Panama Needs More Flexible Labor Market

Laws restricting the recruitment of foreign personnel are obstacles to competitiveness and development.

Monday, May 7, 2012

In Panama, only 10% of staff may be foreign. According to some economists and managers, this reduces the competitiveness of financial sector companies.

When consulted, the economist Ruben Lachman said the laws that establish the 10% limit are a burden. "It's an absurd law. There should be no limitation. If people come to produce and work for Panama, what is the problem? ", said Lachman to

Private banking is facing a shortage of qualified personnel for certain positions, which has led to a situation of "theft of talent", high staff turnover, and higher salary offers in order to attract qualified individuals.

According to Roberto Brenes, manager of the Panama Stock Exchange, in sectors such as banking, technology, tourism and logistics there should be expanded quotas.

"And not in order to bring over manual laborers, but executives who would enhance these areas. Sitting around waiting for Panama to generate resources through training is missing an opportunity. These limitations of the 10% quotas are starting to make the financial sector less competitive," said the executive.

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