
Why hire an Executive Assistant in Latin America?
The best talent is not necessarily located in the same geography as you. In a world that’s more connected than ever and has remote work as the new normal, there’s no reason for you to restrict your search to city limits or country borders.
Latin America first took center stage when tech companies like Google, Apple, and Intel started hiring software engineers in the region, proving that it was home to some of the world’s greatest talent.
The same is true for executive assistants. That’s why we decided to take an in-depth look at the region and discovered the 4 reasons that make Latin America the go-to-market to hire executive assistants.
Table of contents
- Quality of talent
- Culture alignment
- Geographic proximity
- Economic positioning
Quality of Talent
There are many aspects that determine how well someone will perform in a role. We have identified three key indicators:
Spanish is the native language for the majority of Latin Americans, followed by Portuguese and French. But since 2020, English proficiency in the region has improved significantly, with over 70% of the countries climbing the proficiency ladder.
The EPI (English proficiency index), a study published by EF, tested more than 2 million adults located in 111 countries and regions in order to determine their English level. The study showed that Latin America continued to improve its English proficiency in almost every country. The region’s progress is outstanding and some Latin American countries have reached positions as high as number 30 on the global scale.
Large companies like McKinsey, BCG, and IBM have extensive operations in Latin America, including large executive assistant teams that support their executives based in North America. These teams manage schedules, coordinate meetings, and provide support to ensure that their executives can focus on their core responsibilities.
Additionally, some global companies have set up call centers in Latin America that operate entirely in English. Companies like Amazon, Hilton, and American Express are examples of this, utilizing the region’s skilled workforce and cost-effective resources to deliver high-quality customer service to their English-speaking clients.
Being highly proficient, as labeled by the EPI, is one of the most important traits an EA must have. Working alongside an executive demands strong English skills in order to ensure effective communication.
Strong education rates and institutions
The Best Global Universities Rankings is a renowned study that evaluates thousands of universities around the world and analyzes 13 key factors to determine which ones make it to the top 2,000. In the latest edition of the ranking, we could see some Latin American universities reaching positions as high as number 120 in the Global score, which shows the access to high-quality education Latin Americans have in the region.
The strong education Latin Americans have in their home countries is also getting the attention of students from other regions. According to UNESCO, in 2019 Latin American universities received almost as many students (137,000) as they were sending abroad (195,000).
On top of that, millions of students choose to continue their professional development abroad. From a sample of 148,482 Latin American students that continued their studies outside of their home countries, 66,149 of them chose the United States as their destination. That allows them to insert themselves into different cultures while acquiring the knowledge and skills some of the most prestigious institutions in the world have to offer.
Experience in the Business Process Outsourcing and Customer Service industries
Over the past decade, Latin America has become one of the hottest regions for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Customer Service (CS) industries in the world. Some of the biggest brands in North America, such as Google, Ford and Nike, have already taken the step and opened up their own Customer Service and Call centers in several countries in the region.
With hundreds of enterprises and startups making the move, Latin Americans have become highly skilled at processes that require strong communication, integrity, and intuition. They have also been given the opportunity to work on their skillset and acquire competencies as important as the ability to work under pressure, attention to detail, and time management.
North America and Latin America share many cultural and business similarities, which help foster good working relationships despite executive assistants being in one region and executives being in the other. Both North and Latin Americans place a strong emphasis on building strong personal relationships, which is essential for executive support, effective communication, and collaboration in the workplace.
Deep understanding of North American culture
The United States has always had a very strong presence in Latin America. From the brands that have a big share in the market to music and movies that have influenced Latin American communities in many ways. As a result of that influence, millions of Latin Americans grew up in a society highly influenced by US norms and as a result, the people in the region keep the United States as their top reference in many aspects. A testament to that are the tourism statistics.
The International Trade Administration published a study in which they analyzed international visitation to and from the United States in 2021. The results showed that from the top 10 arrival markets in the US, 8 are coming from the western hemisphere. That means 59.9% of international arrivals in the country are coming from Latin American countries, with Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador as the top three. As such, many people in Latin America have family and friends in the US.
The study made it abundantly clear: Latin Americans have shown a continuous interest in the US and embraced a culture that they deeply care for. This knowledge makes EAs from the region a much better fit than professionals coming from places not as closely related to the US.
