Inside the Venezuelan crisis; a day in the life of a PwC professional

03 September 2018 Authored by Consultancy.lat

With the crisis raging on in Venezuela, the press has focused on those forced into exile, violent protests, or this year’s election results. Little has been said about the day to day life of Venezuelans working hard to keep what’s left of their economy rolling; those who are struggling to build a better future for their country. Consultancy.lat has reached out to PwC Venezuela’s Camilo Ramírez to talk about life inside Maduro’s Venezuela.

Venezuela is currently in the middle of a mass exodus having seen millions of citizens flee the state in search of basic supplies. Inflation is currently at roughly 83,000%, with experts estimating that it could reach a million by the year’s end. In a bid to end the devastating devaluation of the country’s currency – the Bolivar – the government has introduced new bank notes that scrap three ‘0’s off the value and have invented their own cryptocurrency; the Petro. 

It’s safe to say that Venezuela’s economy has seen better days, but for PwC Venezuela’s Camilo Ramírez (not his real name) there’s hope of a better future. “It's no secret to anyone the political situation over here,” he says via email, commenting on his day to day life with the Big Four consulting firm.

“It's way different from an inside point of view. Outside, people see the tragedy itself and the chaos, but not the struggle in our daily work. And they don't see either that, despite the crisis, there are thousands of workers who wake up every morning trying to build a better country.” 

Before the turn of the century, Venezuela had the highest standard of living throughout the entire Latin America. Today, approximately 80% of the population lives under the poverty line, with the state sanctioned minimum wage anywhere between $2 and $8 a month, depending on the black-market currency exchange rates of the day. “It’s pretty much like a fight you can't win,” says Ramírez, “but there's a LOT of hope because Venezuela deserves it.”

Inside the Venezuelan crisis; a day in the life of a PwC professional

The PwC Senior staff member walks us through his daily routine. “Every morning you wake up early trying to get the few buses that can lead you to your workplace. Public transport – as [with] every other public services – doesn't work properly due to the scarcity of car parts, oils, tires, etc. It can take even hours waiting for the bus.” 

According to Ramírez, it is necessary to go to the bank in the morning to withdraw cash to pay for the bus. “There’s also a scarcity of cash, so it's mandatory being in banks everyday trying to withdraw a few Bolívares to pay the transporting services.” 

“Once in the office, the environment changes everything." Ramírez’s employer PwC is one of the world’s largest professional service firms and has a global culture of innovation and progress. A wall in the firm’s Venezuelan office reads, “the brand of a nation is built by its citizens. Let's rescue the #MarcaVenezuela and build a better country.”

“PwC Venezuela has an incredible culture and infrastructure, it kind of motivates people to do better than usual,” says Ramírez. “People feel way different over here, because outside the culture and infrastructure it's falling apart. You can just forget for a second the chaos outside and focus to do your work at best.”  

“The brand of a nation is built by its citizens. Let's rescue the #MarcaVenezuela and build a better country.” 
- PwC Venezuela 

When asked by Consultancy.lat about the mood inside the consulting firm, Ramírez responded; “The culture in PwC Venezuela it's incredible. Here we can lift our moods and do our best, there's a friendly environment in here and a huge team with the best capabilities in their respective fields.”

“At a broader level, Venezuelan businesses are not getting on trends. Basically they are trying to survive the crisis and political pressures on them. Some techs like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual reality or big data analytics are not seen on the market yet, but some others like Blockchain or drones are being used for some entrepreneurs to disrupt their industries.”

Touching on the consulting industry as a whole, he suggests that firms including PwC will have a big role in bringing the country back together. “Consultancy in Venezuela has a bright future, once this situation ends, there are thousands of businesses that will need these services so they can grow once again and keep up with the world corporative trends and practices.” 

“In Venezuela, people work 1000% harder than in any other place – with more difficulties and with less payouts – but also with lots of worries and ironically, tons of hope.” He concludes the interview with a message of aspiration. “Venezuela has large amounts of resources, also great lands to work on. We will overcome the crisis and build a better place for upcoming generations.”

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