Employers in Costa Rica reported cautious optimism in their hiring plans for the fourth quarter of this year, according to the latest Employment Outlook Survey released Tuesday by consultant group Manpower.
Nineteen percent of employers said they expected to increase their staff in the coming months, while 6 percent said they planned to reduce their staff. That represents a Net Employment Outlook of 13 percent for the quarter (12 percent when adjusting for seasonal differences). Net Employment Outlook is the difference between the percentage of employers with plans to add employees and the percentage with plans to decrease employees.
The Net Employment Outlook is down 1 percentage point from the previous quarter, but up 8 percentage points compared to the same period last year.
Two-thirds of employers surveyed said they planned to maintain their staff at current levels.
“As they have throughout most of this year, employers in the construction sector reported the strongest hiring intentions,” Ana Gabriela Chaverri, Manpower’s Costa Rica manager, said at the study presentation.
Compared to the previous quarter, hiring expectations improved in two of the six productive sectors — construction, and communications and transportation — while expectations decreased in four sectors. In an annual comparison, however, five sectors show improved figures.
The study noted that opportunities for job seekers should grow by the end of the year, as employers, mostly in the tourism sector, are anticipating a boost in hiring. “This likely is caused by recent news of upcoming openings and expansion of air routes from Mexico, Canada, the U.S. and Europe,” Chaverri said.
Employers in all regions of the country predict an increase in hiring during the quarter, and current hiring prospects are improved over the same time last year in all regions.
The strongest hiring market for the rest of this year is anticipated to be in Heredia, where employers reported a Net Employment Outlook of 18 percent. The province has maintained that lead in recent years.
The Net Employment Outlook in Alajuela and in the Puntarenas-Limón region —comprising two coastal areas — is 17 percent. Employers in Cartago also reported good figures with a positive expectation of 16 percent. On the flip side, San José and Guanacaste recorded the lowest Net Employment Outlooks, at 9 and 5 percent, respectively.
Heredia’s positive figures come mainly from the export manufacturing sector while prospects for the mega-port project in Limón are driving the growth in hiring intentions in the coastal region.
A recent boost in the construction of malls and housing developments is responsible for improving the hiring outlook in Alajuela, which recorded an 8 percent of hiring expectation.
Chaverri said large companies continue to dominate the positive hiring outlook, “however, employers in medium, small and micro-sized enterprises are also increasing their [hiring] intentions and are catching up with large companies,” said Chaverri.