Amid 14.8 million unemployed Brazilians – the highest mark since the beginning of the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD), in 2012 -, there are sectors that are hiring and live a completely different reality from the one that prevails in the country. In construction, there is a lack of bricklayers, tile builders and other workers for basic functions. In the countryside, there is an auction of salaries to admit cowboys and machine operators. And, with the advance of digitization, logistics and technology companies became big demanders of labor.
The pockets of heating in the labor market with and without a formal contract are concentrated in practically three out of ten sectors – agriculture, construction and services provided to companies – reveals a study carried out by the IDados consultancy, at the request of the Estadão, based on the PNAD Contínua .
In May this year, construction employed almost 12% more than in May 2020, the height of the health crisis. Then comes agriculture, with an increase of about 10% in employed persons. Finally, there are services provided to companies, with growth close to 6%.
“It is a fragile recovery of the labor market, as many sectors today do not have an increase in employment compared to the height of the crisis, in May 2020”, says Bruno Ottoni, economist at the consultancy and responsible for the study.
He points out that five sectors have a decline in occupation and two – domestic employment and industry – remain stable compared to May 2020. Also in relation to the pre-pandemic period, May 2019, when unemployment was high, most segments continue with the occupancy level in red.
A survey by the consulting and auditing firm PwC Brasil, carried out with 62 companies from 16 segments between October 2020 and March 2021, attests to this result. The survey revealed that 79% of companies expanded their staff, with growth of up to 30% in contractions, driven by agribusiness and technology.
“The result was a positive surprise, when we see such high unemployment rates,” says Flávia Fernandes, a partner at PwC.
Field. Driven by the commodity boom, the occupation in agriculture today surpasses the peak of the crisis and is greater than before the pandemic. Currently, there are 8.7 million workers in the countryside and the occupation is growing for seven consecutive months.
“With the increase in the price of soybeans and cattle, producers are expanding their crops and herds. This greatly increased the demand for labor, including the auction of salaries and growth in turnover”, says Jaqueline Lubaski, partner at HR consultancy Destrave Desenvolvimento.
For 25 years serving large agribusiness companies, she had not witnessed a general increase in the demand for workers: from the manager to the cowboy. “We’re desperate because we don’t have cowboys or foreman.”
A year ago, the salary of a foreman in the Midwest was R$ 2,500, with housing, water, electricity, internet. Today, Jaqueline says she offers R$ 3.5 thousand, plus food worth R$ 618, and she can’t hire.
Nonstop. The picture is repeated in construction, especially in São Paulo. Contractors in São Paulo – which became a major construction site in the pandemic – face the lack of bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, says the vice president of Institutional Relations at Sinduscon-SP, Yorki Estefan. Demand is being pulled by the increase in releases, which was 183% in the first half of this year, compared to 2020.
“Today, we need ten painters and we can’t find it,” says Gilvan Delgado, owner of the Atacama contractor. To make up for the shortage, he hired Marcos Paulo Viana, 33, who came from the bakery sector, with no experience in construction.
The reflection of this scarcity has already hit wages. “Workers’ collective bargaining in May was around 7% and we are having to pay 15%,” says Mario Rocha, CEO of the construction company Rocontec. With the awards, Antonio de Sousa Ramalho, president of the Union of Workers in the Civil Construction Industries of São Paulo, says that there are bricklayers taking R$8,000, while the floor is R$2,030.
Another sector with high occupation is business services, which includes logistics, online financial services and information technology. In the first half, 100 million purchases were made online, according to Ebit-Nielsen. And behind every transaction there is a mass of workers.
Mercado Livre, for example, one of the giants in the sector, will have record admissions this year. It ended 2020 with 4.9 thousand direct employees, today it has 10 thousand and will end 2021 with 16 thousand. “We have grown a lot in hiring for logistics, technology and financial services,” says Patrícia Monteiro, director of People.
Brazilian changes area to get a job
Even without adequate qualifications, workers are forced to change industries in search of occupation. Sectors that lost their luster because of the pandemic, such as commerce and services, are exchanged for construction, online commerce and agribusiness.
The exchange was detected by employers when they received candidates’ resumes. Given the shortage of qualified labor, investing in training has been one of the ways to fill vacancies.
“The migration of workers from other areas for construction has increased,” says Gilvan Delgado, owner of the Atacama construction company. With a shortage of labor, he hired Marcos Paulo Viana, 33, who had been working at his father’s micro-baking business since he was 16. In fact, only courses in this sector were included in the curriculum.
The whole bread business, sold to small businesses and directly to consumers, did not go forward when the pandemic came. The microenterprise closed and Viana found a new opportunity in civil construction.
A year ago, when he started at the construction company, he had no knowledge of the area. In the beginning, I worked as an assistant in various functions to learn. Today, he coordinates the operational services, in charge of quality control.
“I joined the contractor thinking it would leave quickly, that it would be something transitory, but I was learning, evolving and growing”, he says. In construction, Viana earns almost double what he used to do in bakery and plans to take a technical course in the area or even go to an engineering college.
This is also the plan of 27-year-old Jacqueline Torres. Graduated in Administration, since May she has been working in the area of merchandise exit at the Mercado Livre distribution center, in Cajamar (SP). He intends to attend a postgraduate course in logistics, a topic that came onto his radar three months ago.
For eight years, Jacqueline worked at a shoe store on 25 de Março Street, a traditional wholesale trade hub. “I took care of the administrative part and sold.”
Despite the good salary, Jacqueline decided to look for another job because she felt stagnant. In 2019, she got a position in the technology area of another company, but with the pandemic she was fired. After nearly a year looking for a job, she was hired in March 2021 in the marketing area of a food company. But soon the chance to work at Mercado Livre appeared.
Today, she coordinates a team of 75 people, managing everything from order picking to merchandise delivery. He earns twice what he received at his last job and 20% more than the salary in traditional commerce.
“I had to learn everything from the beginning, it was very fast”, he says. She has been at the company for three months, she says it seems like she has been there for a year, given the load of new knowledge.
“We train and form people,” says Patrícia Monteiro, People director at Mercado Livre. For logistics services, the director says that she has been hiring workers from other sectors that are not doing well.
Change. After four years as a bus driver in Piraju, in the interior of São Paulo, Antônio Márcio Sanches, 41, made a radical move: he switched from public transport to a tractor.
With the pandemic, bus travel decreased, and he had his contract suspended. He started receiving government assistance, and income fell. “With the pandemic, it got stuck and left on its own.”
Sanches knew the farmer and zootechnician Miguel Abdalla and accepted the challenge of changing industries. A little over a month, he started driving a tractor and a harvester. He decided to go into agribusiness in search of a bigger gain and got it. “I shoot about 50% more than I earned as a driver.”
In addition to greater income as a self-employed person, he says that the working environment in the field is quieter. While attending elementary school, Sanches wants to take a technical course to pilot agricultural machinery, just as he did for driving a bus.