“We have been able to install the sector as a formal solution for times of high uncertainty.”

05, October

Staffingamericalatina together with the World Employment Confederation continues to develop a series of interviews ...

Staffingamericalatina together with the World Employment Confederation continues to develop a series of interviews with key personalities in the world of staffing in the region.

In this issue we have interviewed Alfred Budschitz, Executive Director of AGEST and Board Member of WEC.

Alfred is Austrian, until he was 27 years old he developed between Austria and the United States. A Chilean lady, who later became his wife, brought him to South America in 1998. His career had an important development in first level companies of massive consumption and he ventured into the world of Business Organizations in the British Chamber in Chile until he became the director of AGEST. His view of the Chilean market is extremely interesting because although he is already Chilean, his international perspective allows him to take a distance from the current situation and enrich the analysis.

Chile is going through an interesting moment. It is slowly returning to normal. In many aspects, the previous life is coming back. There is a good coexistence with the virus due to a very efficient vaccination process.

The South American country started the pandemic in a special way. In October 2019 there were strong social demonstrations that to this day have collaterals. In fact every Friday there are pockets of contained protests. The problem has depth. In November there are presidential elections. For the first time they take place in the middle of a conflict that seems to be transversal since the polarization looks more generational than of established socioeconomic classes.

S- What are the main challenges and opportunities facing the Chilean labor market?

AB- The main challenge is to activate all the talent. We do not have enough people to meet the needs of the market. We are facing a very noticeable recovery. The sector has been one of those that have suffered the least during the pandemic. We have statistical data since January 2020. The decision we took was to create an information system fed by AGEST members. Hard data provided anonymously. For the first time every member was able to know how they were doing relative to the average. We had a hard hit in Q2 2020 (April, May and June) but then we started to grow steadily. The opportunity is to continue consolidating something that we were able to install: we offer the labor flexibility that is needed when there is uncertainty. Personally, I am pleased that we have been able to position the sector as a formal solution to times of high uncertainty. Transitory services have grown in a very noticeable way, outsourcing or BPO has followed the curves of the economy.

S- How do you see the short-term and long-term evolution of the sector?

AB- When the social outbreak occurred in October 2020 we adopted a low profile strategy, however when the pandemic started we raised our profile and we have achieved our objectives. SENCE (National Training and Employment Service) is now working strongly with us on active policies to neutralize the shortage of talent. The public-private articulation flows.  In the short term, the sector accompanies the recovery. In the long term, the sector is solid, although it will depend on how the Constitution is reformed, the direction the country takes after the presidential elections and the consequences of the emergency measures that have been taken to overcome the crisis. As in many countries in the region, we have witnessed a subsidy festival in this complex period. There are warning signs, although we are optimistic.

S- How has the COVID19 crisis affected the market and how prepared is the market for the post-pandemic future?

AB- The sector has grown in every sense and has become stronger. There is a very important integration in the region and an unprecedented global connection. In that sense it is better prepared than ever. We are returning to normal or already experiencing the new normal. We will see what happens with the elaboration of the new Constitution and with the post presidential election course. The cross-cutting nature of the protests indicated that something has to change. We observe with attention some measures taken in pandemic that seem to be functional to that of “bread for today, hunger for tomorrow”. The great unknown is what will be the meaning of these changes.

S- What are the benefits of being part of the World Employment Confederation?

AB- AGEST today is deeply linked and aligned to WEC. I am part of the Board and we are involved in a very interesting process which is the restructuring of WEC Latam. This process has been very enriching. We are all committed to make it a blueprint to take to Asia and Africa. We are at kilometer 41 of the marathon, the final stretch, very excited. We are working on the best way to channel the impetus of the national federations. The Mexico case has united us in the face of threats