The Impossible Costa Rica

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.

Friday, February 13, 2015


An article in 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. "

In these cloudy days of the Costa Rican economy, experts point to - depending on their area of expertise - various causes of these bad times, and forecasts are dreamt up using analysis of decisions made by the Federal Reserve of the United States, and whether Greece will leave the Euro, passing through the smoke with which the Central Bank of Costa Rica applies its exchange rate management and always longing for Intel and crying over its departure.

What's weird is that these experts do not indicate structural problems affecting the Costa Rican economy, especially the relative loss of competitiveness, even at the regional level, of its workforce, not only because, as expressed by the Minister for Work - their qualifications are not suitable for the chosen development model, but because the labor market is totally distorted by wage policy, or lack thereof, on the part of the state, which pays much higher wages than the productive sector can afford.

The development model followed by Costa Rica should be underpinned by a constant effort to improve the educational system, which even though it consumes a relatively small percentage of GDP is not currently up to scratch for generating the skills needed in the country's workforce.

More on this topic

Workforce Automation: More Threat Than Opportunity

December 2018

Although new jobs will emerge, technological changes will have a strong impact in the Central American region, where there is a high proportion of jobs with a high risk of automation.

According to forecasts made by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in 2018 it was estimated that 75% of workers in Guatemala and El Salvador are in high-risk automation jobs.

Jobs Fall Due to Slower Economic Pace

June 2015

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 details the results obtained from the Talent Shortage Survey conducted by Manpower, noting that "...

Costa Rica: 50% of Companies Cant Find Technical Talent

April 2015

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.

Shortage of Qualified Labor in Guatemala

November 2010

Employers indicate greater difficulty in finding skilled labor.

According to a study by Manpower, 36% of surveyed employers revealed difficulties this year in getting qualified employees, while in 2009 the figure was 20%.

"The immediate problem is not the number of potential candidates, but rather the shortage of talent, because not enough people are sufficiently qualified," published.