When people think of Argentina, they’re likely to think of tourism. In recent years, Argentina has been South America’s top travel destination, and offers tourists experiences that range from hiking and skiing near the Andes to tangoing in Buenos Aires.
Argentina offers more than just vacations, though. Argentina also offers a large, middle-class consumer market that can provide benefits for companies looking to expand their global reach.
Companies that do decide to do business in Argentina should be confident doing so due to Argentina’s business culture, which involves significant existing foreign investment, work habits that complement American work culture, and the likelihood that professional Argentines speak highly proficient English.
By learning about Argentina’s customs and norms, U.S. businesses can effectively expand their operations into one of South America’s most important economies.
1. Argentina Hosts Many Foreign Companies
A company looking to do business in Argentina will find a country that is used to hosting foreign countries.
For example, over 500 U.S.-based companies operate in Argentina. These companies employ close to 400,000 Argentines and are estimated to invest roughly $15 billion into Argentinian operations.
In general, foreign investment in Argentina has focused on energy and manufacturing. Argentina also has a growing tech sector and the country has incentivized young talent to pursue software development and other careers in the tech industry.
Foreign companies have reason to invest in Argentina: The country is large and well-educated. Argentina has the highest literacy rate in South America and has substantial numbers of professionals who can work on a contract or full-time basis.
Plus, Argentina’s income is more evenly distributed than in much of the rest of Latin America, which means that there is greater consumer buying power.
Overall, Argentina is a country that is comfortable with foreign investment and takes a global view of business. Companies looking to expand to Argentina will encounter a business community that is attuned to their interests.
2. Work Culture in Argentina is Very Compatible with the U.S’s
In many countries, the difference between urban and rural areas is notable. Argentina has a strong rural-urban divide due to its urbanized composition: 9 out of 10 Argentines live in urban areas; 1 out of 2 live in one of the five biggest metropolitan areas.
Such distribution is also reflected in the private sector: 2 out of 3 Argentine firms are located in Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario, Mendoza, or San Miguel de Tucuman.
Argentine work culture is typified by:
- A standard 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. work schedule: In Buenos Aires especially, professionals generally work a standard workday with a short lunch break.
- Fast-paced, American style work expectations: Argentina’s free-market reforms in the 1990s resulted in more multinational companies opening offices in Buenos Aires and Cordoba. These companies quickened the traditional pace of Argentine work and reduced the likelihood of attending long business lunches.
- English competency: Argentina has the highest English proficiency in Latin America. Most English speakers live in Buenos Aires and other cities and many companies use English as their business language.
These strong alignments with American work culture make collaborating with teams in Argentina very seamless.
3. English is Often the Language of Business
For American companies looking to invest in Argentina or simply offshore some of their operations to Argentine workers, language differences should not be a burden.
Many of the Argentines who advance to professional roles speak English. In fact, many professionals in Argentina consider their ability to speak English as a marker of education and employability.
Since such a high proportion of Argentina’s population lives in urban areas, there is a substantial pool of workers who are able to speak English in a professional setting.
The ability to avoid using interpreters or language software makes Argentine professionals’ ability to speak English valuable.
Understanding Argentina’s Business Culture
Argentina’s importance across Latin America makes it a valuable business target. Companies should know what to expect from Argentine business culture. In particular, companies should remember that:
- Many foreign companies already do business in Argentina.
- Argentina’s work culture is very similar to the U.S. work culture.
- English is often the language of business.
With knowledge of Argentina’s business culture, companies can intelligently and confidently enter the valuable Argentine business market.