San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Third of Businesses Looking for Workers

It’s a good moment to look for a job in Costa Rica.
According to a survey carried out by human resources company Manpower, more than a third of the country’s businesses intend to hire this quarter.
Some of those companies, however, may have a tough time. High-tech employees are in short supply, according to the director of the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) and to a study on the supply of trained network administrators released at the Omar Dengo Foundation on Thursday.
The Manpower study surveyed 620 employers in all regions of the country. The provinces of Alajuela, Heredia and Guanacaste show the strongest plans for hiring, while San José shows the weakest,with only 29% of employers looking to hire.
Construction (42%), services (39%) and retail (39%) continue to show the strongest intentions to hire, while livestock and mineral extraction looks to have a weak quarter, with 13% of companies surveyed saying they intend to make cuts.
Likewise, only 25% of manufacturing companies said they would hire during the first quarter, more than 10 points below average. Overall, 5% of companies surveyed said they planned to cut employment this quarter.
Even if 37% of employers are looking to hire this quarter, they might not be able to find qualified (and unemployed) candidates.
CINDE Director Gabriela Llobet said earlier this month that in 2006, the country only graduated half as many technicians and engineers as the market required.
The study released at the Omar Dengo Foundation and conducted by technology company Cisco finds that there is a serious “digital gap” between the number of network administrators the country needs and the number it can supply.
According to 104 interviews carried out at tech companies, Costa Rica has a shortage of more than 1,500 network professionals, a number that will increase to 2,000 by 2010 if nothing changes.
“(The study) puts on record the things we’ve been seeing for years,” said Clotilde Fonseca, the foundation’s director.
Regionally, Costa Rica outstrips most of its neighbors both in the number of businesses looking to hire this quarter and in the disparity between the number of network professionals it needs and the number it has, according to the Manpower and Cisco studies.

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