Education: the battle for talent.

Position:LATIN TRADE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT
 
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Headhunters in Peru are quite busy these days. The country's dynamic economy--where companies profits are up and investments continue to flow--has created an active job market in Peru, where the need for qualified, and many times specialized, workers is at an all-time high, according to Ines Temple, Executive President of Lee Hecht Harrison/ DBM Peru, an outplacement firm based in Lima, Peru.

The time to relocate a candidate at DBM Peru, notes Temple, has dropped 20% this year as compared to the year before. Moreover, candidates usually have two or three offers to choose from. "Without a doubt, there is a battle for talent among local headhunters," she affirms.

While headhunters compete head-to-head to bring candidates into their company's talent pool, employers looking to fill vacant job positions are facing a battle of their own: finding top-quality candidates.

Although the qualification of the local talent pool has improved drastically over the past few years--college grads and executives are increasingly investing their time and money into getting a Masters or other specialized degree--the supply of top-notch talent, or those with the "right" educational degrees and social and management skills, still falls short.

"The entry of new companies into the market and the fact that many Peruvians are returning home to work has renewed the demand for highly qualified people, increasing the standards for locals," notes Temple. "Companies are under the impression that there is a shortage of available talent not in the quantity, but in the quality."

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Local universities and institutions across Peru have taken note of this shortfall.

Eager to bank on the desire of executives and recent grads to beef up their resumes in order to land those highly sought-after job openings, higher learning institutions are spearheading efforts to boost their postgraduate programs.

"Today's competitive environment requires professionals with greater preparation--getting a master's degree used to be an option, today it's a requirement" notes Guillermo Quiroga, Director of the Postgraduate School of the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC). "On the other hand, the country's economic development demands executives with specialized knowledge in their respective fields, and postgraduate programs cover that need."

At UPC, for example, in addition to adding new courses, updating the curriculum and requirements, and hiring well-qualified...

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