QCOSTARICA – Submitting applications, attending job fairs and knocking on doors are all part of the looking for work some 218,000 people who daily are out of work in Costa Rica.
According to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC) – National Institute of Statistics and Census – the jobless rate is 9.5%, growing 0.4% in the past year.
So, it is not uncommon for thousands to apply for the few jobs available. Worse for women, who according to a report by La Nacion can take up to four times more time to find work, over men.
“My son, in three months, found work. I have a year looking (…),” said Clency Arroyo to La Nacion, one of the some 111,000 unemployed women.
The figure exceeds the estimated 107,000 out of work in June, according to the INEC.
For many, finding a job is like playing the lottery, leaving their curriculums at job fairs and companies advertising employment opportunities, then waiting to be called. A call that for the most part never comes.
At the two retail giants in the countr, Walmart and Grupo Monge, combined they received between January and June this year 13,088 job applications, but only 1,195 people were hired.
Walmart says filled1,055 jobs from the 6,000 applications; Grupo Monge hiring 140 of 7,088.
Education is the obstacle. Human resources managers at Walmart and Grupo MOnge say that poor academic preparation as one of the major obstacles in their search for workers.
The majority of those seeking work are unskilled, such as cashiers, security, bakery, butcher, greengrocer, kitchen workers and packers, among others.
“Most people do not have the training or skills necessary,” said Hugo Pereira, CEO of Grupo Monge.
Meanwhile, Yolanda Fernzandez, manager of corporate affairs for Walmart, said they have problems finding workers with some degree of skills.
While job fairs are a part of life for the unemployed, attending one does guarantee work, forcing many into “informal” employment, forced to take jobs waiving labour rights, such as minimum pay and holidays, just to earn the few colones to be able to live daily.