Productive Labor


El Salvador’s labor force is composed of 2.6 million people,[17] 60% of whom are 39 years or younger. Thus, it offers a highly productive labor force capable of developing new skills in short time. The country’s labor force is ideally qualified for manufacturing, agro-industrial and service activities. 


Furthermore, there is a growing population with higher education that can face the challenges of a modern and globalized economy. The Salvadoran labor force is world-famous for its industriousness, efficiency and work ethic.


Established investors describe the country’s labor force as one of the most outstanding in the world:

"Salvadoran labor force has been one of the success factors in the development of our manufacturing operations. Our headquarters consider it a blessing to have employees so avid to learn new things and take very seriously their roles in the company."

Jaime Campos

Country Manager

Darlington Fabrics & George C. Moore


"After rigorous study, we were convinced that El Salvador was the adequate place for economic reasons and because of the people, who have an unparalleled energy and work ethic."

Sagar Rajgopal

Vice-president of Global Operations

Ubiquity Global Services

Offshore business services sector


"Our experience has been very positive because, despite the fact that we are in a highly specialized segment of the textile industry, people have a desire to learn, to excel and to be part of a company that offers them stability, which in turn drives social development in surrounding communities. 

Thanks to the technification of our recruiting and training processes, we have found women and men with multi-functional abilities who strengthen UNIFI’s sophisticated industrial processes."

Carlo Mariano Melara

Plant Manager

UNIFI Central America



El Salvador’s Labor Code balances workers’ rights protection with the flexibility that employers require to manage their businesses and create jobs. El Salvador is characterized as having good employer-worker relationships and has not been affected by significant disputes or strikes.


The level of unionization is low, as is the incidence of strikes. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, El Salvador ranks 48 out of 144 countries in cooperation in worker-employer relations. 


Furthermore, the country ranks 23rd in flexibility of wage determination and first in the Central American region.



El Salvador has a good base of technicians and professionals ready to join the country’s productive sectors. Currently there are more than 160,000 students enrolled in technical and university careers. Likewise, more than 20,000 technicians and professionals join the country’s labor force every year.


There are 38 technical and higher education institutions: 24 universities, 8 specialized institutes and 6 technical institutes throughout the country.


Enrolled students by educational area, 2011
(Number of students and percentage)

Educational area No. of students



Management and Economics




Engineering and Technology







  Law 15,620 9.74
  Education 15,235 9.50
  Humanities  7,876 4.91
  Social Sciences  7,376 4.60
  Art and Architecture 6,410 4.00
  Sciences 2,824 1.76
  Agroindustry and Environment 2,543 1.59
  TOTAL  160,132 100











Source: Ministry of Education (MINED)


Investors can satisfy their demand for technicians through a pool of institutes specialized in technical education, such as:


  • MEGATEC (Gradual Learning Model of Technical and Technological Education), with locations in La Unión,Chalatenango, Ilobasco, Sonsonate and Zacatecoluca
  • Escuela Superior Franciscana Especializada / AGAPE (Specialized Superior Franciscan School)
  • Escuela Especializada en Ingeniería / ITCA-FEPADE (Specialized Engineering School), with regional centers in Santa Ana and San Miguel
  • Universidad Don Bosco / UDB (Don Bosco University)
  • Escuela Nacional de Agricultura / ENA (National School for Agriculture)


Examples of technical careers available linked to FDI growth sectors: Aeronautical Maintenance, Agroindustry with Specialization in Fruits, Vegetables and Grains, Agronomy, Aquaculture, Biomedical, Civil Engineering, Customs and Logistics, Dental Surgery, Electronics, Food Processing and Preparation, Gastronomy, Global Logistics, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, Orthoses and Prostheses, Port Management and Operation, Software Development, Tourism and Tourism Development and Management, among others.



Companies that need to train their active workers can do so with the aid of the Salvadoran Institute for Professional Formation (INSAFORP, for its acronym in Spanish), an autonomous governmental agency that aims to satisfy the needs for qualified human resources required by the country’s private sector.

Multiple investors have found in INSAFORP an important tool for cofinancing, partially or totally, their employees’ professional development.


Actualizado 09/17/2013
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