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ManpowerGroup survey: Puerto Rico employers struggling to hire workers

Puerto Rico has risen to the ninth position among the jurisdictions with the highest net hiring intentions for the third quarter of the year, but it ranks fifth in terms of difficulties filling vacancies, according to the most recent edition of the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.

Melissa Rivera-Roena, general manager of ManpowerGroup for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, said that, during the previous quarter, the island held the 19th position among the 41 surveyed locations regarding hiring intentions, which means it climbed 10 places during the period from July to September.

Of the employers surveyed, 48% plan to increase their workforce in the third quarter, a 5% increase compared to the second quarter. Thirty-five percent do not plan to make changes, while 13% believe they will reduce their workforce, and 4% still don’t know what they will be doing next quarter. The net trend for hiring intention outlook is 35%, an increase of 9%, the survey showed.

The survey has been conducted independently since 1962 and includes 41 countries. This is the third time it has included Puerto Rico, with a sample size that has increased each quarter, reaching 1,000 employers in this edition.

“Employers in Puerto Rico are telling us that they intend to hire more personnel. However, another recent study revealed that 83% are facing difficulties finding talent with the required skills,” Rivera-Roena said. “This disparity between intention and difficulty in hiring speaks to the need for focusing strategies so that businesses can grow their workforce and have a positive effect on the economy.”

The survey also showed that the health care industry leads the hiring demand with 41%, followed by consumer goods and services at 40%. The transportation, logistics and automotive sectors, along with manufacturing, have a hiring outlook of 38%.

In terms of difficulties finding talent, manufacturing is showing around 93%, followed by communication services at 92%, consumer goods and services at 71%, the health care sector at 65%, and transportation, logistics and automotive at 58%.

In geographical terms, the most active job markets are expected to be in the North, West and metropolitan regions.

The highest hiring outlook is expected to be among medium-sized businesses (50-249 employees) at 45%, and small businesses (10-49 employees) at 44%.

“We’re living in a new era for labor. The priority is to adapt to continuous learning at all levels, starting with top management, establishing new approaches, models and philosophies,” she said.

“The nine economic sectors measured in our survey have positive hiring outlooks this quarter. It’s very important for strategies to be focused because there are many opportunities for those looking for work in Puerto Rico,” said Alberto Alesi, general manager of ManpowerGroup in the regions of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.

“The Latin American region leads global hiring outlooks, particularly Costa Rica (43%), Peru (38%) and Guatemala (35%). Only Argentina appears less optimistic (6%), but its results continue to be positive,” said Mónica Flores-Barragán, president of ManpowerGroup Latin America.

The United States showed an outlook of 35%.

Global talent shortage reaches highest levels in 17 years
In 2023, four out of five employers globally, or 77%, reported difficulties finding the talent they need, an increase of two percentage points when compared to the previous year, and a twofold increase since 2015 (38%), the study showed.

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

“As all aspects of life 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,” she said.

When faced with a talent shortage, training and professional development become fundamental tools to maintain and adapt the talent prepared for the future of work, MIDA said in its media release.

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

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