Where the jobs are: Brazil
Just ten years ago, Brazilian professionals were fleeing the country in search of better jobs and higher pay elsewhere. But these days, white-collar workers from around the globe are pouring into Brazil to find work.
In 2011, the number of legal foreign workers jumped 57% to 1.51 million, according to the Justice Ministry.
Many of them are young professionals from the United States, Portugal and Spain lured by Brazil’s booming consumer market and quickly expanding construction sector at a time when their own economies are suffering.
This year, Brazil overtook the United Kingdom as the world’s sixth largest economy, fuelled in part by big growth in domestic consumption as millions of people climbed out of poverty into the middle class.
Faced with record high unemployment at home, Spanish architect Miguel Serrano decided to leave the comfort of his parent’s home in Sevilla and fly to Sao Paulo last year.
Unemployment in Brazil is at historic lows, hovering around 6%, and qualified labor is often hard to come by.
“Construction is growing at an incredible rate here,” Serrano told CNN. “The housing sector is so underdeveloped it still has a number of years left to keep growing.”
In fact, the mortgage market in Brazil represents just 5% of the country’s gross domestic product, compared with over 50% in many developed countries.
Economic growth in Brazil has receded from its high mark of 7.5% in 2010, but is still chugging along at just under 3% a year. And many sectors are thriving.
American professionals are also making the pilgrimage south, lured by competitive salaries and a more vibrant workplace.
Josh Livingstone, a native New Yorker, moved to Sao Paulo with an international bank.
“It’s a lot more exciting,” he said while sharing beers with a handful of fellow expats at a local bar. “You sort of feel the energy, there’s a lot more going on in terms of merges & acquisitions, which is where I work.”