Mercado Libre bucks tech layoff trend with 13,000 new jobs

Mercado Libre, the Amazon of Latin America, recently will hire 13,000 new jobs this year, bucking a global trend of massive layoffs across large technology companies.

The bulk of the new employees will be based in Mexico and Brazil, the company’s most important markets in the region.

Since 2020, the company has quadrupled its headcount from 9,700 to almost 40,000 employees by the end of last year.

Its decision to further expand its workforce is the latest illustration of the underlying potential in Latin American e-commerce and fintech industries, even as big techs worldwide slash their workforces in the face of rising rates.

“This year, we will continue to create quality employment in the region,” said Sebastián Fernández Silva, Chief People Officer at the company. “In a very challenging global context, Mercado Libre contributes to the region’s development.”

The company saw massive expansion in the years of the pandemic. E-commerce as a share of GDP jumped across the region. Online sales as a percentage of total retail rose to 11% in Latin America, up from roughly 5% a few years ago. The company has also seen strong adoption of its fintech products on the heels of that expansion.

The company said a great deal of the new hiring will be geared toward improving logistics. Mercado Libre will add 5,800 positions in Brazil and 5,350 in Mexico. Smaller batches include 800 in Argentina, 600 in Chile, 600 in Colombia, and 150 in Uruguay.

Fintech business in focus

The e-commerce giant is also one of the leading financial technology players in the region. Mercado Pago, its digital bank, now generates roughly half of the company’s total revenue. It reports 44 million unique active users.

Earlier this year, it announced a $3.6 billion investment in Brazil to grow aggressively into the segment in Latin America’s largest economy. The e-commerce giant is still eyeing opportunities to grow in one of the region’s most competitive markets for fintech.

The relevance of Mercado Pago as a lever for the group’s top line is growing. Fintech revenue is expanding at a 73% pace year over year, faster than the marketplace business. According to company data, it processed north of $100 billion in payments last year.

Marcos Galperín headshot
Marcos Galperín, CEO at Mercado Libre.

Mercado Libre stock up 50% in 2023

At $60 billion, the Buenos Aires-based corporation is one of the most valued in Latin America. This year, its stock has delivered a 50% return amid a broader recovery from tech giants.

At roughly $1,250 apiece, however, it is still significantly down from record peaks last year of $1,850.

The e-commerce giant booked a 56.6% year-over-year revenue growth during the fourth quarter of 2022, up to $3 billion. Net income reached $165 million in the three quarters, up from a loss of $46 million in the year-ago quarter.

  • David Feliba

    David is a Latin American journalist. He reports regularly on the region for global news organizations such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Financial Times, and Americas Quarterly.

    He has worked for S&P Global Market Intelligence as a LatAm financial reporter and has built expertise on fintech and market trends in the region.

    He lives in Buenos Aires.

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