Low Competitiveness and Capital flight

Due to the precariousness of the English language, in recent years’ companies in the Contact Center & BPO sector have decided to close thousands of jobs in the region and relocate their investments to other markets where they have no difficulty in recruiting qualified personnel.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Reports at a global level show that the command of English is one of the weaknesses at a Central American level.

According to the Education First 2020 English Proficiency Index, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are all countries that are classified as "low" English speaking. Costa Rica is the only country that is considered an area where English is "moderately" fluent. See full document.

Not finding the basic conditions to recruit qualified staff, companies have usually gone out to the Dominican Republic, Colombia, the Philippines, Mexico and the United States.

For the region, the main challenge in this area is to invest adequately in human talent training programs, so that the capital that arrives does not face barriers to its operation.

In the case of Guatemala, in the last three years nine companies in the Contact Center & BPO sector have closed 48 thousand jobs and decided to move their operations to other countries.

Ninoshka Linde, manager of Contact Center & BPO of Agexport, told Prensalibre.com that "... this year has been one of the most difficult to attract talent, and the 10 percent growth they will have this year, despite the pandemic, is due to the fact that several workers from the tourism sector moved to the industry, and are qualified in the language."

For his part, Juan Carlos Zapata, executive director of the Foundation for the Development of Guatemala (Fundesa) explained that "... the export sectors on which Guatemala can bet and diversify under current competition and expand the horizon to more sophisticated sectors, as well as establish a minimum coordination to strengthen the country's capacity to promote and attract foreign direct investment."

Services to companies Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), information, technology and subcontracting, are four of the sectors that are considered as sophisticated, which have potential in Guatemala.



More on this topic

Guatemala: Negative Year for the BPO Sector

January 2019

During the last year, Contact Center and BPO service sector exports were estimated at $600 million, 12% less than the $720 million reported the previous year.

Some of the factors influencing the failure to reach the job creation projection include the fact that no English language skills have been generated in young people, and at the time of the forecasts the exchange rate in the country was Q8.2 to one dollar, and now the rate has dropped to Q7.7.

Costa Rica: More Investment in BPO's

May 2017

The company TransPerfect has announced that it will be opening a contact center in Alajuela to provide interpretation and translation services at an international level.

From a press release by Transperfect:

San José, Costa Rica, May 2, 2017 – TransPerfect, the world's largest privately held provider of translation services and technology solutions for global business, today announced the opening of a new contact center in Costa Rica. The facility will seat 120 new employees, most of whom are expected to be new hires from the greater San José area.

Guatemala: 15% Growth in BPO Sector

January 2015

During 2014 the industry for business process outsourcing generated sales of $397 million, an increase of 15% compared to 2013.

From a statement issued by the Guatemalan Exporters Association (-AGEXPORT-):

Entrepreneurs in the IT & BPO sector at AGEXPORT, made up of enterprises working in Software Development, Development and Digital Content, Contact Centers and BPO's, announced that at the close of 2014 there was growth of 15%, positioning Guatemala as emerging market in the industry of outsourcing services.

Good Prospects for Call Center Industry in Guatemala

August 2011

Companies in the sector are predicting the creation of about 42,000 jobs for bilingual staff over the next 3 years in order to meet the needs of the industry.

The projections by executives from the companies 24 / 7 Customer, the Commission for Contact Centers and BPO’s from the Guatemalan Association of Exporters (Agexport), also include the creation of some 15,000 positions for workers who provide services in Spanish.

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