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Impact of COVID19 on The Labor Market in Chile and Peru

Betty Vilchez

In August 2020, our exclusive Partners IESF Peru (Virtus) and IESF Chile (HR Buró) carried out the Labor Market Study in their countries. They surveyed 36 companies from the mining, agribusiness and energy sectors about how they are facing the COVID-19 crisis in their industries. (Most of the companies with more than 400 employees).


Companies were asked about adaptation measures. 94.4% answered that the most important measure was remote work, followed by health control (80.5%) and in the third place the reorganization of functions (33.3%). “At the beginning, we thought that by working remotely people would have more time, but everything indicates to the contrary. Executives spend a lot of time in meetings and little time is left for day-to-day tasks. The perception of doing work at home is less responsible, but it is not so in practice”, noted Matt Salas, the exclusive IESF Peru partner.


Respondents were asked about the most valued skills during the pandemic, and the results revealed that the most valued is adaptability (86.1%). In Peru, resilience and collaboration as the second and the third most valued competencies, followed by digital skills. Also in Chile adaptability was in the first place, followed by collaboration, self-management and resilience, whereas digital skills were in fifth place. The HR leaders were asked the open-ended question about the measures which recently were taken in their companies due to the pandemic. The most common responses were: decreasing the travel; work with the local providers; preparing leaders and managers to work remotely effectively; and the development of a crisis management program.


One of the questions in the study was: ¨When do companies expect to recover their operations and economic activity? ¨ 38% answered that they expect the recovery in the first quarter of 2021.
40% of the agro-industry experts believe to recover in the first quarter of 2021. While the energy sector experts estimate the recovery at the end of this year and the first quarter of 2021. The mining sector experts plan the recovery in the first quarter or mid-2021. Only four companies out of the 36 participants assured that they have not been affected by the crisis at all. “These companies are agro-industrial companies, since selling basic products the export campaign has been continuing,” said Matt Salas, IESF Peru partner.


According to the study, 72.2% of companies surveyed searched for strategic positions during the last six months. The most complex area is Operations (58.2%) followed by Logistics (35.2%). The average time to find the right match is six weeks. 61.1% of surveyed companies do not plan new incorporations until the end of the year. Speaking about the search methods, 58% of companies surveyed prefer to use their networking, followed by LinkedIn and referral system and as the last choice would be opting for headhunting company services.
Companies were asked about the recruiting methods. The most chosen tool is video interviewing, according to 74.2% of the respondents. The pandemic has brought to light that face-to-face interviews are not necessary, and processes can perfectly be carried out virtually. This will facilitate the hiring of professionals,” Matt Salas noted. On the other hand, he also stated that there is a lot to be explored regarding Artificial Intelligence and Gaming, which is already being used in Canada and Spain.


Another question in the survey revolved around equity and inclusion policies. 44% of the companies indicated that they have established gender equality programs or policies, and 47% said they have it under development. Whereas, 57.1% of the companies surveyed indicated that they do not have inclusion policies. Likewise, 68.7% said they comply with the legal percentage of inclusion of disabled people required by the country. Meanwhile, the majority of companies (65.7%) said they do not have established policies to hire professionals over 55 years of age.

About the author

Betty Vilchez


Betty Vilchez is Corporative Psychologist with Specialization in Human Resources and Corporative Coach with over 13 years of experience in Executive Search.
Her experience is focused on main industries as mining, energy, consumer goods, construction and logistic where she worked in the top and transnational companies in Peru.
She is Co-Founder and Operations Director of Virtus, where she leads Executive Search.

About the author

Cecilia Gajardo Jimenéz


Graduated from Universidad de Chile and founding partner of HR Buró, Cecilia Gajardo has an experience of almost 30 years in Human Resources and Executive Search, she has worked in extending our services through this years, with local and multinational companies, that are national leaders of the financial, commercial and industrial fields. She is currently performing as Managing Director of HR Buró S.A.

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