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Report: 60.6% of Puerto Rico employers require computer skills

The Puerto Rico Labor Department’s most recent Skills and Occupations in Highest Demand report revealed that 60.6% of employers are looking to recruit people who have computer skills and commitment to the company (49.1%).

The report, which surveyed employers during the period between April 2020 and March 2021, also revealed that employers want their recruits to have communications skills (34.7%), aptitude in math (24.4%), critical thinking (21%); computers (17.2%); Spanish (14.7%) and English (11%).

“It will be very interesting to be able to compare this report, which corresponds to the critical period of the pandemic, with the one to be published in December 2023 and which covers the period of economic resurgence that we are experiencing in Puerto Rico,” Labor Secretary Gabriel Maldonado said.

The tasks or activities most required by employers from the most recent employee hired during the period analyzed, and the percentage of employers that required it are to follow schedules (77.7%); talk to clients (71.7%), work in a group or team (67.9%); handle assigned priorities (63%), and basic math (56.5%).

About 43% of the employers surveyed said they recruited at least one employee between April 2020 and March 2021. About 28.9% of the recruited employees were not required to have any specific education level, although 34.2% of the most recent hires had a high school diploma or its equivalent. Meanwhile, 22.5% had a college bachelor’s degree.

The over-qualification rate, which is equivalent to the percentage of the most recently recruited employees with a level of education higher than that required by the position, was 42.6%. At the industry level, those with the highest over-qualification rates were the information sectors (85.4%) and accommodation and food services (74.7%). They are followed by transportation and storage (60.2%), agriculture and mining (55%), and finance and insurance (51.9%).

Meanwhile, the occupations with the highest demand among the most recent hires were retail salespeople (11.3%), cashiers (5.2%), customer service representatives (5.1%), fast food workers and counter clerks (4.9%) and medical secretaries (4.2%).

Regarding the occupations that recruited employees with less than a bachelor’s degree, retail sales (13%) and fast-food workers and counter clerks (6.8%) stand out. As for those who recruited personnel with a bachelor’s degree or higher, retail sales (6.9%), medical secretaries and administrative assistants (6.3%) stood out.

As for the occupations with the highest recruitment with a level of education required by the employer, graduate nurses ranked first (7.3%), followed by executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants (6.9%), accountants and auditors (6.7%), medical and clinical laboratory technologists (5.1%), and lawyers (3.9%).

The new report showed that the hiring rate, or the percentage of all employees who were recruited for that period, stood at 3.9%, an increase of 1.7 percentage points compared to the previous period that ended in March 2020 (2.2%).

As for the percentage of employees who were separated from their jobs — either by dismissal, layoff, resignation, retirement, or death — it was set at 2.6%, which represents a decrease of 1.6 percentage points when compared to the previous period (4.2%).

Meanwhile, the part-time employment rate, or the percentage of employees who worked less than 28 hours a week, stood at 13.7%. This represents a drop of 4.6 percentage points when compared to the previous period (18.3%).

Finally, the vacancy rate, defined as the number of positions that were available at the time of answering the survey as a percentage of total employment, was 10%. About 30.1% of employers who answered the survey said they had vacant positions. Of these, 89.9% faced difficulties in filling them.

The most difficult occupations to fill were food preparation workers, retail sales employees, fast-food workers and counter clerks, their direct supervisors, customer service representatives, janitors and cleaners, farm workers, dental assistants, technicians and auto mechanics, and wholesale representatives and manufactured goods, except technical and scientific products.

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

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