The Recruitment Industry in Central America

The Recruitment Industry in Central America

Future Manager Alliance is the first Global player focused on the executive search of young managers. Offering a Global service with Local expertise, this week we will give you insights into the Central American recruitment industry for both companies and candidates.

FMA Central America Area includes the following countries:

  • Messico,
  • Guatemala,
  • Honduras,
  • Belize,
  • El Salvador,
  • Nicaragua,
  • Costa Rica,
  • Panama                                                                                                                                                                  

What defines the Central American Market

The Central America Recruitment industry is currently influenced by the great evolution that the market is experiencing, not only in the labor market, but also in the social environment. Many international companies have opened offices in this area and this consequently brought a high demand for qualified talent. However, due to the fact that Central America is made of developing countries, there is a lack of specialized talent with quantitative skills, especially in the fields of mathematics and IT technology.

For what concerns the soft skills side the most requested are:

  • Flexibility, in order to adapt to the evolving conditions of the market and of the specific country

  • Multitasking, to handle simultaneously more activities

  • Teamwork and Communication (both internal and external)

A second challenge for the local and international players in the market is the type of profile searched: middle and higher management are the most requested people, but there is a scarcity of these profiles.

As the economic market is evolving, companies are evolving as well and they are reshaping their internal and external structure, to meet the new challenges in front of them.
For instance in the past years, the main effort was the client satisfaction, while now companies are starting to understand the importance of improving the working standards of their employees in order to satisfy the client: a satisfied employee will deliver better results than unappreciated employees. This evolution is also due to the necessity to keep employees loyal and for companies to build a strong brand.

The statistics of the recruitment industry show that for most of the companies the turnover rate is around 2.5% with the first cause of change being the salary, followed by the lack of possibilities for professional growth. The first factor is also influenced by the political uncertainty and inflation that makes the possibility of a raise the most important element for changing the job. Nonetheless, professional development, work environment, and quality of working standards are becoming the key features to attract and retain top talent.

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Meet FMA Central America's Area Manager

Josè Valle is the Central America Area Manager. He has been active in FMA since 2017 and he is an expert in the recruitment field for the past 20 years on the central American market.

Why did you decide to join FMA?

Josè: I met Salvatore (FMA President) when he was introduced to me by Jordi Soler (FMA Spain), and I joined because I believe that organizations like FMA are great platforms to exchange best practices and standards. More importantly joining FMA means to have a global positioning in the market, increasing the possibility for business opportunities.

What would you say are the advantages for your clients to use FMA?

Josè: Our clients can have their recruitment needs fulfilled not only in Central America but also worldwide, having local contacts with trustworthy professionals.

Do you have other services other than recruitment?

Josè: We are executive recruiters for the mid and high management in any industry, but we also offer for our clients compensation consultancy.

Could you tell us some differences between your market and the rest of the world?

Josè: In Central America relationships are key; in order to develop business it is fundamental to grow and nurture one’s network of both clients and acquaintances and because relationships come first, negotiations tend to move slowly. Moreover, doing business in person is preferred than over the phone or by email and physical presence is a way to develop the relationships.
Furthermore, the recruitment is not only the person that conducts the search or follows the recruitment process but is also a “coach” for both parties. With the candidates it is common that the recruiter supports and teaches the selected candidates the best way to present himself/herself to the client; with the client the recruiter also acts as a consultant giving him/her advice on the final decision.

Culture is a big factor in global recruitment, what would you say defines your culture and how you approach it as a recruiter?

Josè: We believe that culture, and the respect of the different cultures, is fundamental and in our company we use this knowledge as a competitive advantage.
As mentioned before in Central America relationships are fundamental and this translates that in any recruitment project the first step is building trust in both the client and candidates in order to fluidify the process.
Secondly, for us is very important the culture alignment between the candidate and the company and we work to find the best fit between them: the best candidate for the company and the best opportunity for the candidate.

Jose Valle

José Valle Manchaca -

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Dos and Don'ts - Central America

Must follow rules:
In Central America the must follow rules can be summarize in three main topics:

1) Establish a trust tie among all the parties involved
Creating a relationship with the candidates favors the exchange of information and the recruiters are able to better identify the needs and requirements of the candidates. If the candidates profiles are only based on the professional experience, this will hinder the candidate opportunities. Moreover the ties favors the recruiter to better understand the soft skills of candidates and test them if necessary.
Establishing a relationship with the clients helps the understanding of their expectations and allows to advice them when needed about what is the best decision to make in any point of the recruitment process.
2) Proactive attitude
A proactive attitude improves the execution of the recruitment process and if any problem arise, it will help finding a swift solution.
3) Definition a strategic research of candidates
A research that not only considers the hard and soft skills requested but also considers the organizational culture of the company will be better in finding matching candidates with the client’s expectations. Giving to the candidate a full picture of what the client is able to offer increase the chances that the candidate will take the decision motivated and ready to start with the best foot.

Advice from the expert
There are still companies in the area that focus only on the hark skills of candidates, concentrating on the technical side but our expert, Josè Valle, that has been operating on this market for more than 20 years does not advice to do so.
Considering the candidate as a whole is more suitable to the situation that the area is currently experiencing, where changes are part of everyday life and fluidity and flexibility are becoming essential to operate in the market. Moreover, some hard skills and competences can be developed in the company “on field” with programs of development while some soft skills cannot be simply taught.

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Being a Candidate in Central America

Our FMA Area Manager José Valle, offers his expert advice for the candidates that are looking for a new challenge or interested to learn something new from a specialist in the field.

“In the last years there has been a great evolution in the Central American market and this brought also changes in the way companies recruit and manage their recruitment process. We have seen a raise of the valorisation of the employee, especially in terms of soft skills that are now becoming the most important characteristics of a profile. The new vision of the employee brings the company to invest in talent development and team building. This is also reflected in the most requested skills, which at the moment are:

  • Innovativeness,
  • Business vision,
  • Team Working,
  • analytical skills,
  • integrity;
  • flexibility,
  • Leadership and
  • communication

If the candidate is able to show or even better demonstrate these qualities they will be taken into account in the final evaluation of the person and can make the difference between two candidates with similar hard skills.

Furthermore, as the market is expanding and new multinational companies are now present in the area, this brought the need for new skills and business profiles, such as IT and Engineering. At the present moment there is a great demand of these profiles, a demand that cannot be met due to the lack of qualified talent in these fields.
People lack the computational and mathematical knowledge that the market in this moment demands and this may be a challenge for companies and it is important to know where and in which way this talent can be found and attracted.”
“From the candidate side we are experiencing a shift in expectation and priorities where:
  • professional development,
  • work environment,
  • work-life balance
  • are becoming more relevant and requested from the professionals.

    Future Manager Alliance

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