What are the hiring trends in Costa Rica?

The job losses caused by the COVID pandemic hit everyone hard, but nowhere was it felt more acutely than in Latin America. In the case of Costa Rica, the unemployment rate shot up to 24 percent during the height of the pandemic. However, Costa Rica has implemented measures to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic, such as support for businesses and the implementation of temporary employment programs. In addition, the country has promoted economic reactivation through investment in infrastructure and the promotion of key sectors such as sustainable tourism, agriculture and technology.

If you plan to open a business in Costa Rica and hire employees there, learn about some of the advantages of living in this destination.

With a +35 percent ranking, Costa Rica is second only to Panama (+39 percent) in terms of employers who plan to hire new employees in Q1 this year, according to a recently-released study by Manpower Group. The study looked at the hiring prospects of 41 countries and territories and asked employers about how staffing levels will change during the first quarter of 2023. The Central American neighbors took the top-two spots, with the highest anticipated net positive outlook. So, when it comes to hiring trends in Costa Rica, employment prospects have never been brighter. 

For foreign investors, entrepreneurs and companies that want to get in on the hiring frenzy and incorporate in the country, it’s best they follow the proper channels, seek the services of local experts, and even consider contacting a resident agent in Costa Rica to ensure all their legal bases are covered. 

Technology-related roles will continue to be the main driver of demand globally, according to the Manpower study. This rings true for hiring trends in Costa Ric.

The sectors seeking to increase their staffing numbers include:

  • IT/Technology.
  • Real Estate & Financial.
  • Operations and Logistics.
  • Manufacturing.
  • Communication Services.
  • Office Administration.
  • Customer Service.
  • Human Resources.

Costa Rica still has large and flourishing sectors in the “traditional” economy, namely agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. But in the so-called “Industry 4.0” economy – the Costa Rican IT and technology sector is seeing explosive growth and is pushing hiring trends in Costa Rica among young professionals.

Why has the small Central American country become a magnet for foreign investment and large tech companies domiciling there? 

Hiring trends in Costa Rica: Why is the country a tech hub?

  • Well-educated workforce.
  • High level of English proficiency.
  • FDI in the country’s tech sector.
  • Tech talent at a fraction of the cost.
  • Time zone alignment with North America.

Let’s have a more detailed look at the above list as to why Costa Rica has become a success-story in the IT/tech sector.

Top 5 reasons why IT/tech is driving hiring trends in Costa Rica

The top 5 reason why IT is driving hiring trends in Consta Rica are:

  1. Highly-educated labor pool.
  2. High fluency in English.
  3. Strong FDI in the tech sector.
  4. Lower labor/staffing costs.
  5. Similar time zones to North America.

1. Highly-educated labor pool

Perhaps the principal reason why hiring trends in Costa Rica remain so robust. The country is known for having the best education system in the region, meaning young tech professionals are highly educated. In terms of tech skills, Costa Rican software developers are ranked among the best in the world.

2. High fluency in English 

For foreign companies that incorporate in the Central American nation – or companies that hire tech talent to work on projects remotely – there’s little need to involve a translator. That’s because Costa Rica ranks second in all of Latin America in terms of English-speaking ability.

3. Strong FDI in the tech sector 

Costa Rica’s business-friendly Free Trade Zones have seen 20 companies on the Fortune 100 list – such as Intel, IBM, HP and others invest heavily in the Central American nation. These firms encourage high school and university students to pursue careers in the IT/technology field. 

What Costa Ricans have talent in by Biz Latin Hub on an article about Hiring trends in Costa Rica
Opportunities in Costa Rica: Hiring trends in Costa Rica are shaped by what its workforce does

4. Lower labor/staffing costs

Cost savings is, after all, why US companies are looking to Latin America in general, and Costa Rica in particular, for tech talent. For what it costs to hire a software developer in the US, companies can hire 3 software developers in the country. Keeping labor costs low is another main driver of hiring trends in Costa Rica.

5. Similar time zones to North America

Costa Rica’s time zone is the same as Central Time in the US for six months of the year; the other six months it’s just one hour behind. This means that US-based tech teams can teleconference with their Costa Rican counterparts at roughly the same time of the work day.

Salaries in Costa Rica

Salaries in Costa Rica vary greatly depending on the occupation and sector. On average, the minimum monthly wage for workers in Costa Rica is around 450,200 CRC (Costa Rican Colónes), which is equivalent to approximately $750 USD. However, this minimum wage can be higher depending on the sector and geographic location.

The cost of living in Costa Rica is relatively lower compared to developed countries, such as the United States or Western Europe. Hence, the salaries in Costa Rica may be lower in comparison. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Costa Rica offers a high quality of life and many benefits, such as affordable healthcare and education, beautiful natural scenery, and a stable political and economic environment.

Recruitment facts by Biz latin Hub on an article about Hiring trends in Costa Rica
Opportunities in Costa Rica: Knowing everything there is to know on recruitment is beneficial if you’re thinking about hiring trends in Costa Rica

Biz Latin Hub can help you

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

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

As well as knowledge about hiring trends in Costa Rica, our portfolio of services includes hiring & PEO accounting & taxation, company formation, bank account opening, and corporate legal services.

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

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

Hiring trends in Costa Rica. Biz Latin Hub can help you find the best talent

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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