By Samuel Elliott Novacich, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A report published earlier this year by AESC (Association of Executive Search Consultants), a follow-up study performed by Daselin Executive Search, and another released last month by Boyden World Corporation, all confirm one fact, that Brazilian executives earn more per year, on average, than their international counterparts. One major reason for this phenomenon, say all three firms: top level executives in Brazil are in extremely high demand.
The studies have found that, especially in São Paulo, appropriately designated the “Brazilian business capital,” high-level executives earn on average over R$1,000,000 (US$600,000) per year. In comparison to average earnings of executives holding the same positions abroad, research found that similar top-level positions in London and New York made about R$923,000 (about US$550,000).
One key reason for this situation, according to researchers, is a lack of qualified personnel with sufficient specialization to hold executive-level positions. In Brazil, 64 percent of executives have reported difficulties in finding and employing capable high-level executives, compared to figures closer to forty percent in China and only sixteen percent in India.
According to reports, Brazil simply does not graduate a number of professionals every year to sufficiently meet growing demand for executives in the market. As the Brazilian economy balloons, plans for developments in infrastructure are made, and large reserves of petroleum are discovered, the demand for professionals is at an all-time high. Brazil only graduates 35,000 engineers per year, a seemingly large number, but in fact falling significantly short of actual demand.
Acquisition of smaller Brazilian companies by larger foreign entities, and operation of Brazilian companies abroad is also changing the expectation of skills required from top-level executives. Brazilian and multinational companies with branches in Brazil are continuously looking for executives with international experience.
Though companies may desire executives from abroad, several factors still prevent foreigners from infiltrating the Brazilian business world. São Paulo, though considered safer than it once was, according to published material still has a homicide rate double that of New York.
Another obvious barrier is the need to understand and communicate in Portuguese, creating a clear challenge for foreigners wishing to work in Brazil. As a result of exorbitant salaries and new demand, a growing number of Brazilians living abroad are beginning to apply for positions located within Brazil, capitalizing on the new option to return home.
Leo Martinez a Creative Director for MKTPromo advertising agency in Rio explains: “Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, they’ve just discovered huge oil offshore and the economy is doing better and better. When I think of Brazil, it is not a matter of ‘why’, it is a matter of ‘why not’?”
Though demand for skilled executives may exceed supply, Chris Clarke, former President and CEO of Boyden World Corporation, author of The Boyden Report: Brazil – Walking on the Big Stage, indicates that great successes of Brazilian industry are in fact responsible for their own “problems” in finding a sufficient number of qualified executives. “Brazilian executives and government decision makers, from banking to manufacturing, deserve much of the credit for the strategy leading to their success.”