Building a tech career abroad has always been the goal of Brazilians Felipe, Mariana and Marina. But they are not alone: attractive salary, quality of life, cultural experiences, among other factors, take many IT talents away to the United States and Europe, especially the Netherlands, Portugal and Germany. This flight, however, directly impacts national companies and there is an imminent risk of Brazil experiencing a shortage of professionals in the area.
According to Softex, a social organization that works to promote the Brazilian digital transformation, the country may register a deficit of almost 410 thousand talents by 2022. This represents a loss of R$ 167 billion for the sector. O Techblog heard Brazilians who decided to risk an opportunity in companies abroad. The article also consulted specialists to understand why this movement and how national companies can reverse this scenario of high exports.
Special professional blackout on video
With stints at technology companies in Spain, Sweden and the United States, Felipe Ribeiro Barbosa, 36, is a software engineer who left Brazil in 2010. Like many professional colleagues, Ribeiro has always wanted to move abroad — he I just didn’t imagine that the dream “yes” would come so quickly.
Graduated in computer science from the Federal University of Campina Grande (Paraíba), the professional reported to the Techblog that the search for opportunities abroad began in academic life and the parallel technology projects developed at the time, together with the faculty, also contributed to the selection process.
He started working in Madrid at Tuenti, a Spanish social network that, fortunately, is not controlled by Mark Zuckerberg. He then spent seven years at Spotify and is currently employed by Netflix in California (USA), where he lives with his wife and children.
“While I was at university, I participated a lot in free software events, lectures, contributions and also worked as a freelancer. But I never worked as a CLT in Brazil, not as a programmer. And, in the area of technology, I was never employed in Brazil. I was a computer science student and I had this movement of projects parallel to my education and this was found by Tuenti recruiters, who were looking for professionals from various places, including Brazil. At the time, it was the biggest Spanish startup, they were doing very well; just as in Brazil many people used Orkut, Tuenti was the popular network in Spain, before Facebook took over the world”.
Felipe Ribeiro Barbosa, 36, software engineer
The senior product analyst, Mariana Fomin, 36, has always been dedicated to her studies and is proud of the investment made over the years; completed graduation, courses and MBA. In Brazil, she was already working for a Canadian company, earning in dollars, but she felt the need to leave the country; a goal that she had already been considering with her husband. In January 2020, she moved to the Netherlands and now works at Just Eat Takeaway, based in Amsterdam, a favorite destination for many tech professionals.
The hectic life in São Paulo was one of the reasons that made Fomin look for an opportunity abroad. In addition, the impossibility of some companies here in Brazil not to pay a salary similar to the Canadian company also contributed to the decision-making process. The appreciation of the Dutch is remarkable: today, the product analyst earns 10 times more than in Brazil, the quality of life has changed, as well as freedom.
“I did a lot of things to make my resume good, but it didn’t seem like it was enough. In the Netherlands, on the other hand, as I am an expatriate, there is a whole government incentive for local companies to bring in people from abroad, because there is a lack of technology professionals here. So I have a higher base salary than the Dutch; I am part of a ‘30% Ruling’ program, which means I only pay income tax on 70% of my salary and this is in effect for 5 years. The Dutch themselves do not have the advantages that expatriates have”.
Mariana Fomin, 36, Senior Product Analyst
In Germany, we already know the story of ex-Nubank Marina Limeira, 24. She is a software engineer and has lived in the European country since 2019, where she lives with her husband, who also works with IT, and their young son who was born there.
Even though he lives in Europe, Limeira works (remotely) for a technology company based in Arizona, United States. She is still a freshman and says she is in the process of adapting in Berlin.
The professional spent her childhood in the interior of Alagoas and was always curious to visit big cities. With that also came the desire to leave Brazil to venture into other cultures around the world. Today, he is fluent in English, but takes a German course to be able to have a “normal life” in Berlin.
She is sincere in saying that she went through and still goes through some troubles in the land of Angela Merkel, because, unlike Brazilians, Europeans are colder. And this is even more evident in the work environment. As some experts heard by the Techblog, Marina recalls that this and other mishaps in a country with a different culture make many talents return to Brazil.
“First there was this curiosity ‘what is it like to live outside my city?’, then I came to live in São Paulo. Secondly, I wanted to see another culture, to know what it is like to live outside Brazil. Then I moved to Germany in 2019. We think that out there everything is better and wonderful. It’s not true, because I’m not from here. We don’t know the language or how things work. You get here and the technology market isn’t necessarily better. There are many startups in Berlin, but if you compare the technical level of people in São Paulo and here, I would say that in São Paulo it is better, they are much more hardworking”.
