Executive Mobility in Brazil: Interview with Peter Felix by Valor Economico


Peter Felix, AESC and BlueSteps President, was recently interviewed by Valor Economico, Brazil's largest business focused publication. See below for a translation of the article, available in Portuguese here.

Brazilian executives hope to change for a better job this year. In a survey of 1,348 leading American, European and Asian executives, Brazilians stand out as the most optimistic about the prospects of the labor market at the top. The study was conducted by the Association of Executive Search (AESC), which gathers the most important executive recruitment firms in the world, through the website BlueSteps.

In the survey, 80% of Brazilian leaders said they are actively seeking new career opportunities. According to Peter Felix, AESC President, the war for talent is increasing in Brazil, which justifies such enthusiasm.

While multinationals are responsible, in part, for new opportunities in the country, the high salaries paid in Brazil today are complicating the management of their global compensation practices. Some are even struggling to match the amounts paid locally with those of other countries.

The following is key excerpts from an interview with Valor on this subject:
Do you think Brazilian executives are excessively optimistic about changing to a better job? Why? 

Optimism for new job opportunities matches the rise of the economy and the phenomenal job creation figures published by the Brazilian government – for example, Brazil published a record high of 2.5 million new jobs created in 2010. In comparison to the US, executives are much less optimistic about the job market as the economy is not recovering as expected, unemployment remains high and job creation figures are far behind Brazil. All these factors contribute to the outlook of executives, and in a way, Brazilians have a right to be optimistic.

You say multinationals are looking for Brazilians to operate their local operations, but do you think it is easy for them to attract Brazilian executives? Are they paying competitive salaries compared to local companies?
I think Multinationals will always have a strong attraction for executives in local markets by providing the opportunity to operate across multiple markets on a larger scale and offer a fast track to global leadership positions. However, there are many cases whereby multinationals hiring in Brazil are shocked at the cost of human capital in Brazil, expecting to pay the same as other developed markets, but instead find they must pay more if they want to attract the best. Most successful multinationals will adapt to the local market by paying salaries that may be higher than elsewhere. This is not the case for all, as some organizations insist on equal salaries worldwide, but not paying market value can lead to an inability to attract and retain the best talent in Brazil.

What makes an executive want to change position?  

According to our recent survey, although many executives are expecting to stay at the same position level (67%), when changing positions they expect to take on increased responsibility – such as managing larger teams, budgets or operations. In addition, 59% of Brazilians saw a more entrepreneurial role to be extremely important motivation to make a career move, suggesting a desire for more freedom to be innovative and creative, with the ability to take risks. Compensation is also a strong motivating factor with respondents highlighting increased compensation as important (46%) or extremely important (56%) when considering a career move.
Is there space at the top of the organizations to fill with new executives in Brazil? 

AESC executive search firms in Brazil generally only handle high level positions (Director level and above) and all 17 members are reporting increased hiring demand. This demonstrates there is definitely still room at the top, but perhaps this is not in the perception of all Brazilian executives. Although Brazil may be performing well, executives are likely to be sensitive to troubles across global markets and this is leading to a lack of confidence of rising up the ranks.

Peter M. Felix, AESC
Peter FelixPeter M. Felix has been President of the worldwide Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), based in New York, since 1998. Mr. Felix is a former executive search consultant, who has had extensive experience in association management, in management consulting and in industrial management.

BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. 

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