Brazil’s tech brain drain

The country’s whizz-kid exodus is bad news for the economy.

Brazil’s experience of the Covid pandemic brought into sharp focus the need for technology as the element that connected and kept the economy and information in full operation, since physical distance was shortened in just one click. The increasing use of technology in realms spanning education to health required professionals with the know-how to keep digital systems functioning and to deal with tech-related problems as and when they arose. There’s a problem – Brazil’s educated tech professionals often look to foreign shores for more lucrative opportunities.

The CTO of one of Brazil’s largest digital payments providers explained, “The reality is that tech professionals have plenty of opportunities in the sector in the region or abroad, many will want to avoid the traditional stresses of the commute and comparatively lower pay that Brazilian companies are offering. This is a real problem for many sectors which are struggling with a human resources deficit in this area. People management and organisational management will need to adapt quickly to this new reality where the comfort of working at home, alongside competitive salaries, is high on the list of employee priorities.”

“The reality is that tech professionals have plenty of opportunities […] many will want to avoid the traditional stresses of the commute and comparatively lower pay that Brazilian companies are offering.”

CTO, large digital payments provider, Brazil

The director of a large Brazilian IT consultancy said, “It is difficult to generalise, as each sector has different characteristics. I would assume that the positions most prone to exodus are linked to science and technology.”

The CTO of an IT outsourcing company said, “I see a gigantic business opportunity, but the Brazilian market has many professionals unqualified for this technological growth. We can expect a maturing of companies to outline growth strategies facing this great difficulty that we have today in IT.”

“I see a gigantic business opportunity, but the Brazilian market has many professionals unqualified for this technological growth.”

CTO, IT outsourcing company, Brazil

The growing demand for technological services associated with training facilities, in theory, should have increased the elasticity of the professional market. This did not occur.

The digital payments provider CEO explained, “One of the great challenges of IT is keeping professionals indoors. There are numerous training paths, from free to professional certifications that, in theory, enable professionals to act more effectively within companies. What has been seen is that this current situation has brought up an educational debt in the sense that there is no understanding of what is being done.”

The IT consulting director said, “The lack of an industrial policy discourages research and innovation on national soil and talents are attracted by possibilities for professional development in other countries. The recent scrapping of public universities, notably the federal ones, with massive cuts in research funding, has pushed researchers to universities in other countries. In addition, in the IT area where there is a global shortage of professionals alongside the possibility of remote work, the much higher salaries of European countries and the USA become very attractive.

“The best professionals tend to work outside Brazil, and newly graduated professionals do not have the technical capacity and necessary maturity that the market needs to deliver quality products,” added the outsourcing CTO.

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