In crisis, engineers and college grads working for delivery apps in Brazil

After the construction boom, the situation is dramatic in Brazil, and in crisis, even unemployed engineers have become Uber drivers.

Since the economic crisis took place in Brazil, sweeping jobs in companies in various sectors, it is increasingly common to find someone who has joined the transport and delivery applications, such as 99, Uber, iFood and Rappi, to pay for their bills.

But the worst is that it is not only professionals without specific qualifications who are resorting to the “uberization” of work. The employment recovery has been so slow that even more qualified professionals, such as engineers with higher education (complete or incomplete), are migrating to these services.

But why does Brazil, a country so large and in such need of infrastructure, have so many unemployed engineers?

People work however they can

The Brazilian GDP fell eight percentage points between 2015 and 2016. This made these people work the way they could. And application drivers can do that easily. They can even rent or finance a car. The entry barrier is low.

An engineering profession is necessary in all serious countries as it deals with the necessary construction of roads, value creation, maintenance of infrastructure, …

Engineers are needed for everything to do something more efficient and this is exactly where Brazil gets lost. Nothing is efficient in the country and quite the opposite, a lot in the country was created to hinder and generate taxes and tricks for the payment of public officials.

Brazil does not have the industrialization of sophisticated products, in addition to being totally dependent on external technology to form its production chain. In addition to not having technological sophistication, industrial productivity just falls.

For this reason, Brazil cannot generate sophisticated jobs, either. Here, a large number of workers are in low-performing sectors in terms of productivity. Occupations that do not depend on specific and differentiated knowledge. This makes it increasingly common to find drivers from Uber and / or Ifood who have a good degree in higher education.

On Inovation, economic complexity and national productivity

Unlike India with many engineers and few opportunities, Brazil does not even have so many trained engineers. According to Ronaldo Gusmao, Engineer, president of Ietec and former vice president of SME Brazil, there are six engineers for every thousand workers, while in the United States and Japan this number is around 25 per thousand, and in Germany, 39 per thousand. Brazil has no engineers left, we cannot afford to have engineers driving Uber or doing other activities outside the area.

On an annual survey carried out by the consultancy Universum Global reveals that, in Brazil, the financial market has again captured the newly trained civil engineers, as occurred during the lost decades of civil construction (1980 and 1990). Engineering professionals are competing for vacancies in banking institutions together with specialists in Information Technology and graduates in the business areas, such as administrators, accountants and economists. Banks, brokers, investment funds and fintechs (financial market startups) have mainly absorbed civil engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers and production engineers.

Two problems with that are, the financial sector doesn’t have enough vacancies, and engineers and more specifically civil engineers are trained for construction and needed if country wants to grow infrastructure.

According to Tatiana Dumet on an article for the Correio, the director of the Polytechnic School of Ufba, defends that engineering jobs go through cycles. According to her, Brazil still has a ‘lack’ of engineers. “We train 40,000 engineers a year and should be training 60,000 to meet the demands of technology. But it does not mean that there will be jobs for everyone ”, she reinforces.

A new culture that Politécnica has tried to implement is precisely to create a culture of innovation among students – that is, that they become their own employers. The idea is that, with this, young people leave these two horizons – to be a civil servant or to work for large companies.

The current government by President Bolsonaro can’t move the economy forward. The costs to produce are still really high, and his government has tons of military eating and drinking on the government’ dime.

In fact, the current government prefers to keep spreading fake information and old pictures of infrastructure works built on previous administrations as his work.