The workforce in Nicaragua is young and dynamic, mainly because 76 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 country in the region, especially in terms of human capital.
The Government of Nicaragua strongly believes in education as the foundation for the economic development of the country. Therefore, they assign a significant amount of the national budget in order to invest in elementary, secondary, and higher education. Expenses in education, including public universities, amount up to the 21% of the national budget.
Higher and Technical Education
In Nicaragua, there are 56 higher education institutions recognized by the National Council of universities (CNU, for its acronym in Spanish). By 2014, PRONicaragua performed studies with the objective of analyzing the student population. As a result, there were approximately 173,997 enrolled students; 26,233 graduate students (those students that finished successfully their studies, but do not meet the requirements for diploma, such as thesis of exams); and 22,901 graduated students. Additionally, the country has one university accredited in the United States and three bilingual university programs.
Another study made by the agency, shows that there were 30,793 enrolled students in different technical areas. In addition, there were 295,885 people in training. During 2014, 5,089 students graduated from technical careers and 219,214 graduated from training courses.
INCAE Business School, a prestigious regional business school affiliated with Harvard University, is located on the out skirts of Managua. The institute is ranked as number one in Latin America and trains experts in international management, ready to offer its services to world-class companies.
Although the official language of Nicaragua is Spanish, English is increasingly popular. For historical reasons, there is a cultural affinity with the United States; the country is also experiencing the “return of brains and talent” phenomenon, where a large group of people who emigrated in the past had returned to Nicaragua, bringing with them the English language skills and international business experience.
According to a study carried out by PRONicaragua about the Spanish and English speaking population, showed that the interest of Nicaraguan in speaking English as a second language is growing fast. The results of the study showed that in 2014, 2,273 students graduated from different English courses offered by language centers. Likewise, by the end of the first quarter of 2015, there were 10,793 active English students.
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.
According with statistics of the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS for its acronym in Spanish), the number of ensured members have substantially increased in the past few years, going from 471,856 in 2007 to 795,992 in 2015; representing an increase of approximately 69%.
Types of labor days
- 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.
Labor Market Stability
The Economist Intelligence Unit in its 2014 Labor Market Risk Index ranks Nicaragua as the second country in Central America with more stability in its labor market, due to low levels of absenteeism and turn over reported by firms.
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2014.
Note: 100=more risky