Labor Market Distortions in Costa Rica

Differences have been reported of up to one thousand percent in the salaries of staff performing identical functions in state universities.

Friday, December 19, 2014


A study by the deputy Otto Guevara, according to a report by, confirms the distortion generated by the wage policy of the Costa Rican public sector in the labor market in the country.

Through remuneration systems that favor the stability of the employee and reward the simple continuity in a post beyond the adequacy with which tasks are executed, it is possible that even within the same institution one driver of a light vehicle can receive $300 a month, while another one earns $3,750.

Other cases mentioned in the article by include:

"...In the State Distance University (UNED), while one secretary earns $152 another gets more than $4300. "

"... One janitor at the University of Costa Rica (UCR) earns a salary of more than $2,400, while another janitor who performs the same functions, earns only $74. "

The differences noted "... are due to the benefits the workers have and are centered mostly around annuities."

More on this topic

Costa Rica: Minimum Wage Increases 3%

October 2018

The increase will apply to the private sector from January 1st, 2019, and will continue throughout the year, applying to all salary categories.

The representatives of the National Wage Council reported that after analyzing the proposals presented, the minimum wage adjustment was unanimously approved on October 24th.

Legal But Improper Appropiation

March 2016

Using its corporate power and taking advantage of the power vacuum that is afflicting the State, a public university in Costa Rica is paying first world salaries, exacerbating the inequality that exists between Costa Ricans and severely distorting the labor market.


The State is Distorting the Labor Market

April 2015

In Costa Rica civil servants earn on average 150% more than workers in the private sector, which contributes decisively to the growth of inequality and lowers the overall competitiveness of human resources.


An article in reveals the wide gap between the hiring procedures and salaries between private companies and the State.

Corporativism of Public Sector in Costa Rica

February 2014

Costa Rican government employees earn up to 50% more than their peers in the private sector, and they have announced marches and strikes because they want to earn even more.


In Costa Rica, a country of 4.5 million inhabitants of which 20% live in poverty, there are 1,600 government officials whose monthly salaries are over $10,000, some reaching up to $70,000 a month.

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