How Brazilian professionals grew fond of startups

. Sep 20, 2019
How Brazilian professionals grew fond of startups

A few years ago, the definition of professional success in Brazil normally included a stable job in a large corporation or state-owned company, where you could remain for 30 years before retiring in an upper management position. Well, judging by recent research, that’s no longer the case. 

Two studies released by LinkedIn this year point to a change in Brazilian professionals’ behavior.

The first, the Brazilian edition of <a href=";MCID=6506945383569166336">LinkedIn 25 Top Companies 2019</a>, polling where Brazilians dream of working, included a number of new firms in high-ranking positions. Itaú Unibanco, the largest bank in South America, remained as the go-to choice for Brazilians, but Movile, the owner of brands iFood and PlayKids, appears in third place. It is followed by other <a href="">tech-heavy names</a>, such as digital marketing startup Resultados Digitais and <a href="">fintech Nubank</a>. On the other hand, giants such as <a href="">Vale</a> or JBS, two of the most emblematic Brazilian companies, didn’t even make it on the list.</p> <p>Speaking of Nubank, <a href="">one of Brazil&#8217;s first unicorns</a>, the fintech leads the list of<a href=""> LinkedIn&#8217;s 25 Top Startups 2019</a>, followed by digital bank C6. It is important to note the ranking only includes private Brazilian companies that have been on the market for less than seven years and have at least 50 employees.</p> <h2>A changing world</h2> <p>But what has made Brazilians flock toward riskier companies, with changing business models and the risk of 12-hour workdays? According to Marcelo Braga, CEO of HR consultancy Reachr, the answer lies in a combination of different career mindset, a changing labor market and the rise of technology, elements that are not specific to Brazil. For instance, the <a href="">American version of LinkedIn’s study</a> showed that the 12 most desired companies in the U.S. are either startups or technology related.</p> <p>“The leading companies in the world did not exist 15 years ago, there’s a trend of new businesses popping up due to tech. Meanwhile, big corporations are cutting jobs and closing companies. And with the <a href="">high unemployment</a> levels in Brazil, people are looking for alternatives,” he told <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong>.</p> <p>Wilma Dal Col, director at HR management group ManpowerGroup, believes that with Millennials and Gen Z professionals entering the job market, career self-management has become a decisive factor for choosing employment. “In the public sector, self-management can be restrained by structural issues that are harder to challenge than in the private sector,” she highlights.</p> <p>Monise Schaun, HR head at fintech Warren, agrees that the nimble, less formal and faster structures of startups pose a better match to the desire for flexibility and immediacy typical of younger professionals.</p> <p>“The lack of time controls, dress code and comfortable environments that offer rest and leisure spaces during work hours (&#8230;) are appealing to the new generation of immediatist professionals, who also look for startups willing to implement ideas and picture their results faster.”</p> <h2>A young people&#8217;s enterprise?</h2> <p>A <a href=",no-brasil-37-dos-alunos-de-faculdades-de-ponta-miram-carreira-em-startups,70002737200">study</a> carried out by startup Spry found out that, among Brazil&#8217;s highest-ranked universities, 37 percent of students want to become entrepreneurs or work for a startup. The data supports the view that startups are for youngsters that can afford running the inherent risks of working at a company that often suffers losses.</p> <p>However, specialists believe that this stigma lies more in financial issues than age-related prejudice. Mr. Braga explains that, as startups often have limited resources, they are unlikely to afford senior professionals; that’s why many of them become mentors or company partners, especially senior professionals that already have a more solid career.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Ms. Dal Col believes that, for startups, the applicant’s profile matters more than age itself. “Startups are looking for professionals focused on results, growth and the business or process they are dealing with. But, above all, [they are looking for] self-managed people,” she explains.</p> <p>For Ms. Schaun, due to the ever changing scenarios of startups, the right profile is more connected to personal skills, such as curiosity, creativity and quick learning skills, rather than academic education or professional experience.</p> <p>The need for different skills also leads to different recruiting techniques. At PropTech startup EmCasa (ranked 8th on LinkedIn&#8217;s list), the recruitment process lasts five to ten days, including video calls. “We evaluate the professional’s technical abilities, behavior and values. We are looking for people that are focused on our customers, have a sense of urgency, are humble and act like business owners,” explains company CEO Gustavo Vaz.</p> <h2>Fishing in a small pond</h2> <p>Startups are adept at creating brand loyalty, and it is no different when it comes to retaining a loyal squad of employees. From nicknaming team-members to create a sense of belonging, to creating a more relaxed and entertaining environment, startups are finding ways to become top-of-mind brands for professionals.</p> <p>Those strategies—mainly coming under the umbrella of Employer Branding—are crucial, especially considering the tech workforce gap in Brazil. According to the 2019 <a href="">Brazil Digital Report by consultancy McKinsey, </a>in Brazil, there are only 2 million graduates in STEM (Science, Tech, Mathematics, and Engineering) careers, while in India there are 22.7 million. So, to beat the competition and its hefty paychecks, startups had to come up with innovative strategies.</p> <p>Fintech Neon—ranked 4th on LinkedIn—adopted a divide and conquer approach. To attract young people, it teamed up with <a href="">universities</a> and created an internship program; for older workers, especially in the field of technology, they focused on offering benefits.</p> <p>“We realized that the benefits we were offering were not so appealing for parents, for instance, so we changed them. There were strategic actions as well, such as reviewing roles and salaries, researching the company’s environment and creating a learning culture,” explained Adriano Lima, partner at Neon.</p> <p>One of the most common ploys to make employees motivated is to offer shares in the company, making employees long-term partners. One of the companies that adopt this method is StartSe, which occupies the 12th spot on LinkedIn’s list.</p> <p>“At StartSe, we work with bonus systems and under the partnership management model, identifying every employee as a potential partner. The result is the creation of an environment keen on evolution and innovation,” said the company’s founder, Junior Borneli, adding that the model requires attention to avoid individualism in the search for personal growth.

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Natália Scalzaretto

Natália Scalzaretto has worked for companies such as Santander Brasil and Reuters, where she covered news ranging from commodities to technology. Before joining The Brazilian Report, she worked as an editor for Trading News, the information division from the TradersClub investor community.

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