World View: Focus on Peru

Most training programs run one to two days and are conducted in major cities, especially Lima.

By Dr. Neil Orkin

Peru is a country with tremendous natural resources, especially metals such as gold and copper. It is a land famous for the advances of the Incas, who had one of the most sophisticated cultures the world has known. With a population of 29 million and a location next to one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Brazil, Peru is a land global organizations need to watch.

Education is valued here. The Peruvian government understands that having a better-educated workforce will enable its citizens to do higher-level work and develop finished products for export. There is a shortage of engineers and scientists in Peru, which has hampered the development of its economy. Peru has experienced a large trade imbalance for many years. This is the result of exporting agricultural products and minerals, and importing finished goods. The Peruvian government believes that opening up the country to global trade (Peru has signed several trade agreements with other countries) and upgrading the education of its people can help turn things around.

Poverty is an issue for many of its citizens. Basic living conditions such as having clean water and adequate waste disposal are often not available.

Because the middle class is small and growing slowly, companies face several challenges here, including:

  1. The population does not have the disposable income to purchase many goods and services.
  2. The majority of the workforce does not have the skill set to manufacture finished goods for export.

The State of Training

The training industry in Peru is not as developed as in other countries. Most of the training is conducted in major cities, especially Lima. One- to two-day programs are popular. Comprehensive needs assessments should give your organization a clear understanding of what should be offered. Often, giving your workforce a through grounding in problem-solving, quality, and oral and written communication can make a difference. Don’t assume your Peruvian workforce is familiar with topics that are well known in your regular training. Although many of the “elite” in this country have studied abroad, expect the majority of your trainees to not speak English. You will need to watch your vocabulary and your rate of speed when presenting information. Using slides and visuals can greatly increase comprehension and
retention of your material.

Cross-Cultural Business Tips

Time: Although you will be expected to be on time to meetings, functions, etc., expect your Peruvian workforce to be late often.

Formality: This is a formal culture. Trainers are respected and are expected to lead the class. Minimize group work and use family names when addressing participants.

Group: This is a group-oriented culture, so you should not single out individuals.

Decision-Making: Trainers are expected to make all classroom-related decisions.

Costs: Keep in mind that the costs for a training program in Peru typically will be higher than usual. Most training materials need to be brought in.

Training in Peru can be challenging, but over time, as the country builds its economy, your organization will be well situated for global success.

Dr. Neil Orkin is president of Global Training Systems. His organization prepares corporate professionals for global business success. Global Training Sytems in partnership with Badiyan Inc. has developed a global e-learning performance management program to take global business understanding to the next level. For more information, visit

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.