Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

An Overview of Current Career and Employment Services in Puerto Rico

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

An Overview of Current Career and Employment Services in Puerto Rico

Article excerpt

Puerto Rico [Figure 1] was visited by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and was under Spanish rule until it was ceded to the United States in 1898 following the Spanish American War. It is a commonwealth of the United States. All indigenous inhabitants over the age of 18 years are considered as U.S. citizens, but do not vote in U.S. presidential elections. The country has a population of almost 4 million people. It has a very dynamic economy compared to most other countries in the Caribbean. The industrial sector has become the center of economic activity. U.S. minimum wage laws apply in Puerto Rico. Distribution of jobs by industry sector is shown in Figure 2.

Other important sectors include: Tourism, Government, Communications, Transportation and Import-Export. An estimated 1.2 million people are employed in Puerto Rico. The unemployment rate in Puerto Rico fluctuates from 12-14 per cent. The workforce breakdown by gender is approximately 55 per cent male and 45 per cent female.

Entrepreneur distribution in Puerto Rico is 80 per cent male and 20 per cent female. Sixty percent of small businesses generate 1- 4 jobs and 97 per cent of Puerto Rico's commercial entities are considered small businesses. A great economic impact is being felt by the elimination of the 936 section, which provides tax exemptions to manufacturing companies in Puerto Rico. The full phase out will take 10 years and it is very probable that alternatives will be created prior to the elimination of 936 section to maintain jobs/companies in Puerto Rico. Options such as a co-op workforce are being discussed with neighboring countries like the Dominican Republic. This collaboration would provide additional advantages related to sharing employment opportunities in the Caribbean region.

Employment and Recruiting Agencies

There are approximately 55 agencies in Puerto Rico, which provide the following services: temporary staffing, outsourcing, outplacement, direct placement, managed programs, project management, training & development, consulting and incentives. Most fees vary per placement, but general executive search fees range from 15 to 35 per cent per cent of candidate's salary. Of the total number of agencies, some are international such as MRI and Adecco. Others are local such as J. Palacios & Associates. Some offer only specific services to clients, such as accounting firms that specialize in the financial sector and only recruit accounting and finance personnel. Most are members of professional associations such as: SHRM, NAPS, NRA and others. There are a considerable amount of certified recruiters from different professional organizations, which provide added value as well.

Internet-Based Recruiting

Although most job seekers use the newspaper to seek their job, Internet use is reflected in Puerto Rico at a rate of 10 to 12 per cent of people hired. In Puerto Rico most companies are still focused on traditional methods of recruiting such as use of agencies and newspaper advertising, but are slowly adapting to the new technologies available to them.

Career Fairs

Most companies use career fairs to recruit employees and target prospects for their organizations. They are usually held at hotels unless they have a local office, in which they then hold their fair in their offices. Usually these receive a good quantity of publicity and can be co-sponsored by some industry companies.

Government Programs available to employers

Administracion de Rehabilitacion Vocacional - Available throughout the whole island. Main focus is to provide education to candidates who will fill positions, placements, and orientations for companies who employ handicapped people and safety counseling. Provides salary incentives for employers.

Consorcios W.I.A. (Formerly J.T.P.A.)

There are seven regional offices of Consoricios in Puerto Rico, which have been designated by the governor to administer Federal Funds of the 1998 W. …

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