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Costa Rica


Total Workforce Size: 2.1 million

English Proficiency: Very Low

GNI Per Capita: $6,060

S&P’s Currency Risk Rating: BB+

Regional Wage Savings Rank: 11 / 19

Cultural Compatibility Rank:14 / 19

Technological Readiness: 6 / 19

Ease of Doing Business Rank: 125 / 183

Economist’s 2010 Democracy Index: 24 / 167                                                     (Flawed Democracy)

AT Kearney Global Services Index: 19 / 50

Selected as one of 8 LATAM countries to make the Gartner Top 30 Offshore Services Destinations

Costa Rica’s small but mighty (friendly) labor force is an excellent option for companies of any size.   According to Frances Karamouzis, a research vice-president at Gartner, Costa Rica’s main appeal is "a high comfort level with Western business practices."  In addition to cultural compatibility, Costa Rica’s other strengths include English language proficiency, talented software developers, and call center outsourcing.  The Costa Rican government is taking steps to draw outsourcers to the region with the National Training Institute (INA), which offers free technical training in several areas including software development, accounting, and HR.   

Is Un-Sourcing a Problem for Costa Rican Call Center Workers?

At any given time in Costa Rica, tens of thousands of Ticos take calls from 

consumers in other countries who are in need of service and support. These agents 

work in call centers mostly located in the Central Valley, and the majority of the 

calls are handled in English -although demand for Portuguese-speaking agents is 


What would happen to the economy of Costa Rica if an army of unpaid workers 

decided to gleefully take over customer service and tech support from them? 

According to a recent article in The Economist, the new trends of“unsourcing” 

and peer-to-peer support could become a thorn on the sides of the outsourcing 

and call center economies of India and the Philippines. Should Costa Rica be 

worried as well?

What does Central America Have to Offer?

These days, services outsourced to Central America reach far beyond call center offerings. Costa Rica blazed the trail in LAtin America for software development services and web design. In fact, Costa Rican design and programming firm InterGraphic Designs signed popular nearshoring news source Nearshore Americas as a client. 

Beyond Costa Rica, other countries in Central America have well-established companies in local web development market. In Nicaragua, check out Guegue and Webbasica, web studios that offer web development, design, marketing, and hosting services. El Salvadorian company Happy Punk Panda Studios creates digital campaigns for brands, and an array of web companies are popping up in Guatemala.

'Occupy Wall Street' Movement reaches Costa Rica

October 17, 2011
It looks like the United States has markedly more influence on Costa Rican culture than
 we thought.  On Saturday, 200+ people marched around the streets of San Jose, joining 
the worldwide protests against corporate greed and failed economic politics.  Like the US protests, the agenda was ambiguous.  
“This is a spontaneous event with no official organizers, leaders or representatives. There 
is no program or agenda. We are here because we share the idea of a better future for our country,” said Mayela Ruíz, who organized a number of social network events.  

Read it at the Tico Times

Costa Rica FDI on Pace to Break All-Time High

During the first 6 months of 2011, Costa Rica accumulated $1.06 billion in foreign direct investment, according to the Central Bank of Costa Rica.  Under President Chincillia, the Foreign Trade Ministry set an investment goal of $1.85 billion, and if FDI continues at its current pace, they'll surpass their record-breaking goal.    

IBM made the largest contribution to FDI in the first half of the year.  On June 30, the technology company accounced a $300 million increase in investment in Costa Rica 
which is expected to create 1,000 new jobs.  According to Carl Ingersoll, general 
manager of IBM Costa Rica, IBM wanted to invest in Latin America and chose Costa Rica based on "a number of competitve advantages".

Will Costa Rica Stand the Test of Time?

Costa Rica has positioned itself as a key nearshoring destination and boasts solid track records with companies including Amway, Microsoft, and IBM.  This article examines Costa Rica’s success despite rising salaries and a miniscule labor force, questioning their ability to stay at the top amidst rising competition in Latin America.