Why Do Puerto Rican Employers Struggle to Recruit and Retain Talent?

Puerto Rico is in fifth position worldwide for difficulty of recruitment and talent retention, after Taiwan, Germany, Hong Kong and Portugal, according to a study by ManpowerGroup

Puerto Rico
April 11, 2023 | 12:23 PM

Read this story in


Bloomberg Línea — Eighty-three percent of employers are having difficulty hiring talent in Puerto Rico, consulting firm ManpowerGroup shows in its most recent employment outlook survey for the second quarter of 2023.

The survey, which included a sample size of 1,000 employers, revealed that 43% of companies plan for their workforce to grow between April and June, while 37% expect no change, 17% expect a reduction in personnel and 3% do not know.

According to the report, which included a survey in 41 countries, Puerto Rico ranks in fifth place in terms of employers’ difficulty in recruiting talent, behind Taiwan, Germany, Hong Kong and Portugal.

In a presentation, Melissa Rivera Roena, general manager of Manpower for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, said “this is the complicated scenario for all industries right now on the island”.

Melissa Rivera Roena, general manager of Manpower for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republicdfd

She added that the talent shortage is a phenomenon being experienced globally.

“That’s the reality, we have more jobs than people who want to fill them.”

According to data compiled by Manpower, employers around the world indicate that the level of complexity in identifying talent is increasing, from 35% in 2013, to 77% in 2023, a level that Rivera Roena describes as “alarming.”


Why is it so difficult to find talent?

In the opinion of Puerto Rican lawyer Mario Moczó, “as long as companies continue to demand people with experience, they will not find employees”.

He said many professionals with degrees but who have no work experience have gone to the United States, “because in Puerto Rico they are not given the opportunity”.

Therefore, “companies will have to change their requirements, offer better benefits, provide good salary remuneration, and improve working conditions so that they can find employees”.

A report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the firm AON revealed that six out of 10 organizations are facing problems in retaining employees.

Puerto Rico Needs Sustained Public Healthcare Funding to Balance Budgets

Hiring expectations

The Manpower survey reveals that hiring expectations in Puerto Rico remained, as in the previous quarter, at 26%, placing the territory in 19th place worldwide, while 43% of the companies surveyed plan to hire new personnel; 17% expect to reduce their workforce; 37% do not plan to make changes; and 3% do not know if they will make changes.

The most competitive sector in Puerto Rico is communication services, with a 70% hiring outlook for the second quarter of this year.

Puerto Rico also ranks third globally in the healthcare and life sciences sectors with 42% for each, exceeding the global average by 18 percentage points.


In terms of geography, the most active labor markets are expected in the northern, southern, and western regions, and metropolitan and central regions have lower hiring intentions.

The strongest hiring expectation is expected in small businesses, of 10 to 49 employees, with an expectation of 45%.

The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey has been conducted independently since 1962 and this is the third time Puerto Rico has been included.

Puerto Rico’s Population Declines in Aftermath of Financial Crisis, Natural Disasters