COA Symposium on the Future of Work: Bridging the Skills Gap in Latin America

Panelists discussed the many tools and approaches for companies to close the skills gap across industries and amid accelerated change.


  • Tish Mendoza, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, The AES Corporation
  • Nicole Amaral, Latin America Skills Transformation Lead, Coursera
  • Fernando Jaramillo, VP, People, Softtek
  • Tricia Maria Sá Pacheco de Oliveira, Partner, Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados
  • Eduardo Marchiori, CEO, Mercer Brasil (moderator)

In a COA Symposium panel on the future of work and bridging the skills gap in Latin America, industry leaders discussed the many ways they are seeing companies and organizations adapt to new needs in the workforce, given an evolving digital workplace. The AES Corporation's Tish Mendoza emphasized that the key is distinguishing what training must be provided to employees to close capability gaps. "We are working on the right things, we need to accelerate the impact we're making," said the executive vice president. Tricia Maria Sá Pacheco de Oliveira of Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados also noted the informality challenge in Latin America and honed in on Brazil, highlighting the need for companies to get involved in overcoming educational gaps in the workforce.

Coursera's Nicole Amaral detailed what they're seeing in terms of people searching to gain hard and soft skills, with a five-fold increase in learners coming from businesses, and nine-fold increase from government-sponsored programs. She emphasized the need for a holistic enterprise-wide model of training, and said that bridging the skills gap is not only for large organizations, but micro and small businesses too. Softtek's Fernando Jaramillo said that companies need to connect their purpose and goals to the tools needed for skills in demand, and to create a "self-determined environment where employees can reach out and align to the company vision."

On how the workforce will looks like in 10 years, Amaral noted we have long way to go, but if we can keep focused on shifting skills we can sustain momentum as a region. Jaramillo is enthusiastic about the region's future, and his advice to organizations is to focus on flexibility, adaptability, and collaboration.