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Private sector optimistic with new employment expectations for year-end 2022


Melissa Rivera Roena, ManpowerGroup’s general manager for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic

By Alejandra M. Jover Tovar

Special to The STAR

alejandra.jover@gmail.com


In a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, Puerto Rico -- included in the study for the first time -- ranked 18th among 41 countries surveyed that expect a net gain in private sector jobs, with 32%.


After more than 41,000 employers worldwide were interviewed, the country that expects to offer the most jobs is Brazil, with a 56% net gain. In contrast, Poland only expects to increase its workforce by 1%.


Puerto Rico expects to increase its job offer in 11 categories, with wholesale and retail trade being the most in-demand (67%), followed by banking, finance, and real estate (66%), and construction (61%). The sector with the least demand, although it would still be contemplating offering jobs, is education, health and government, with 16%. One of the sectors most affected by the pandemic, restaurants and hotels, is expected to offer jobs again with a 54% gain.


The wholesale and retail trade sector projects employment increases due to the beginning of the Christmas season. Traditionally, more businesses hire personnel to meet consumers’ demands, even during a recession.


Melissa Rivera Roena, ManpowerGroup’s general manager for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, said “the survey is an independent instrument that our company conducts by surveying employers around the world, which can serve as an essential economic index for the business community and the government sector in Puerto Rico because, in addition to knowing the employment expectations in Puerto Rico, comparisons can be made with the results at the international level.”


Of 250 private companies surveyed -- and not part of ManpowerGroup’s client portfolio -- 44% expect to increase their workforce, while 12% plan to decrease it and 35% would remain unchanged. Nine percent have not decided.


Interestingly, an upward trend in hiring in microenterprises (with 10 or fewer employees) is reported at 37%. Since the pandemic, many people have decided to take charge of their economic future and have founded their own businesses. The trend is followed by large companies (with 250 employees or more), which expect to offer jobs by 34%.


Among workforce trends and challenges, three out of four companies globally reported talent shortages, the highest figure in the last 16 years. Thirty-six percent of the employers surveyed said they are concerned that their current employees are not receiving enough technology training to keep their skills up to date.


Soft skills also come into play, those qualities that go beyond how many years an employee has been working in an industry or what achievements an employee is recognized for: companies are now focusing on issues such as the ability to adapt to a new job, the ability to work in a team and the temperament of their employees.


Rivera Roena said companies have to temper their hiring process to the new reality of employees who want to work from home and have a work-life balance.


In response to questions from the STAR regarding how companies are selecting employees, many of which have decades of experience and are seeing their job search efforts failing to bear fruit, Rivera Roena recognized that companies have to change, too, and pay more attention to the potential employees’ resumes and what they can offer, instead of relying on what a computerized system says.


“Machines cannot replace people, but we have to do the work,” she said.

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