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ManpowerGroup survey: 83% of Puerto Rico’s employers struggling to hire

Staffing firm ManpowerGroup released its most recent employment outlook survey (MEOS) for the second quarter of 2023, highlighting that the net employer hiring outlook in Puerto Rico is of 26%, the same as reported for the first quarter of 2023, ManpowerGroup for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic’s general manager, Melissa Rivera-Roena, said at an event in which reporters, and private and public sector representatives where present.

The most recent edition of the MEOS also highlighted an increase in hiring intentions among employers in Puerto Rico, but 83 percent of them are having difficulties hiring talent, Rivera noted.

Forty-three percent of employers surveyed in Puerto Rico said they plan to hire new personnel, a 2% increase from the first quarter.

The survey — which included a sample size of 1,000 employers — showed that 43% are planning for their workforce to grow between April and June, while 37% do not expect any changes, 17% expect a reduction in staff, and 3% don’t know. The most competitive sector in Puerto Rico is communication services, with a hiring outlook of 70% for this year’s second quarter.

Rivera further noted that, for this quarter, “the most competitive sector in Puerto Rico is communication services, with a hiring outlook of 70%,” an 8% increase from the previous quarter. Globally, Puerto Rico is in fourth place in this statistic, exceeding the global average by 37 percentage points, she said.

“The ManpowerGroup survey reveals that Puerto Rico remains stable regarding hiring outlooks when compared to the global average because it is ranked 19th, but at the same time, it is ranked fifth in difficulties in hiring talent, with an 83%,” Rivera said. “Our recommendation as hiring experts is that it is fundamental for employers to begin to reassess their strategies in order to be more successful.”

Furthermore, Puerto Rico is ranked third at a global level in the health and life sciences sectors, with each one at 42%, exceeding the global average by 18 percentage points.

The strongest hiring outlook is expected to be among small businesses, or those with some 10 to 49 employees, at 45%.

The survey further highlights that the most active job markets are expected to be in the north, south and west regions of the island. The central and metropolitan regions have lower hiring intentions, the survey adds.

Meanwhile, ManpowerGroup’s president for Latin America, Mónica Flores-Barragán, said the “region leads net hiring outlooks at a global level, particularly Panamá (41%), Costa Rica (38%), and Guatemala (38%). Only Argentina is showing less optimistic signs (16%), but its results continue to be positive.”

In 2023, four out of five employers, or 77% of employers at a global level, reported having difficulties in finding the talent they need. This represents an increase of 2 percentage points from the previous year and double the amount since 2015 (38%).

“In the Latin America region, the talent shortage is 71%, which means that seven out of 10 employers are having difficulties finding the talent they need,” Flores-Barragán said.

Most sought-after positions
This is the first year for which the difficulty of finding talent has been measured on the island. The results are that 83% of employers are reporting difficulties finding the personnel they need.

Employers in Puerto Rico are primarily seeking candidates for positions in reception and customer service; environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors; risk management, consulting and governance; information technology (IT) and data analysis; management and support in offices; as well as sales and marketing.

“As all of life’s aspects become more technological, human strengths stand out in the digital age. The most in-demand soft skills in Puerto Rico are collaboration and teamwork, problem solving, creativity and originality, leadership and social influence, and critical thinking and analysis,” Flores-Barragán explained.

In addition, when facing a shortage of talent, training and professional development “are fundamental tools to maintain and adapt” the talent that is ready for the future of employment, the executive added.

The survey has been conducted in an independent manner since 1962 and it has a global scope (with a presence in 41 countries). This is the third time the survey was carried out in Puerto Rico, with a sample size that has increased each quarter, reaching 1,000 employers in latest edition.

Among the questions employers are asked are whether they expect to expand or reduce their workforce for the next quarter. The survey is conducted via email. Survey participants do not come from ManpowerGroup’s client base, but rather from a diverse group of database providers who have contacts in the management of businesses that represent all industries, business sizes and specific regions of each country to ensure that a there is a good combination of answers from all kinds of businesses. The survey was carried between January and March.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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