Companies Will Put the Houses in Order in 2015


Valor Econômico | December 17, 2014



​Jacques Sarfatti, Managing Director at Russell Reynolds, says that many companies will release new hires and projects that had been frozen.

After the uncertainties that characterized 2014, career consultants are already outlining the forecast for the executive market for the following 12 months. In general, analyses point to a period of transition between the current stagnation and more consistent advances in 2016 and 2017, Next year will therefore be a “bridge” surrounded by many uncertainties, towards a more structured growth.

For André Freire, president of Odgers Berndtson, an executive recruitment company, it is still necessary to understand the directions the economy and infrastructure segment will take, under the impact of variables such as the Lava-Jato Operation (an important corruption episode).

The nebulous scenario, in his opinion, is an opportunity for professional to show their competencies. “crisis moments test the executive,” he says. In addition, the wrong or hasty decisions, made when the economy was favorable become more evident, which results in a greater movement of company staff. “Most opportunities that will emerge for executives in 2015, as happened this year, will come from replacements,” he states.

In addition to performance replacements, Freire emphasizes those that will occur due to cost cutting, which carry with them a kind of “juniorization” in hiring. Another tendency is the combination of roles, also with the objective of restraining payroll. An example is the joining of areas such as operations, logistics, supply chain and purchasing under the umbrella of a manager.

In the perspective of Jacques Sarfatti, Managing Director at Russell Reynolds in Brazil, the year 2015 will be a warmer one than the current one. The consultant argues that many companies will release new hires and projects that had been frozen. “With the end of the World Cup and the elections, the market already began to show signs of improvement,” he believes. In his opinion, with part of the government’s economic team defined, the companies are organizing themselves to review their business strategies. “We will not go back to having an exceptional standard, but it will be better than the ‘stand-by’ situation faced at the beginning of this year.”

Gino Oyamada, Managing Partner at Fesa, agrees that the naming of the new Finance Minister, Joaquim Levy, is encouraging, because it signals that the macro-economic policy needs to be reviewed. “Forward thinking businessmen are anticipating the improvement of the market to take measures, considering new businesses and the entry into new regions.” According to Oyamada, the movement in the executive market will also be related to the increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions in the country, which invariably require changes in human capital within the organizations.

With this scenario the redefinition of strategies in the financial area should motivate the search for controllers and CFOs, according to Sarfatti. For Oyamada, these managers need to have the capacity to manage costs and structure a different relationship with the financial market. “Brazil needs to discover new sources of financing, since the model via public banks has run its course. Private sources should become stronger.”

Still in this area, one of the best bets by Renata Dinkelmann, Director at Egon Zehnder, specialized in the financial sector, is in the demand for professionals in financial technology. They are the ones that handle the automation of processes in the area, such as those for credit and financing. In addition, Sarfatti, from Russell Reynolds, highlights the IT sector as one of the the hottest. “There is an increasing integration of the digital sector in the companies’ business strategies,” states the headhunter.

Other professionals who will be in great demand, according to Freire, are the engineers – especially those that speak English and who couple technical knowledge with management competencies. “The most qualified ones are employed and do not want to leave. The salaries are inflated”, he emphasizes.

The consultants also highlight that there will be a demand for CEOs due to foreign private equity investment funds in medium size Brazilian companies – such as earnings of between R$ 50 million and R$ 300 million. “It will be necessary to search for talent for the positions of presidents or general managers with the aim of obtaining a better governance structure,” states Freire.

The executives who will be valued by these corporations, according to Renata, are those that have a career in solid and recognized multinationals. The CEOs will also be the target of universities, who are seeking more professional management at the time, they begin to have shares negotiated in the stock exchange, for example.

According to specialists, a sector that will continue to grow and employ executives is the pharmaceutical one. “The population is getting older, and the government itself is investing in the health segment,” says Sarfatti. According to Renata, access of the emerging middle class to health plan systems stimulates the emergence of management opportunities also in hospitals and manufacturers of machines and equipment.

The requirements for results from the companies will also lead to the opening of positions for board members, in the opinion of Sarfatti. In his opinion, the companies identify the need for stronger and more active board members, who look at the business in depth. “These are independent advisers and with distinct visions, but with the capacity of following closely what will be executed with respect to the business plan,” he states.

The strategic implementations due to the country’s economic moment in time will also affect human resources and marketing departments. For Freire, the more sought after HR professionals will be those with a consultative and strategic profile, due to the need to retain and qualify personnel internally.

Seeking options within own staffing at the time of filling a vacancy, actually, will be a priority with companies next year. “They need to acquire a more critical eye for the development of their talents,” states Renata. The commercial and marketing areas, in turn, will demand people with a more innovative vision, with the objective of creating actions that reinforce differentiation from the competition.

With respect to salaries, the executives who plan to seek work opportunities in 2015 should not expect great offers. In the opinion of the consultants, hiring companies will offer benefits and career challenges, “I see a movement towards lower salaries and people willing to trade financial advantages for greater responsibilities and challenges,” says to Renata, from Egon Zehnder. Medium term financial incentives as a draw will also be high.

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Companies Will Put the Houses in Order in 2015