From driver to manager

When Julião Saique joined Maersk Line in 2003, his job was to drive the finance manager through Luanda’s chaotic traffic. Just over a decade later, he still has to battle through the streets of Angola’s capital, but now he does it to reach his office as accounts receivable manager.

Julião Saique at his office in Luanda, Angola.

Julião Saique touches the accelerator pedal and carefully nudges his car into a gap in the heavy Luanda traffic.

“Traffic in Luanda is terrible,” says Saique, who was a driver when he joined Maersk Line. “You have to be very patient and also focus on the street. Everyone wants to be early at work, so it’s like first come, first served. “

His talent and ambition quickly shone through, and just over a decade later he is the accounts receivable manager for Angola. However, he still has to find a way through the notorious traffic every morning and evening.

“The only job available was as a driver. I said ok, I’ll go – why not? So I started driving the finance manager, taking him from home to work, and dealing with bank issues and delivering letters.”

The right attitude

Angola’s economy has boomed in the 13 years since the end of its civil war thanks to its oil revenues. Now, the country needs people like Saique to advance their education, skills and experience to help reinforce its growth and development.

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Saique had left Angola during its decades-long civil war to attend high school in neighbouring Namibia. As the situation at home improved, he knew he had to go back. The problem was there were so few opportunities for work.

By seizing this opportunity and showing his skills and motivation, Saique was in a good position to rise through the ranks. He became a finance assistant within a year of joining Maersk Line and went through university while working. He trained in accounting and payables, visiting Denmark and India as he progressed.

“Julião is talented, keen to learn and has a strong work ethic – and his example shows what people can achieve with the right attitude,” says Claudio Marcos Rosa, Maersk Line’s country manager for Angola. “We are glad to provide training and advancement opportunities to help the right people make the right progress in their careers, for the benefit of both of themselves and the company.”

Since returning to Angola, Saique has married, had three kids – the oldest born just a few months before he joined Maersk and now 12 – and has settled again in his homeland.

“You are the one who has to show the initiative. Then management and everyone else will be willing to help you, as long as you know exactly what you want, where you want to be,” Saique says.

“It’s a company where one can make a career and grow. Not all companies can give you this opportunity, especially in our country.”