Believe It or Not: Senior Executive Salaries Highest in Brazil


A recent survey by BlueSteps, the career management service of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), found that the majority of senior executives surveyed believe that Brazil offers the lowest salary out of a selection of global business centers - when in fact the country offers the highest.

In a survey of 42 C-Level executives, respondents were asked to rank Brazil, Hong Kong, London and New York in order of the perceived salary level offered to senior executives. 50% of respondents selected New York as the highest paying business center, with 39% placing London 2nd, 44% placing Hong Kong 3rd, and 82% placing Brazil last. These results suggest that senior executives are very confident Brazil offers lower salaries when compared to other global cities, when the study showed that the opposite is true. Interestingly, more than half of the respondents currently working in Brazil also ranked that country as the lowest paying.

The BlueSteps survey found that Brazilian executives receive the highest base cash compensation in comparison to those currently based in New York, London and Hong Kong:


These results support the 2008 AESC Emerging Markets Report, which found that 62 executive search professionals working within emerging markets agreed with the statement “Salaries in these markets are internationally competitive, if not ‘very competitive’.” This AESC study, conducted in April 2008, solicited responses from executive search professionals from market leading search firms in China, India, Brazil, the Middle East and Russia.

A recent study by Dasein Executive Search mirrored the BlueSteps findings. Dasein surveyed 80 executives based in Brazil, Hong Kong, London and New York, and discovered that Brazil again offered the highest base cash compensation ($243,000 USD), followed by New York ($213,000), London ($179,000), and Hong Kong ($97,000) - the same order as seen in the BlueSteps study. The average salary reported by respondents within the BlueSteps study was significantly higher, likely because of the seniority of members within this exclusive database of senior executives.

The high salaries offered within the emerging markets could be explained by the talent shortage seen in these areas. In the AESC’s 2010 Mid-Year Outlook Report, over 200 AESC member search consultants stated that they expected China, India and Brazil to see the greatest scarcity of talent in the second half of 2010. It seems that as qualified executives become scarcer, their ability to demand higher salaries increases.

From both the BlueSteps and Dasein surveys it is clear that executive expectation of key markets such as Brazil needs to change. As the demand for executive talent in Brazil increases, the pool of suitable, qualified candidates may decrease. This, alongside the expectation of higher salaries abroad, will make Brazil’s talent shortage even more pronounced, creating a potential roadblock to their rapid economic expansion.

About BlueSteps.com

BlueSteps.com is an online career management service for global senior executives. As an exclusive service of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), BlueSteps enables senior executives to be visible to over 6,000 AESC member retained executive search professionals. For more information, please visit www.BlueSteps.com.

About The Association of Executive Search Consultants

The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) is the worldwide professional association for the retained executive search industry. The AESC's mission is to promote the highest professional standards in retained executive search consulting, broaden public understanding of the search process, and serve as an advocate for the interests of its member firms. For more information, or to view the AESC Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, visit www.aesc.org.


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