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I consider myself a very lucky person. As the MD of SAP Labs Latin America, I work in one of the most beautiful, and most sustainable buildings in the southern hemisphere.  We recently inaugurated the second wing of our building. The addition includes 500 new work spaces to the 400 we already had and features a state of the art innovation center comprising of a showcase area, an executive briefing center and a co-innovation lab.  This lab is used to develop products together with partners using design thinking principles.  Besides having the privilege of working in this exemplary, LEED Gold certified environment in the south of Brazil, I’m also working with the brightest young minds in the region. 

Millennials are the workforce of tomorrow

I just read a blog called How to Fix a Broken BRIC that says The Wall Street Journal named Brazil the social media capital of the universe. Brazilians are hyper-social, and they love technology. Last year, 67 million Brazilians accessed the mobile Internet; they also bought more than 5 million tablets and 21 million smartphones. Most of these internet users are very young: 18 % are under 24 years old, and 25% are between the ages of 25 and 34. This is good news for us at SAP Labs Latin America because these young people will be the employees and business leaders of tomorrow. In fact, we are among the pioneers when it comes to building the workforce of the future. In 2013, there were 3,178 students engaged in activities promoted by SAP Labs Latin America. Not only are we hiring young people straight out of university through our internship and University Alliance programs, but we are promoting those young people into leadership positions.

The average age of an employee at SAP Labs Latin America is 29. We have one of the best (if not THE best) vocational program for students in the region. The two-year program gives young people the opportunity to try out different roles in the company before settling into a full time job. One of the unique aspects of working with millennials here in Brazil is that the students are usually enrolled in work study programs where they have full time day jobs while attending classes at night. By the time they graduate at age 25 or 26, they have the equivalent work experience of people in their early 30s, making them prime candidates for management positions at a very young age. Currently, 86% of our interns become full time employees after completion of the program, and 90% of our management positions are filled by internal candidates. This is something we take great pride in!

An employer of choice

We also take great pride in being among the top five IT employers in Brazil, a country with an IT market worth US$ 84.76 billion. We invest a lot to further  educate our teams; we delivered 17.490 training hours in 2013, or about 4.6  days per employee. We also believe in promoting our people (30% per year) and hiring women (50% new hires in 2013 were women.) Today, 17% of our managers are women, a 5% increase since 2012. There are even more  benefits of working at our SAP Labs such as flexible schedules, customized benefits, sustainable commuting options and numerous CSR activities so people can give back to the community.  All of this contributes to an impressive  86% employee satisfaction and only a 6.8% turnover rate compared to the Brazilian IT average of 20%.

And of course, you can see why I consider myself such a lucky person, along with the 560 other people who work here!