Next decade emergencies

16, December

By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina   In a few days a new decade begins. The 21st century has already ...

By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina


In a few days a new decade begins. The 21st century has already been presented to us. Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

Latin America has debts from the last century and even the previous one. They are visible and felt by everyone. Social unrest in several of their countries account for it.

The dissemination of the results of this year’s PISA Tests explain part of the problem. The ineffectiveness of the political class may explain another part. The obvious: we need structural reforms. We need to rethink the world of education and the world of work. Redesign them together. Discuss about the future, sustainable and inclusive, humanistic. We need to leave the past behind.

What do Latin American policy makers do if they are not focused on creating talent?

All countries in the region are below the OECD average in the aforementioned PISA tests. A resounding and unacceptable failure. What happens when we relate it to the labor market? The productive system is in constant transformation. A context of global competition demands a higher level of sophistication and a world class talent.

This constant evolution that at the same time guarantees survival and the possibility of growth, needs regulatory frameworks that accompany the global reality of the business world. The scenario today reflects this absurdity: my regulatory framework did not change due to reality; If reality changed, worse for reality. And the absurd is real. Accepting reality and responding with urgent changes should be a priority to get out of a status quo that creaks everywhere via inequality and exclusion.

The urgencies involve accepting the various forms of work by putting the individual at the center, designing policies that promote employability, promoting active employment policies, promoting and supporting entrepreneurs, facilitating and attracting private investment.

The relevant talent is built on data, knowing the skills gap, to be able to create competences based on demand, relieving the instances of our possible future and designing instances of ad hoc training with technology support. The various forms of work will be nourished by a talent necessarily developed through various forms of knowledge acquisition.

We are part of a market dominated by technology. This is a fact, there are no value judgments about it. For the first time, this year, the five largest companies in the World in terms of valuation, are technology based.

While this is a reality, Latin America is lagging far behind in terms of innovation. Asia has become the world’s leading innovation center. Our region that represents 6% of the global economy generates 1.7% of new patents. The 33 countries in the region have less than half of the patents presented by South Korea.

If the knowledge economy comes to tell us that knowledge has become the key factor in generating value and wealth, we have a serious problem.

Education and Labor should constitute a single ministry in which policies tend to create lifelong learning mechanisms thinking about the sustainable productive development of the country. This ministry should be of utmost importance, if we focused on this while creating a good business climate, the possibility of development could be closer.

I am convinced that in the transition to this cultural change, private employment services are called to play a leading role in the aforementioned active employment policies. The articulation with the public employment services allows to form competences based on demand and guarantee rapid access to the formal labor market. They also constitute a solution for the platforms that today mediate between supply and demand and that need an adequate framework for their workers on demand.

We are about to start a new decade. Latin America needs to take advantage of lost time, take note of mistakes by being anchored in a past that no longer exists and embrace the future. Digitization offers us the opportunity to accelerate transformations that will be decisive for the future generations. Those who represent citizens are responsible for taking these notes correctly, understanding the importance of these urgencies and being up to the historical time in which they have to represent us.

The two keywords of these lines are transformations and urgencies. This wonderful region deserves to be lived.

About Martin Padulla

Founder and Managing Director of staffingamericalatina. Martin Padulla is Sociologist (USAL), MBA (UCA) and labour markets expert. He published “Flexible Work in South America” and “Regulatory framework for private employment agencies in Latin America” two books about the new realities of work in Latin America. He is working on the project #FOWiberoamerica.

Follow Martín Padulla on Twitter: @MartinPadulla