Marina Limeira, 24, Software Engineer
The shortage of IT professionals in Brazil
According to Brasscom (Brazilian Association of Information Technology and Communication Companies), Brazil injects 46 thousand technology professionals into the market per year. But all this is not enough. They believe that between the period 2018 to 2024, the demand for talent in the area will reach 420,000 people. “These numbers arouse the need to train qualified labor in the short term”, warns Brasscom.
Much is said about the professional blackout in the IT area. Sarah Hirota, leader of people and culture at startup Fhinck, has another vision and believes that Brazil should not suffer a serious shortage in the coming years, as shown by the Brasscom survey. However, she admits that technology companies need to get out of their comfort zone and get moving, otherwise the search for talent will be even more difficult.
“I don’t think a blackout. If companies do wake up, I believe the solution to scarcity itself is here. It is in training, in investing in professionals to enter the market, and breaking some paradigms that we have. So, we have a series of moves in this issue of diversity, of bringing women to the technology market, we need to invest in people training actions. We have people interested. Will there be a blackout? There will be a blackout if we don’t give these people an opportunity, and they are people who want, want to. There are courses and various ways to develop these talents. The blackout is in the ‘I just want to bring senior professionals’ strategy”.
Sarah Hirota, People and Culture Leader at startup Fhinck
A survey made by Techblog, based on information extracted from experts and talents who live in another country, shows that the reasons that make these IT professionals leave Brazil are: political instability linked to the socioeconomic situation, the need to learn about new cultures, the quality of life , especially security, and the most advantageous salary, given that the real has been devaluing.
Who follows this movement closely is Portuguese Diogo Oliveira, co-founder of Landing.jobs, a marketplace of talent that connects developers from around the world to tech companies in Europe.
In conversation with our report, he says that the crisis in the search for people in IT is not only happening in Brazil, as well as warned Mariana Fomin. Oliveira also emphasizes that we have good professionals and Brazil, in general, has a history closely linked to programming.
To Techblog, Landing.jobs revealed that the platform has 25,000 active Brazilians who are looking for work abroad. So far, they have secured jobs for around 400 people in Brazil.
Diogo Oliveira points out that Portugal is the most active market within Landing, followed by our country. However, he believes that in just one year Brazil will pass Portugal. Expectations are high.
“A very interesting number to share is that to date we have relocated more than 400 Brazilians to various places. The most popular destinations are undoubtedly Germany and the Netherlands. No doubt. Also a little bit there in the Nordic countries, but much, much more, Holland and Germany – in addition to Portugal, of course”.
Diogo Oliveira, co-founder of Landing.jobs
The Decoding Digital Talent report, produced by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 2019, shows that 75% of Brazilian and Indian technology experts are open to opportunities in other countries. After listening to 26,806 people in the field in more than 180 countries, BCG concluded that, respectively, London, New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Dubai are the cities most sought after by these experts.
“There is a lot of quality in Brazil, recognized internationally. And especially with these new workflows, remote, but also with this will, this desire — which I know is not great to hear for a Brazilian, but — it is common to know that there is some political, economic, social instability, of health too. So a lot of people are looking for solutions outside Brazil. So for us it’s obvious that there’s going to be a bigger explosion of this kind of hiring and talent in our community.”
Diogo Oliveira, co-founder of Landing.jobs
But what’s so special about Amsterdam?
Now we need to talk about Holland. Why Amsterdam has attracted so many Brazilian talents? The report sought out the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Brasília to obtain more information and details about the granting of visas to Brazilian professionals in Amsterdam, but we were informed by the press office that “unfortunately there is no information to make available”. So we turn to the experts.
Oliveira recalls that Holland is one of the most open countries for foreigners who want to work there. In addition, there are many incentives from both companies and the government, as Brazilian Mariana Fomin said at the beginning of this article. The cost of living in the Netherlands is also higher, but the salary they pay tends to be more advantageous compared to Germany, for example.
I guess I can say that for me it’s relatively obvious, there are a lot of things actually. First, it is important to know that Holland is not very big and Amsterdam is not a giant pole. The interesting thing here is: the Netherlands, from an early age, was a country more open to attracting international talent, always. So it was by far the first country in Europe — even before the UK — to understand that with the talent it has domestically, it’s not enough, it has to open up. And the efforts weren’t just proactive in Brazil, the effort was “I’m open to global talent”.
Diogo Oliveira, co-founder of Landing.jobs