Job security is highly valued
The International Labour Organization found that most job opportunities in Latin America are informal jobs. This means that the majority of the population is forced to deal with job instability, low income, and no social protection.
That is why, understandably, Latin Americans value job stability so highly, and when finding a job that offers them security, it leads to highly motivated employees, long-term retention, and low turnover.
This is especially important for an executive assistant role, given the fact that an EA has access to sensitive information. Granting access to your email, calendar, and even personal matters to multiple people can lead to security infringements and confidentiality breaches.
When you start a company there may be only a handful of people, but as your startup grows, your team expands across gender, race, and any other groups you may consider to be opposites. That’s partly why inclusion and diversity are essential in the workspace.
Latin America is a multicultural and multiethnic region. This means there are people that come from indigenous, African, or European descent and speak almost 500 languages and dialects. What this means is that Latin Americans have grown accustomed to developing healthy relationships with all kinds of individuals.
This translates to an essential skill to have in the workplace: the ability to understand other people’s points of view. A diverse work environment in terms of employees’ backgrounds, experiences, and cultures enables the collaboration of individuals with a variety of perspectives. This can lead to the generation of new ideas and problem-solving approaches that may not have been explored otherwise.
Hiring remote teams presents a lot of challenges, the most obvious one is the physical distance between you and your team. That’s why having some geographic proximity to your remote EA can set up your new hire for success.
Time zone alignment with the US
One of the first questions you should ask yourself before hiring abroad should be: how much time zone overlap is there between my company and where the candidate is located? Being able to work and communicate synchronously with your executive assistant can streamline your workload and increase efficiency.
The time zone alignment with the US is one of the biggest advantages of hiring remote team members in Latin America, given that most countries in the region are between the US Pacific time zone and the US Eastern time zone, enabling real-time connection and communication.
No need for the graveyard shift
Having a job that allows people to find a healthy balance between working hours and enjoying their free time is one of the main reasons they choose to stay put. A job that requires working on the weekends, putting in extra hours on a regular basis, or working the night shift is not sustainable in the long term and is not competitive when better offers are on the table.
When you choose Latin America to find remote talent you can take one thing for granted: there is no need for your remote teams to work the so-called “graveyard shift”, a schedule that involves working nights while it’s daytime in the United States. Having an EA in a similar time zone as you will ensure the quality and retention of your talent.
Ability to travel
The geographic proximity between the US and Latin America makes traveling very easy. Delta and American Airlines, two of the major carriers, operate multiple direct flights between the United States and various cities in Latin America. With daily flights available, you or your remote employees can easily travel to and from these destinations in just a few hours.
Whenever you need your EA to travel to the headquarters for important board meetings or to join an offsite with the rest of the team, it’s cheaper and faster than flying somebody in all the way from outside the Western hemisphere.
Latin America has become an increasingly attractive destination for business expansion due to a combination of factors, including a growing middle class, a large and young population, and a favorable economic and political environment.
Deloitte’s latest report on the Latin American economy shows the region is expected to have a growth rate of 4.9%. The report cites several factors contributing to this positive outlook, including a rebound in commodity prices and increased demand for exports from the region.
When you hire employees from Latin America, you’re not only getting a skillful team member, but you’re also creating a meaningful job opportunity that would contribute to your new hire’s professional development and have an impact on their personal life and community.
According to data from the International Labour Organization (ILO), Latin America has consistently had higher rates of underemployment compared to other regions. In 2020, the underemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean was 13.6%, which is significantly higher than the global average of 5.5%.
This highlights the untapped potential in the region, which represents a lost opportunity for economic growth and development.
Betting on Latin American EAs with skills and talents that are not fully utilized, will undoubtedly lead to higher incomes and a more prosperous future for individuals, families, and the region as a whole.
A lot of talent is getting scooped up in Latin America, so if you are still thinking about hiring an executive assistant in the region, this might be the right time to do so and find the top performers in the industry. If you don’t know where to start, here’s how to find the professionals that will ramp up your productivity.
And if you’re interested in working with the top 1% of EA professionals in Latin America, book a call with us and start seeing the value a great EA can bring to you in less than 1 week.