Headhunters woo low-cost Venezuela talent amid crisis
By Girish Gupta
CARACAS Aug 5 (Reuters) - Headhunters across Latin America are tapping Venezuela for low-cost professionals as a deepening economic crisis has left many skilled workers earning less money than taxi drivers and waiters.
Highly-trained Venezuelans are seeking to escape a decaying socialist economy in which they often have to work second jobs and spend hours in line to buy basic goods such as milk or diapers.
The crisis has created a fertile market for global search firms including Korn/Ferry, Caldwell Partners and Stanton Chase as well as smaller regional companies.
Apple software developer Hector Ghinaglia, 24, was earning about $130 a month at the black market exchange rate until he was recruited through LinkedIn.
"One day a message appeared offering me work," said Ghinaglia, who was offered $900 a month plus the cost of his flight and visa to work in Colombia.
He is happy with the move despite the higher cost of living there.
The most sought-after professionals include IT experts who face few opportunities in Venezuela's withering private sector and oil and gas engineers loathe to work for state-run PDVSA, which under late socialist leader Hugo Chavez became focused on social development projects rather than operational efficiency.
"If we're looking to fill a special position, such as a geologist or a specialization in oil or gas, Venezuela is a strong option for us," said Claudio Fernaud, the managing director of Stanton Chase's operation in Argentina. Continued...