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Cielo: Latest Developments & RPO Growth in Latin America


Last week, I attended Cielo’s annual analyst event, held at its service center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here I round up the latest high-level developments at the RPO vendor, then take a closer look at its Latin American business.

Latest developments & 2020 roadmap

Cielo performs ~157k hires for ~154 clients in ~92 countries in 36 languages. Clients are served by ~2k employees in 34 countries and 9 service centers in every major geographical region.

Judging by 2018 activity YTD, Cielo is well-positioned to continue double-digit revenue growth. So far this year there are 44 new clients (including in healthcare, hi-tech/engineering, life sciences, financial & professional services), 24 significant scope expansions with current clients, and ~90% reoccurring revenue via multi-year contracts.

Key areas of investment in 2017-2018 have included:

  • Chatbots/live chat to qualify candidates in 6 questions
  • High-volume hiring. This is a mobile-first platform for hourly positions where candidates can apply for jobs in under 7 minutes, be notified immediately if they qualify, and schedule interviews right away. This could be a game changer for clients with high-volume hourly hiring; results for one client include triple-digit improvement in the volume of offers accepted, double-digit increased offer rate, double-digit reduced overtime, reduced time to offer, and lower cost per offer accepted.

Cielo’s 2020 roadmap includes:

  • Global footprint, including adding employees in 6 new countries, taking its total country count to 40 by 2019
  • Building total talent acquisition capabilities to hire both permanent and temporary talent for its clients. To date, Cielo has total talent clients in financial services, including banking, managed services, and with a multi-national tobacco company. Per NelsonHall’s Q3 Total Talent Market Analysis, growth is expected to be ~24% globally.

Cielo in Latin America

Cielo began serving clients in LATAM from Buenos Aires to support the hiring needs of a large U.S. multi-national corporation (MNC) in the region. Today, Cielo supports the hiring needs of both MNCs and LATAM-only companies in a variety of industries including medical, pharma, consumer products, manufacturing, transportation, and energy. Over 150 recruiting staff, including ~60 in Buenos Aires, support ~24 clients with hiring needs in fifteen different LATAM countries. Cielo has hired talent from across LATAM, as well as from the U.S. and the U.K. Languages supported include Spanish, English, Portuguese, Swedish, French, Russian, Armenian, and German. Recruiters outside of the Buenos Aires center are located at client sites.

Buenos Aires was chosen as the prime location for supporting clients in the region for reasons including:

  • It represents ~23% of Argentina’s GDP, has a population of ~14m within the metropolitan area, and ~3.5m in the city
  • Prime cultural location, and strongly English-speaking
  • A reputation for talent competitiveness (Global Talent Competitiveness Index)
  • 400 technology centers, 41 universities, 574k college students and ~50k foreign students. ~70% of BA students study careers/take courses in BPO, equating to ~60K graduates each year educated in BPO disciplines
  • It is ranked #10 globally as an outsourcing destination. In 2017, total BPO exports were $4.25bn, second in LATAM after Brazil.

Mexico, served in-county, has the biggest need for RPO services in LATAM, followed by Brazil in Rio and Sao Paulo (also served in-country). In South America, Buenos Aires, Rio and Sao Paulo are the largest RPO markets. Growth in LATAM is strong, with Cielo planning to double the size of its Buenos Aires service center by next year.

RPO contracts in LATAM are typically:

  • In the region of $0.5m in contract value, with between 300-700 annual hires (though for one large client in the region, Cielo performs 2k-4k annual hires)
  • 8-9 countries in scope, and this usually includes Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile
  • With MNCs (90%) that are familiar with the RPO model in other regions, and want to replicate it in LATAM.

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