The number of jobs in call center companies fell by 37% between 2012 and 2016, due to the difficulty in finding skilled labor for this activity.
Limited supply of staff with the skills needed to work in a call center and higher wage demands on the part of those who do meet the requirements are some of the reasons behind the reduction in activity in the call center industry in Panama over the last five years.In 2012, 12.643 employees were registered in call center companies, while last year the figure was reduced to 7,900, according to data from the National Authority of Public Services published by Prensa.com.
For the sixth time since 2013 a six month extension has been granted to the suspension on the levying of fines on companies that hire undocumented foreign labor for activities such as agricultural harvesting.
The government announced that in January 2017 it issued a new extension to avoid levying fines on companies in the agricultural sector that employ undocumented foreign workers during the harvest season.
42,000 is the number of estimated positions for professionals and technicians that will become available with the start of major projects such as the construction of the gas terminal in Colon, the fourth bridge over the Canal and the second Metro line.
Statistics from the Ministry of Labour and Development indicate that the largest proportion of the jobs required correspond to technical and unskilled workers, and to a lesser extent, professionals.
The Automotive Mechanics course has been selected to be part of the first pilot plan to implement a dual education system in 2017, in four technical schools in the country.
The Vocational College of Arts and Crafts (Covão) in Cartago as well as the Technical Professional Colleges (CTP in Spanish) Monsignor Sanabria, in Desamparados, Carlos Manuel Vicente in Golfito, and Jesus Ocaña in Alajuela, are the institutions which will be implementing the pilot dual education plan in 2017.
Lack of technically skilled labour is forcing some companies to bear the cost of training their employees.
Food technology and industrial electronics courses haven arisen precisely in response to the needs of the private sector, which increasingly needs employees with technical training.This was explained to Elnuevodiario.com.ni by Berta Mayela Quintanilla, "... Director General of Fundación Victoria, an organization authorized by the Inatec to offer mid-level technical courses."
In Panama four out of ten companies failed to find the ideal candidates when they needed them.
Data from Manpower reveals that worldwide the talent shortage is around 40%, in Colombia it is 50% and in Panama 36%.Monica Flores, president of the group for the region, said that"... 'we have overvalued degrees and university titles, when what is needed today are professionals and specialised technicians'."
The Bebasa Group will oversee the design and construction of the New Life project in the village of Curundú, Panama City, in the amount of $7.5 million.
The Ministry of Housing and Land Management (Miviot) won the contract for $7,581,845.39 for the supply of materials, labor, equipment and administration for studies, designs and construction of the building infrastructure project Nueva Vida, located on Fourth Avenue, in the village of Curundú, Panama District, Panama Province.
Cities far away from the capital which have free zone regimes, labor and are close to ports, are becoming attractive places for businesses.
The characteristics of the so-called "emerging cities" outside of the greater metropolitan area, are mainly being exploited by multinational companies who want to operate under free zone schemes and near port terminals and areas with good road access. Turrialba, Cartago, and Orotina, Alajuela, are two of the locations identified as potential spots for foreign investment, according to the CINDE.
The private sector claims that it is not enough to invest $10 million in the construction of a technical school if the academic programs are not developed considering the staffing needs of the productive sectors.
The problem of a shortage of technically skilled labor in Panamanian companies will not be resolved if educational programs do not take as a starting point the demands of the productive sector.
Panama's improvement in the availability index of skilled labor, does not respond to an increase in supply, but to a drop in demand because of a slowdown in the economy.
An article on Panamaamerica.com.pa details the results obtained from the Talent Shortage Survey conducted by Manpower, noting that "... Panama has reduced its deficit of talent and skilled labor by 12 percentage points during the last year, going from 58% to 46%, however, the causes are not so encouraging, since the reduction is due to a decrease in the search for personnel by companies. "
The communication and technology sector predicts that for the next two years it will hire more technical staff and university graduates than licensed professionals with master's degrees or doctorates.
The need for staff with technical rather than academic skills continues to grow in the field of technology and communications. A study by the Chamber of Information Technology and Communication concludes that only 2% of companies in the technology sector in the country plan to hire professionals with a PhD, while only 32% said they expected to hire graduates.
Companies are struggling to find employees with skills in information technology, programming and networking, electricity, processing and assembly of medical parts.
The Talent Shortage study (2014) by Manpower notes that "... 51% of the 620 Costa Rican employers surveyed said they can not find suitable professionals to perform the tasks required by their company." The main cause, according to the contractors, is lack of technical skills.
The unemployment rate now reaches 10% in a population where 60% of workers have not completed high school, but teachers refuse to be evaluated on their ability in subjects they teach.
An article in Nacion.com cites statements by Victor Morales, Minister of Labour, on the rising unemployment levels in Costa Rica: "...There is a mismatch between supply and demand in the corporate sector. There is a demand for skilled technicians; but most of the Costa Rican labor force is unskilled. 60% have not finished high school; it is a national drama. "
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