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Excerpted from the Nicaragua Career Guide

General Trends

Nicaragua, the second-poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, has a small economy and nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line. Underemployment and unemployment are also common. Despite these challenges, the country has experienced a decade of economic stability and continues to make improvements to the infrastructure and business environments. It has also reduced extreme poverty by nearly 8 percent over the past decade.

Employment Outlook

Nicaragua has Central America and the Caribbean’s highest rate of employment in the region. The unemployment rate is a relatively low 6.6 percent, although it has been increasing for young people aged 20 to 24. The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Nicaragua second in the region for labor market stability. There is, however, a large informal labor market; only about a quarter of the labor force is active in the formal labor market.

Areas of Job Promise

By Sector

Business outsourcing:  Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) and Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) are bright spots. Over a recent five-year period, business services created nearly 6,000 jobs. Call/contact centers in particular are one of the fastest-growing industries, creating more than 4,500 office jobs for bilingual youth in recent years, and the industry continues to expand.

Energy: Renewable sources such as thermal, geothermal, hydroelectric, wind and biomass account for 52 percent of energy sources. Nicaragua is working to attract billions in investment to finance several renewable energy projects over the next fifteen years, including hydroelectric, solar and geothermal. The country aims to make renewables 90 percent of energy sources by 2020.

Salaries

Salaries are uneven. Three out of ten workers earn an average monthly salary of 2,659 NIO, which is sufficient for almost a quarter of the basic basket of goods. Financial services salaries are the only ones that can completely cover the basic basket. Mining salaries cover about 90 percent.

Real wages in the formal sector have been rising, however; last year they increased by nearly 3 percent. Inflation is currently at 6.43 percent and has been rising over the past year.

This is just a sample of what you'll find in the complete Nicaragua guide.



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