Development jobs in Latin America: A focus on locals, specialists

Women in Ecuador pick blackberries, part of an agricultural project in a World Vision-assisted community. Photo by: World Vision

Job seekers hoping to launch a career in Latin America can face a daunting scenario. With developed nations’ aid priorities focused on the Middle East and Africa, and an increasing reliance on hiring locals, the competition for entry-level field jobs in the region is intense.

But avenues to employment exist, old and new. Spanish language skills, overseas volunteer experience, and graduate degrees in international relations or political science can still open doors for the connected, persistent and talented. But those with more specialized skills, particularly in business and economics, may be in the best position to join a Latin American development environment that is becoming increasingly businesslike.

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About the author

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    Andrew Wainer

    Andrew Wainer is director of policy research for Save the Children. He was formerly a senior immigration policy analyst at Bread for the World Institute, which provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. He has also worked as a journalist and social researcher in Latin America and the United States. Andrew’s research and journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He holds a master’s degree in Latin American studies from UCLA and is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.