300,000, this is the digital workers' deficit that Brazil may have by 2024, shows report

It's the biggest gap in Latin America. A project by Instituto Alpha Lumen and companies such as Stone, Hash, Brex, and Farfetch, want to change that

tech worker coding
Photo: Shutterstock.

Brazil has the largest quantitative gap in digital workers in Latin America. This is what a report by the Brava Foundation and BrazilLAB, an innovation hub that connects entrepreneurs to governments, in partnership with the Centre for Public Impact (CPI), a social organization of the Boston Consulting Group, shows.

The report gather 2016 data from IDC, which predicted that in 2019 the gap for digital professionals in Brazil would be 161,000, and last year’s figures from the Brazilian Association of Information and Communication Technology Companies (Brasscom), which estimate the creation of 420,000 new jobs in the area by 2024, in order to outline an unsightly scenario. Brazil will need more than 70,000 professionals per year, but only manages to train 46,000.

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“If urgent actions are not taken to increase the number of professionals in the coming years, the 161,000 gap should continue to grow at a rate of 24,000 people per year, totaling a bottleneck of 300,000 professionals until 2024”, warns the report.

Alpha EdTech, a social startup launched this Friday (6th) by the Alpha Lumen Institute, with the support of Brava Foundation, Behring Foundation, and André Street, co-founder and Chairman of Stone, wants to change that, in partnership with several startups and tech companies in the country.

Letícia Piccolotto, the founder of BrazilLAB, explains that the gap is also qualitative. “The challenge lies in training people who have the necessary skills and competencies for the job market. It is necessary that educational institutions maintain a constant connection with the professional sphere so that they can better prepare students for the challenges they must experience in their acting,” she says.

For her, this means ensuring practical training, based on real problems and that stimulates the development of both hard skills (technical skills) and soft skills (socio-emotional skills). “There is a high demand in the area and open positions are difficult to be filled. Some specific vacancies are open for more than two months (which is the case of 50% of software engineering job vacancies and many opportunities for full-stack developers, among other positions),” says Piccolotto, who also stresses the challenge of bringing more diversity to the tech market.

Letícia Piccolotto, the founder of BrazilLAB. Photo: Courtesy.

We need to increase the participation of women and also of black men and women in the different positions of the digital market

Letícia Piccolotto, the founder of BrazilLAB.

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AlphaEdTech will train and provide jobs for vulnerable workers

According to the report, most digital professionals are trained by higher education institutions, through long-term courses, in Brazil, which does not solve the shortage of workers in the short or medium term. It’s with this problem in mind that the CEO and founder of Instituto Alpha Lumen, a Brazilian organization focused on social impact and training young talent, Nuricel Villalonga, created Alpha EdTech, a code academy NGO that offers education – initially at a distance – for people in social vulnerability wanting to do a transition to a digital career.

Aiming at creating opportunities for those who want to work with technology but are unable to pay for a course or dedicate themselves to free full-time training, the initiative offers students a BRL 1,000 remuneration and guarantees employment after three half-year terms of course.

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Course enrollment started this Friday. “We are going to pre-register candidates and start the selection process for this first group. Each semester we will have a new group,” she explains. The selection process will be carried out online and the candidate will undergo interviews, workshops, and orientation trails in addition to a social worker who will verify the socioeconomic structure of the candidate.

Nuricel Villalonga, CEO at Instituto Alpha Lumen. Photo: Courtesy.

In six months, students complete the first cycle and start working part-time in a company, while continuing their training. In just over six months they are already hired

Nuricel Villalonga, CEO at instituto alpha lumen.

The course is mentored by executives from tech companies such as Stone, Hash, Brex, Vitta, DEVELL and Farfetch. “Most Brazilians cannot stop their lives for two years to study, so we made it possible that way,” stresses Villalonga. The idea, according to the founder, is to start the first cycle with 50 students and reach 1,000 in two years.

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“Today, we see many foreign companies looking for Brazilian professionals. And this movement intensified with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced us to work remotely. The great challenge for Brazilian companies is to train these professionals and find ways to keep them in the local market. For that, it is necessary to train people and create bonds through opportunities like this one from Alpha EdTech,” says João Miranda, founder and CEO of Hash, a Brazillian startup that connects entrepreneurs and customers through a platform capable of transforming large companies into financial service providers.

João Miranda, founder and CEO at Hash. Photo: Hash/Courtesy

Piccolotto highlights that in order to increase the number and quality of digital professionals, it is necessary to combine short, medium, and long term actions and, at the same time, involve actors from the public sector, academia, civil society, and also from the private sector. “International experiences to foster the ecosystem of digital professionals are very important and our research has mapped 32 cases in 14 countries that serve as inspiration for the efforts that we will have to undertake in the coming years if we, as a country, want to be prepared for the technological revolution,” says BrazilLAB‘s founder.

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