By Amy Skalmusky, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Although not always a day at the beach, being an executive in Brazil does have advantages. Recent studies reveal that CEOs and executives in São Paulo earn more than their American and European counterparts. This new report seems to reinforce Brazil’s ascension onto the international stage with record economic growth.
A chief executive in São Paulo can on average expect to take in US$620,000 a year, not including bonuses according to a survey by Brazilian Executive search company Dasein. This places them well ahead of the next two top ranking countries for executive pay, New York at US$574,000 and London at US$550,000.
Other Brazilian executive-levels also fared well according to the survey, leading the pack with a base cash compensation of US$243,000 followed by New York at US$213,000, London with US$179,000 and Hong Kong at US$97,000.
Though many executives were surprised with the results, the growth didn’t happen overnight. In the last four years, executive salaries in Brazil have increased by 20 percent, in contrast with in the U.S. with only 10 percent growth.
Along with the phenomenal appreciation of the Brazilian Real against the U.S. Dollar which pushed up the value of salaries, the booming economy has escalated the demand for talented executives. Many Brazilians were driven to developed markets during the country’s years of high inflation and instability, so the pool of suitable, qualified candidates remains limited.
This leaves companies fighting to snag top executives, competing to recruit not only with high salaries. Reports indicate 81 percent are given company cars and more than US$1,160 billion in incentives were distributed to executives in Brazil this year, according to surveys by Mercer and Towers Watson.
The race continues and executive hires increased by 30 percent when comparing the third quarter of 2010 to 2009. Banks lead in the hiring rates, followed by Industry, Consultancy and Oil & Gas and some of the most sought-after positions are Human Resource, IT, and Operations Managers.
This market is attracting many Brazilian professionals living abroad. “I came back because my family is here and I know that I can find a job in my field that makes about the same,” said Walkyria Maia, a Brazilian IT Manager who recently returned to Rio after living in London for ten years.
Encouraged by the opportunity, many foreigners are looking to Brazil. The number of foreign employment registers grew by nearly 19 percent in 2010 according to the Brazilian Labor Department. Headhunting agencies in Brazil continue to consider nationals as well as foreigners when looking to fill a position.
Relocating to Brazil does pose its share of challenges and many newcomers struggle with the language, and getting a work visa can be time-consuming and expensive. According to the World Bank’s most recent Doing Business Report, a ranking of countries according to the ease of doing business in them, Brazil ranked 127th out of 183 countries, below Mozambique and Nepal.