Excerpted from the Peru Career Guide
Peru is a thousand-year-old country steeped in tradition and a grand history. Peruvians are proud of the long history of their culture and the level of development achieved by the Inca Empire. A great number of people, however, believe the country’s traditions have been degraded by corrupt leaders and poor examples from teachers. There is a current movement from some employers, therefore, to promote honest, hard-working values that will help create good citizens and good workers.
Peruvians speak in quiet tones and maintain a modest demeanor; they do not interrupt one another. They are very direct. It is polite to maintain eye contact during a conversation, but never to point at someone. It is important to know the old traditions remain in Peru, and therefore it is necessary to use good manners all the time.
Normal business hours in Peru are from 8 am to 5 or 6 pm, with lengthy lunches between 1 and 3 pm. Most professionals work 40 to 48 hours per week Monday through Friday, and sometimes Saturday. In most cases, students with internships work a maximum of 30 hours per week.
If You Want to Act Like a Local...
- It is acceptable to arrive at least 30 minutes late to social events.
- Sneezing, winking and gesturing in public should be avoided.
In most workplaces, Peruvians tend to be very polite and amiable with others, including foreigners and new acquaintances. For foreigners, it is especially easy to establish new relationships because Peruvians tend to give them special attention.
Peruvians dress rather formally for work. Men and women generally wear suits when their occupations put them in direct contact with customers or when they are attending an important meeting. Otherwise, men can wear dress pants and a nice shirt to work. Women can wear dresses or skirts complemented with jewelry, makeup and colored nail polish if they are so inclined. It is always favorable to wear recognized brand clothes, because in Peru they are synonymous with a good position in society.
Corporate Hierarchy / Boss and Subordinate Relations
Hierarchy plays a major role in the operation of a Peruvian business. Peruvian titles are generally accurate, e.g., a vice president is actually the second in command, making it easy to discern the corporate hierarchy in an organization.
Women in the Workplace
About half of the Peruvian workforce consists of women, and they have made great inroads into the professional business world. However, women in Peru still struggle against a deep-rooted machismo mindset. Quite simply, Peruvian men usually prefer to deal with other men. Women who expect to be taken seriously must dress and act with the utmost professionalism.
This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Peru Guide.