Back News  /  December 2012

Brazil – a booming country

It’s the same story here: a war for talents

Brazil’s economy grew again in the year 2011: the Brazilian central bank has predicted a growth rate of plus 3.5 percent. Although that means growth will be about 5 percent lower than in the previous year, it will still be perceptibly higher than that of leading industrial countries. Despite signs of a downturn in the Brazilian economy, the lack of talent will remain unaffected. There is a lack of qualified skilled specialist and managerial personnel in almost all market segments and at all hierarchy levels. Today some business sectors are already suffering particularly severely because of unfilled requirements for qualified personnel, for example the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, the healthcare sector, the cosmetics and electronics industries.

The prospects for the Brazilian economy are still excellent and there is still continued interest on the part of foreign investors: in the year 2011, their investments will reach a historic record high of 65 billion dollars US. And Brazil is the prime market “par excellence” for more and more multinational corporate groups, for example for:

  • Telefonica: The telecommunications company has more customers in Brazil than in Spain.
  • Nestlé: The Brazilian subsidiary of the world’s largest food manufacturer is the second largest business division of the Swiss group.
  • Volkswagen: Last year the company based in Wolfsburg sold more cars in Brazil than in Germany. The Brazilian market is the Number 2 export country for the automotive manufacturer, right behind China.
  • Beiersdorf: The brand manufacturer sells more Nivea products in Brazil than in France and Italy; only the German market is even larger.
  • Avon: In Brazil, the cosmetics company is growing stronger than in all other countries and its home market in the USA.
  • Kimberly-Clark: In Brazil, the manufacturer of hygiene products achieves corporate results that are over the global average.

Nevertheless, in spite of the positive outlook Brazil must cope with several challenges. Bureaucracy, import restrictions and the heavy taxation burdens are obstacles that have to be overcome. Aside from that, the income level for specialists and senior managers has increased because of the current lack of personnel, especially in comparison with Europe. According to a study by the “Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC)” at the end of 2010, Brazilian executives are paid even higher salaries than their colleagues in New York, London and Hong Kong.

A study that was conducted by the “Fundação Dom Cabral” (one of Brazil’s top business schools in March 2011 among 130 Brazilian corporate groups), reveals that 74 percent of those companies are facing a lack of executives for important strategic and operational functions. According to that survey, 92 percent of the companies polled even have problems filling positions with qualified employees in general. The lack of skilled personnel is especially noticeable in the following areas:

  • In all industries relating to infrastructure – because of general increases in production.
  • In all areas relating to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games in 2016 – for example hotels, the transportation as well as catering industry.
  • In the consumer goods industry, retail trade and the supply chains relating to them.
  • In the oil and gas industry, additionally accelerated as a result of the development of the crude oil and natural gas deposits discovered off the southeastern Atlantic coast in 2008.

Brazilian universities are reacting to this development and offering MBA study programmes to an increasing extent. They have increased their budgets and teaching staff. The quality of Brazil’s universities has also improved in the last few years: according to information from the Financial Times, the “Fundação Dom Cabral” is ranked in 5th place worldwide for master’s degree programmes. In the opinion of many experts, the huge demand for qualified executive and specialist personnel will probably continue even after the end of coming decade. Many companies – national as well as multinational – are already taking advantage of the services of executive search consultants now in order to recruit the talents they need for their success. One alternative – but with a long-term perspective – is recruitment of university graduates that identify with the culture and values of the company. Those young qualified employees are successively prepared for taking on executive functions at the company in a targeted manner. Another – short-term – solution is adjustment of salaries and supplementary benefits in order to win over and retain appropriate employees for the company. Some employers are also recruiting staff in neighbouring foreign countries or in Europe to a growing extent. According to information from the Brazilian Minister of Labour, more than 26,500 foreigners received a work permit in the first half of the year 2011. That represents an increase of 19.4 percent in comparison with the same time period of the previous year.

mariaca | intersearch
In Brazil, InterSearch Worldwide is represented by its partner company Mariaca, a consulting firm founded more than 20 years ago which is one of the most renowned executive search consulting firms in Brazil. Mariaca InterSearch supports companies in conjunction with filling executive positions. Its clients include well-known international corporate groups as well as large Brazilian companies. Mariaca has company locations in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.

About the author: Patricia Epperlein is Managing Director of Mariaca, the partner company of InterSearch Worldwide in Brazil. From 2008 to 2011 she was the chairperson of the global InterSearch organisation. Patricia Epperlein has worked in the executive search segment for over 19 years. Her main focus area is recruitment for positions in the area of media / entertainment, industry, IT / telecommunications as well start-up companies and supervisory boards.


Press contact: Thomas Bockholdt   Tel.: +49 40 46 88 42 0