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If You Need a Job in Brazil, You’d Better Be Young and White

Catho job agency If you are looking for a job in Brazil and you are over 30, you might as well consider opening your own business. Even though the Brazilian government has bragged about the country strong economic performance, many people still suffer on the hands of unemployment. The fact is easily proven. 

If you are looking for a job, the only possible way to get a placement is through many of the job agencies such as Catho, Manpower, Adecco or Manager Online.

Many of these agencies require a fee, which varies from 50 reais (approximately US$ 23) to 1000 reais (US$ 540). Many companies, especially multinationals, no longer find the time to place their own wanted ads on newspapers or the Internet job search websites.

That being the case many of the jobs end up being posted online by job hunters, who not only charge a fee from the hiring companies but also from the person looking for work. The situation becomes worse when the person looking for a job belongs to a minority group or is over 30.

According to the IBGE (The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) the unemployment rate in February reached 6,4%, higher than February 2011. The number of unemployed in the 6 major metropolitan areas has reached 1.5 million.
According to a report by the International Labor Organization published in May 2011, 10% of the unemployed population in Brazil are black or of mixed race, against 8% of unemployment of white citizens even though Blacks account for 45% of the labor force.
But if race discrimination wasn’t enough, a new type of discrimination has popped up hitting many job hunters in Brazil: ageism. If you are over 30, chances are that you may never be granted a job interview. Many employers consider a 30-year-old too much too old to be looking for a job. In addition to that companies are reluctant to pay higher salaries for well-trained employees.
I spoke to Carolina from the Manpower job agency in Santo Amaro, in the greater São Paulo, who would not provide her last name and she confirmed that many companies look for beginner workers: “Many companies do in fact prefer junior employees, as they feel that a more experienced person may get bored very easily and would not stay in one particular job for very long.”
It is not only the discrimination that plays a major part in the job selection. Psychologists ask strange questions in order to determine a person ability to work, which can include some odd techniques.

I visited a job agency, and according to the interviewer one of the defining questions was: “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?”. Many job agencies also ask questions about the employee’s family background.
Brazil still shows a very conservative side when it comes to age, salary and profession. Administrative assistant positions are generally filled up women and that is also the case for cleaning workers.

Call centers are open for both genders, but many call centers (outsourcing companies) only offer the basic salary of US$ 250 which is less than the minimum wage of around R$ 620 (approximately US$ 300) monthly.
Although many Brazilians see the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics as a chance for Brazil to create new jobs and generate more development, it is unlikely that the country will spread prosperity, unless it is able to create an inclusion society. Until then many talents will keep on receiving the famous job agency letters that reads: “Sorry you do not fit our profile” .
Edison Bernardo DeSouza is a journalist, having graduated in Social Communication Studies at the Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo, Brazil . He lived in the US and Canada for close to 12 years and participated in volunteering activities in social works agencies. DeSouza currently lives in São Paulo where he teaches English as a Second Language for both private English Language Institute and Private High-School. He is currently participating as an actor in two English Musicals in Sao Paulo – Brazil and is pursuing further advancements in his career. He is particularly interested in economics, history, politics and human rights articles.


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  • SammieH

    It seems that as much as other countries try to keep up with the changing times and do things as they do in America there is always going to be things that they don’t quite have yet. Although ageism is a problem here, it is just not talked about or other excuses are used. I hope that Brazil can get away from job discrimination of all kinds. <p>   </p> <p> Job discrimination is not something that is a fun thing to deal with and it seems that it is very prevalent in Brazil but there are people with <a href =”http://www.quickencasino.com”>his experiences</a> who are speaking out. </p>

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  • carlos eduardo

    This is a typical phase……
    There types of practices you describe, they are typical for an economy in an early private sector jobs growth phase. This same thing happened in the USA all throughout the 1970’s, as the country suffered through a long period of jobs growth stagnation, but began to come out of it in the early 1980’s. The bottom line is that too many of the people in charge of hiring for a lot of private sector companies were simply incompetent morons. The fact is, highly qualified people come in all ages and genders and races, and these same people do not need to pay any employment agency a fee to get them a job interview. Employment agencies that charge fees almost do not exist anymore in the USA. Brazilian companies will also come to realize that they need to take charge of their own candidate selection, and that “get the job done” calibre resources don’t fit any age or gender or racial stereotypes. But this progression takes some time, maybe 5-8 years, because they simply have to make mistakes and learn from them.

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