Hiring Trends in El Salvador

El Salvador is not without its problems. It has persistently high levels of poverty, unemployment, gang violence (including a controversial government crackdown on gangs), and higher levels of people working in the informal economy. President Nayib Bukele’s grand vision of boosting the economy with Bitcoin collapsed after the “great cryptocurrency crash” in May 2022. So when we consider hiring trends in El Salvador, it must be grounded in this reality.

Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom in the tiny Central American country. In 2021, El Salvador’s economic growth rebounded 10.2 percent after a pandemic-induced decline, boosted by overseas remittances and exports. What’s more, El Salvador’s GDP grew 2.4 percent in 2022, and is expected to grow 1.8 percent in 2023 and 1.6% in 2024.

So what are the prospects for hiring trends in El Salvador heading into the new year? There are encouraging signs in the realm of employment. El Salvador’s private sector added 64,492 jobs from January to August 2022, up by 11 percent during the same period in 2021, according to at least one news report. In 2022, the sectors that saw the highest job growth were in manufacturing, services, commerce, restaurants, hotels, and construction, the report added. In 2023, however, the sectors that showed significant growth were construction, technology, financial services, and tourism, which are expected to continue to be the most prominent sectors in 2024.

For companies, entrepreneurs, and investors looking for opportunities in an often-overlooked market, the conditions might be right for them to consider El Salvador. But just like any new and unfamiliar jurisdiction, a good rule of thumb is to find a reputable legal representative in El Salvador before making any major financial decisions. 

Graphic on services exported by El Salvador on an article on hiring trends in el salvador
Hiring trends in El Salvador are shaped by its exported services

Hiring trends in El Salvador: Largest sectors 

What follows are the largest official industries in El Salvador and how much they contribute to the nation’s annual GDP (2022):

  • Services: 59.6%
  • Manufacturing: 25.2%
  • Agriculture: 4.7%

You may have noticed that the above percentages only add up to 89.5 percent, and as strange as it sounds, those figures are probably too high. That’s because for all the El Salvador economic data out there, the more respectable, independent sources say that money sent from abroad (aka, foreign remittances) makes up 25 percent of El Salvador’s annual GDP

Some 2 million Salvadoran immigrants live and work in the United States (accounting for 20 percent of El Salvador’s population) and wire their earnings to their families back home, making foreign money sent from abroad the second-largest “industry” in the country. 

In El Salvador, the only real hiring trends to speak of are reserved for the tiny class of educated elite who haven’t fled the country. If there’s one glimmer of hope, it’s in a sub-section of the services sector known as business process outsourcing (BPO). 

More than 70 foreign companies have outsourced the bulk of their operations to El Salvador, and is a growing industry that employs more than 30,000 people, according to the organization Invest El Salvador, whose website seeks to attract foreign business to the country.

What types of BPO companies have relocated their operations to the small Central American nation?

  • Call centers
  • Customer service centers
  • Back-office customer support
  • PEO services companies 
  • Marketing/advertising providers
  • HR/payroll service providers
  • Translation companies
  • Virtual assistants for SMEs
  • Desktop app/website builders
  • Employment recruiters

The Invest El Salvador website claims the country boasts a labor force of 3 million workers (does that include the 2 million-strong diaspora?) 55 percent of whom are under the age of 40. With the young, energetic labor force that’s renowned for its work ethic – coupled with a growing economy and relatively low rate of inflation – we can expect hiring trends in El Salvador to improve in 2024.

graphic by biz latin hub on the distribution of linkedin users in el salvador for an article on hiring trends in el salvador
A large portion of the country’s young workforce is in LinkedIn. This is important in Hiring Trends in El Salvador

Hiring trends in El Salvador: Labor force a growing asset

What follows are some of the benefits of incorporating a business and hiring workers in El Salvador:

  • A hard-working, industrious workforce
  • A growing talent pool of young, enthusiastic workers
  • World-class technical/skilled trade schools
  • Government assistance for on-the-job training
  • Good employer-employee relationships 

If you’re one of those types of business owners and/or investors who can look at El Salvador and see a diamond in the rough, then setting up shop in the jurisdiction might be right for you – in 2024 and beyond.

Biz Latin Hub can help you with hiring trends in El Salvador

At Biz Latin Hub, we provide integrated market entry and back-office services throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with offices in San Salvador, as well as over a dozen other major cities in the region. We also have trusted partners in many other markets.

Our unrivaled reach means we are ideally placed to support multi-jurisdiction market entries and cross border operations.

As well as knowledge about hiring trends in El Salvador, our portfolio of services includes hiring & PEO accounting & taxation, company formation, and corporate legal services.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can assist you in finding talent, or otherwise do business in Latin America and the Caribbean.

If this article on hiring trends in El Salvador was of interest to you, check out the rest of our coverage of the region. Or read about our team and expert authors.

Key services offered by Biz Latin Hub. Hiring Trends in El Salvador

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Craig Dempsey
Craig Dempsey

Craig is a seasoned business professional in Latin America. He is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Biz Latin Hub Group that specializes in the provision market entry and back office services. Craig holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, with honors and a Master's Degree in Project Management from the University of New South Wales. Craig is also an active board member on the Australian Colombian Business Council, and likewise also active with the Australian Latin American Business Council.

Craig is also a military veteran, having served in the Australian military on numerous overseas missions and also a former mining executive with experience in various overseas jurisdictions, including, Canada, Australia, Peru and Colombia.

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