The workforce in Nicaragua is young and dynamic, mainly because 75 percent of the population is under 39 years old and the labor force covers 3.2 million people. Moreover, it is known for being flexible and highly productive, with good work ethics and a great capacity for fast learning.

All these qualities have positioned Nicaragua as one of the most competitive and productive countries in the region, especially in terms of human capital.


The Nicaraguan Government firmly believes that education is the foundation of a country’s economic development, and has thus allocated a significant amount of the national budget to invest in primary, secondary and higher education. Education expenditures, including public Universities, amount to approximately 22 percent of the GDP.

Higher Education

In the country, there were 50 higher education institutions recognized by the National Council of Universities (CNU, for its Spanish acronym) by 2018, which 30 of them has an estimated total enrollment of over 135,664 students, according to an independent study carried out by PRONicaragua. Additionally, there is a university certified by the United States of America and three bilingual university programs.

By 2018, out of the 135,664 students enrolled in the already established universities by the National Council of Universities, there were 39,070 students enrolled in the area of business and economics, 28,159 in engineering and architecture, 22,562 in medicinal sciences, 21,248 in the area of education, 9,362 in agriculture, 7,636 in the area of politics and law and 7,627 in other areas of studies.

INCAE Business School, a prestigious regional business school affiliated with Harvard University, is located on the outskirts of Managua. The institute is ranked as number one in Latin America and trains experts in international management, ready to offer its services to excellent companies.

English Skills

Although the official language of Nicaragua is Spanish, English is increasingly popular. Public and private academic institutions have started to provide more classes in English, given the high demand for this language. It has become evident the great value added that the language provides to the employees

According to a study carried out by PRONicaragua about the Spanish and English speaking population, the interest of the Nicaraguan population in speaking English as a second language is growing fast. The results of the study showed that in 2016, there were almost 22,558 students learning English in public and private language centers; furthermore, almost 4,844 students successfully completed the study program. In addition to the population in public and private language centers, there were 319 students enrolled in bilingual secondary schools, 3,157 students from language centers and 1,387 students from national universities.

Labor Force

Nicaragua's population is characterized as flexible, with good work habits, fast learners, and low rates of absenteeism and turn over. This has allowed Nicaragua to be one of the most competitive and productive nations of the region in terms of human capital. According to the Nicaragua Central Bank figures, the country’s labor force is stood in 3.2 million.

Working hours

  • Day shift: Work undertaken between six in the morning and eight at night is considered a day shift. Regular day shift hours are 8 working hours daily for a 48-hour work week. Additional work must be compensated as overtime.
  • Night shifts: Work undertaken between eight at night and six in the morning of the following day is considered a night shift. Regular night shift hours are 7 working hours daily for a 42-hour work week. Additional work must be compensated as overtime.
  • Combination day-night shifts: A combined work shift is 7.5 hours per day for a 45-hour workweek. Additional work must be compensated as overtime.
  • Overtime: Work outside regular working hours is always considered overtime. According to the National Labor Code, overtime is paid double the amount stipulated for regular working hours. A maximum of 3 hours beyond regular hours may be worked, not exceeding a total of 9 hours per week.

For more info, download the University Population Study