Threats and Opportunities of Demographic Change: Brazil

2015 Population of Brazil

The race to recruit the finance world’s best individuals has become a war for talent, according to leading academics. Dramatic shifts in demographics mean countries such as the United States, Japan and much of Europe are keen to attract students of finance and economics to their universities and graduate schemes, and to retain the services of top talent. However, this dynamic is set to change.

International companies that previously hired in emerging markets just for call centres and back-office facilities are now seeking distribution, managing and product capabilities to expand into under-penetrated areas. So will emigrating talent begin to head back home?

Local Expansion

With a population over 200 million people, growth in Brazil is easy to find in various forms, despite lacklustre economic expansion. According to information from CEPAL (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), in the last ten years, the finance industry has provided more “formal employment” than has mining and infrastructure, typically seen as Latin America’s key industries.

Brazil represents a tricky opportunity for investors: It is Latin America’s largest economy, however it shrunk in the first quarter of 2015 due to falling private consumption. Nevertheless, Brazil counts on a robust financial sector as a structural shield against the financial market stress. Still underpenetrated in several sectors, foreign investors should consider complex local regulations and are likely to prefer partnering with or buying an existing local company to start business.

Beyond 2025

Brazil is attempting to tackle its demographic problem. The World Factbook, produced by the US CIA, estimates that within ten years a currently “favorable age structure” will begin to shift. However, programmes aimed at supporting students wanting to study abroad are reportedly helping to encourage Brazilians to return to their home country to find full-time employment.

Presence in these growing economies is seen as vital by most financial groups with aspirations outside their home country’s borders. Competition for talent is getting fiercer than ever, however, as local companies grow and gifted individuals begin to see more opportunities to succeed in their chosen field far closer to home.

For companies to succeed in this changing environment, it will be necessary for employers to find a new approach to the war for talent and the hunt for star employees. Perhaps a broader approach to recruiting, training and retaining talent is required; leaving behind a focus on individuals, in the hope this will create a positive company culture.

About Natalia Char

Natalia Char is head of financial lines for Latin America at Willis Towers Watson. Based in Miami, Natalia is respo…
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