generation of managers in Venezuela is breaking paradigms
Egberto Fernandez, Venezuela Career Advisor
Venezuela is a country of
young people. With over 70 percent of its labor force under 35, the last
10 years have witnessed the emergence of a generation of young managers
who are taking control of key positions in many companies. An analysis of
the 100 best managers in the country during 2004 reveals an average age of
44 among men and 40 among women. These new managers are breaking paradigms
and creating the new Venezuelan enterprise. Their placement in such key
areas as systems, information technology, marketing and publicity is
becoming an increasingly important factor in attracting new customers for
their products. There is the belief that young managers are willing to
risk more, are not easily intimidated and are more aggressive. When hiring
new managers companies are very aware of this.
For some analysts, this
phenomenon is associated to the boom of ".com" companies led by young
entrepreneurs: bright individuals with lots of creativity and energy, very
different from the traditional manager. According to the Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), Venezuela occupies the second place in
enterprise undertakings per year, as compared in a sample of 38 countries
including Europe and the United States. The average age of these
entrepreneurs is 23 to 25 years.
What conditions are
creating this need for young talents? The uncertainty and complexity of the
Venezuelan economy, and of the region as a whole, requires management
approaches that are totally different from the more traditional way of doing
business. According to analysts, this less predictable environment requires
such leadership strengths as:
The management of hyper-complexity.
Ability to work in networks.
Ability to constantly process
information and detect similarities within different realities.
Ability to work and negotiate in teams, and ability to
create positive emotional environments.
What is the profile of
these young managers? Two groups can be described. The first one has the
They have been educated in important universities in
Venezuela or abroad and have earned graduate degrees.
They have early managerial experience, including
experience in multicultural settings.
They are bilingual Spanish/English. Some speak three
They are dynamic and competitive; they know how to take
risks and seek opportunities. They know how to generate alliances and are
There are also many
successful entrepreneurs who do not have the high levels of education of the
previous group, but who through unique business approaches and management
savvy have been developing the area of franchises, one of the sectors with
highest growth in the country and the region.
During the last decade, the
Venezuelan entrepreneur has learned to maneuver in the midst of the
economic, political and social chaos prevailing throughout Latin America.
The most outstanding feature of these new entrepreneurs is their
adaptability. An example of this is the manner in which crises are
transformed into opportunities: the high levels of unemployment have created
the need for innovative solutions to help these young talents develop their
potential. Such is the case of the Venezuelan Association of Young
whose objective is to support the entrepreneurial spirit; and help business
people put their ideas into practice.
This generation of managers
has a common characteristic: they share a passion for work. They are young
men and women who have placed their bet for the country while others decide
to emigrate. The opportunity to advance their careers makes leaving the
In spite of the crisis the
Venezuelan labor market still has room for young people willing to succeed.
Egberto Fernandez is a human development specialist who has more than 20
years of experience with organizations and individuals. He combines his
private career-coaching practice with other areas of human development,
including facilitating group workshops in management, leadership, team
building, and change management. For more information, e-mail Egberto.