Venezuela’s political and economic turmoil has become so disastrous that it’s actually easy to forget that the country is filled with countless individuals just trying to keep a steady job, put food on the table, and have a place to sleep at night.
But headhunters in Central and South American countries haven’t forgotten this important detail — and they have been taking advantage of Venezuela’s continuing crisis to woo low-cost employees to other countries.
Hector Ghinaglia, a 24-year-old Apple software developer, told The Fiscal Times that he had been earning about $130 per month on the black market exchange rate. An Apple developer, one would expect, probably shouldn’t be worrying about job security; not only is the company competing to have the most advanced smartphones, smart TVs, and smart watches, but considering that the App Store adds around 19,000 new apps each month, there’s plenty of software development projects available.
For Venezuelans like Ghinaglia, even the most in-demand job position won’t pay very well as long as it’s within the country’s borders. When he received a message from a Colombian employer on LinkedIn, Ghinaglia says that he couldn’t refuse the $900/month pay rate, free flight, and free work visa.
In fact, few industries besides the oil and gas industry are anything close to being stable, Venezuelan workers have argued. As the only commodity that hasn’t been subject to inflation, the Washington Post reported that crude oil in Venezuela costs a mere 1.5 U.S. cents per gallon.
Bread and milk, on the other hand, aren’t just expensive — they’re nearly impossible to find, along with countless other basic necessities like diapers and toilet paper. As the country’s rationing becomes more restrictive by the day, residents aren’t so much concerned with prices as they are with simply getting access to items they need.
And this reasoning is exactly what’s fueling the international job market in South America, since Venezuelans are willing to work at another country’s minimum wage simply because they can access basic goods; it seems only a small frustration that the cost of living is higher in other countries, considering that at least it’s possible to purchase items when you need them.
One business in Panama, for example, told The Fiscal Times that it receives about 30 to 40 resumes daily from Venezuela; from Colombia, it typically receives just one application.
As more foreign countries gain appeal, more domestic Venezuelan businesses are finding that they’re losing their best workers — and millions of soon-to-be-workers are leaving the country with their parents, too.
Unless Venezuela is able to curb its emigration rates of skilled workers, it seems unlikely that the country will regain stability in the near future.