Gabriel Cogo (Brazil) - The Labor Market: Stress and Goals

Recent research on professionals based in different parts of Brazil stated that IT professionals have amongst the highest stress rates. These are even worse than well known stressful jobs, such as doctors and engineers. The same research says that an incredible 97% of IT professionals consider their job stressful.

There are several causes for this; most of them shared with other professions, but the main cause is still the work hours. Brazil has an average working week of 54 hours, against a 41 hours world average. Added to that, are high goals and expectations along with a lack of growth perspective. Yes, growth perspective. In a country where most of the economists predict 10% growth per year, most employees still have limited expectations about their jobs and salaries. That's because in many respects, the country hasn't been evolving at quite the same pace. There is still a great deal of work to be done due to weak labor laws which often aren't applied.

IT companies from Brazil often complain that with the country's absurd tax fee they can't stay competitive with companies from other countries, especially India, if they choose to give the employees all that they ask for. Large multinationals can still do what they always did: pay their workers less so they can produce the same goods as other companies at a cheaper price. In fact a large number of companies outsourced their production teams from the United States and Europe to India, China, and Brazil, for this very reason. If Brazilian laws suddenly made the costs higher, many companies would simply move to a cheaper country.

The stress in the IT workforce isn't just a Brazilian concern, but a global issue. This news comes even in the middle of the Y generation revolution in the market, which raises areas like health, sports, and more free time for the employees. It's not an easy problem to handle, and involves more than just a boss and his employee. I can offer one real life example: a boss of a team in my company has to reduce his area's costs by 5%, but 90% of the team expenses are human costs (payroll, benefits, and others). What can he do? If he does nothing he could well get fired. There are people in India and China who can do the same job for half the price, and will still work weekends.

We're entering a decade where the "live to work" phrase has given place to the "work to live" perspective. Yet a large number of companies are still afraid of the results of this change. Benchmarks cases like Google and Facebook remain the exception, especially in Brazil, where innovative business isn't very common place.


This article is based on Portuguese language research. A few of the key points have been translated below:


1. Information Technology
2. Medicine
3. Engineering
4. Sales and Marketing
5. Education
6. Finance
7. Human Resources
8. Operation
9. Production
10. Religion


1. Working longer hours than contracted (monthly)
2. Feeling underrated
3. Deadlines
4. Type of work
5. Doing someone else's work
6. Unsatisfaction
7. Lack of control in daily activities
8. Working for too many consecutive hours (e.g., 14 hour days)
9. Frustration with the enviroment
10. Goals

The original research can be found here:


Gabriel Cogo is studying for a Masters in Systems Information and Decision Analysis at UFRGS and has been working as a Sales Analyst for Gerdau SA.



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