Blog "Caveat Lector"

BRAZIL | Adding New Job Categories in a Slowing National Economy-Does This Benefit Foreign Workers?

March 05, 2013

Brazil’s economy has grown increasingly during the last decade and is considered as one of the primary economies of the world. Brazil is part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) Key Partners (“BRIICS” – Brazil, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa) and in 2012 has been identified as an important partner in the OECD establishing new forms of collaboration amongst Key Partners as well as other emerging market and established economic communities.

Brazil’s economy has continued to grow in the midst of an otherwise global economic recession. In June 2012, Brazil’s Institute of Geography and Statistics released figures that indicated a May 2012 monthly unemployment rate of 5.8%, at least .06% lower than May 2011’s unemployment figures.

What also has been remarkable is Brazil’s ability to lower its national unemployment figures and allow higher numbers of foreign professional workers to an economy that, according to International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, may not expand at the IMF’s anticipated rate of 3.5%.

On January 31, 2013, the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE) updated the federal government’s list of the classified occupations, the Classification of Job Occupations (CBO), to include 83 new occupations to reflect Brazil’s changing economy and labor needs. With the inclusion of these new occupations, the comprehensive CBO now includes 2,619 job categories (

The MTE uses the CBO to frame equivalence of degrees relevant to a specific job. The expansion of the classified occupation list means that the new jobs are considered as shortage occupation in the Brazilian labor market, but not necessarily for jobs requiring a relevant university degree. While expansion gives indication that the number of job possibilities in Brazil will rise, from a more practical perspective, this does not equate to a rise in specialized-skill job growth for overseas workers.

When analyzing the Brazilian job market, one must approach the subject with a "layered" analysis. Although the recent above average result in Brazilian GDP has had a positive impact on the aggregate demand for workers, most of this demand is concentrated at the lower end of the technical work force (e.g., construction workers and tourist industry workers, such as waiters and maids).

While Brazil’s GDP is expected to rise overall, the rise is expected to be concentrated in sectors like retail and logistics that are attracting more companies from abroad. Therefore, while more jobs will help to lift Brazil’s lower middle classes, it is not expected that this marked increase in new job categories will be of much benefit to foreign workers.

Blog written by Michelle Martins , MRS Global (Brazil), and Glenn Faulk, Senior Manager, Knowledge Management of Pro-Link GLOBAL.