Cheap labor "a la criolla"

There's a business opportunity to be had here
There’s a business opportunity to be had here

Clímax magazine, one of Venezuela’s new crop of online media outlets, has an excellent story on how Venezuela has become a haven for cheap labor.

Now, if you read The Economist and other rankings, you might think that Caracas is the most expensive city in the Americas. In fact, that’s what the headlines read a few years ago! But reality is quite different.

Yes, taken at the official rate of BsF 6.3, Caracas is really expensive. As in “a kilo of grapes costs more than $200” expensive.

But at black market rates, Caracas is dirt cheap. As in “a visit to the doctor completely paid for out of pocket costs $4” cheap.

One way to take advantage of this is to hire Venezuelans for things that would be much more expensive in other places, things like social media networks, filming commercials, and even writing. The sirloin:

“Small jobs (in Venezuelan vernacular, ‘little tigers’) come from Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Argentina, the US, and Spain. When they land in Maiquetía [airport] they become an opportunity. ‘Many of the region’s production companies decide to film their commercials here. They can cut expenses up to 80%,’ says Marcos Purroy, casting director. On the other hand, Claudio Gómez, manager for Tekki Film & Production, says: ‘here a well-made commercial with an entire production team – talent, music, costumes, locations, teams, salaries, food, transportation, and hotels – can cost between BsF 2.5 or 3 million, which in dollars would come to about 6 to 8 thousand. The cost is very low compared to Central America. In Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica or Panama, the same commercial can cost 40 to 50 thousand dollars.”

It’s sad that is has come to this, but every crisis creates an opportunity. If your field of work allows you to offer up your services overseas, take the opportunity while it lasts.

In this globalized world, our misery is someone else’s gain.

(Note: Our very own Raúl Stolk is an editor over at Clímax).