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Aggressive Expansion at Amazon Costa Rica Leads to “Top 5” Employer Status

Amazon Costa Rica is expanding again, with an additional 2,500 people joining its 5,000-strong workforce before the end of 2017, a clear indicator that the popularity of e-commerce is growing extensively in Latin America.

“Companies such as Amazon have allowed Costa Rican IT and IT-enabled exports to reach US$4 billion in 2016,” said Jorge Sequeira, CEO of CINDE, the country’s trade promotions agency. “The growth of this company shows the solidity of its operations and the confidence in the Costa Rican human talent to grow its business.”

Other than customer service, Amazon Costa Rica is offering administrative positions in this new recruitment push, as well as human resources, finance, research and fraud, and management positions. Employment requirements are a second language, be it English, Portuguese, Italian, or French.

Setting up for Great Things

Representing its first direct presence in Latin America, Amazon began operating in Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, in November, 2008, with its first call center housing just 300 English-speaking agents by the end of 2009.

Since then, the company has shown continuous growth in the country as it develops its call center and technology services for customers and sellers in the United States, Spain, Mexico, and Brazil.

Subsequent expansions followed, and by October, 2014, just over 3,000 jobs were available in its call center and technology services units by the end of the latter year, with another 800 being opened in 2015.

By incorporating software development engineers to its Seller Support Center in 2014, the company diversified its services away from basic support, showing a real commitment and belief in Costa Rica.

It even added risk analysts that investigate fraud in retail transactions to its roster, as well as a team of seller-support analysts who help independent merchants navigate its online marketplace, according to local daily El Financiero.

In September, 2016, Amazon Costa Rica again added more than 1,500 people across its customer service, support, finance, and software development units.

Now, with this most recent expansion, the online retailer is one of the biggest job creators in Costa Rica’s private sector. In November, it was ranked as the fifth-largest private employer according to government data compiled by El Financiero.

“This is a result of Costa Rica’s efforts to strengthen the conditions of competition, thanks to a close alliance with the productive and business sectors,” said Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, President of the Republic.

Talent in no Short Supply

According to Alejandro Filloy, General Manager at Amazon Costa Rica, the company has been able to find talent “in abundance” in the country since it first entered in 2008.

Employees at Amazon receive competitive wages and several incentives, including private health insurance, life insurance, and transportation, plus extended maternity and parental leave benefits.

“Not only is Amazon one of the most important customer service centers operating in Costa Rica, and one of the largest employers in the services sector, but also as a multidisciplinary center of shared services and technologies,” said Sequeira.

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However, e-commerce is not exactly booming in Costa Rica. According to a study by consultant company Kantar Worldpanel, only 12% of consumers in the country shop online. Even so, as the entire Americas region grows more accustomed to digital shopping, the company is positioning itself to reap the benefits.

With country-wide employment opportunities now spreading across software engineering, customer support, back-office, accountancy, and even law, this new drive for human capital at Amazon, coupled with ongoing investments from other multinational companies, are cementing Costa Rica’s position as a vital component of the Nearshore industry.

Matt Kendall

During his 2+ years as Chief Editor at Nearshore Americas, Matt Kendall operated at the heart of both the Nearshore BPO and IT services industries, reporting on the most impactful stories and trends in the sector.

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