Microsoft, one of the largest and most successful tech companies in the world decided to make a large bet on Costa Rica, although it has been in the Country for over 25 years, with their operation averaging 70 staff members, it decided in expanding to over 800 employees and boost their fast-growing operation in all the region. This information was given by Ineke Geesink, a native Costa Rican and the company’s country general manager.
Costa Rica, with its 5 million inhabitants has done a remarkable job attracting international investments. Hewlett Packard, Procter & Gamble, Intel, Bridgestone, IBM, Apple, Boston Scientific and of course Microsoft, are just some of the corporate giants that have invested in the nation.
Microsoft established itself in Costa Rica 26 years ago with the sales and marketing operations, not only had the team served the national market but also all the Central America region. It was 2 and a half years ago that Microsoft decided to establish here the customer service and the corporate digital sales area. This thanks to being a country in which talent was a real highlight for the company to invest and prioritize for becoming the biggest operations center they have in Latin America.
This decision has to do a lot about the talent seen in Costa Rica. Being the only country in the region which has 7.4% of its GDP being invested in education, reflecting the kind of talent present here. Also with a lot of English-speaking professionals. The company also looked into Costa Rica because of the stability in terms of its democracy. Location was another huge factor. Costa Rica is central to both North and South America.
With regards to the the digital skills of its population, it ranks highest in Latin America. So, really the government has focused on bringing computer literacy to the population as a priority. That’s something that has served not only Microsoft in deciding to make Costa Rica the country for its operations but other technology companies as well.
Vanessa Gibson of CINDE, Costa Rica’s investment attraction agency, echoed these facts given by the regional Microsoft executive: “Here in our country we try to build bridges between the labor market and the international companies and also with academia. Depending on the profile of specific skills they would need, as in the case of Microsoft, starting with a general profile and focusing the training them on specific technology, tools and so on.”
Gibson continues, “So, building that network around how to find that talent, where to go find that talent, and then also how to connect with strategic parts of the academia is the role that we play. We facilitate that communication as much as we can. CINDE helps companies like Microsoft build a talent network”.
The CINDE director states, “We’ve had a very strong partnership throughout this journey, and it doesn’t end in Microsoft deciding to expand its Costa Rica operations, but also CINDE has been a great partner in helping all the private sector find the appropriate talent present in our country through the CINDE Job Fairs”.
“CINDE is very proactive in ensuring that professionals are aware of these Job Fairs, being centralized point of encounter, in which they can come and join different companies and find jobs. We’re also now working with them on a project called “Bola de Cristal”, which is a big bet in really finding the right talent through this AI-infused platform, that will be able to connect the skills that the potential employees have to different employers including Microsoft,” said Gibson.
In September of 2020, Microsoft will be bringing all of its different operations in Costa Rica under a single roof for the first time in the Torre Universal, which is a government-sponsored technology facility. This being one of the government’s first bets to turn San Jose into a smart city.
The Microsoft general manager says the following, “Torre Universal is a very technological, innovative site within San Jose. We are moving all our operations ther, and we’re very excited of that, expecting it to happen between mid-2020. And by September 2020, we will be moving month all our employees into the new installations. It’s going to be the biggest operation we will have carried out in Latin America.”
A notable fact about the corporate establishment in Costa Rica is that most multinational companies tap into local manager leadership. There are very few companies that remain to have a relocated ex-pat that runs their operations. Actually, most of the industries are almost 100% with leaders that are Costa Rican because of the top-notch professional capabilities of our workforce.
And of course, there is also the strategical advantages of the country for expanding corporate operations, with regards to the debate between offshoring and nearshoring. Costa Rica as well as other countries in Latin America offer a workforce but in the case of Costa Rica, a very talented workforce in a timezone that matches the United States. It’s only, by air, about 2 and a half hours from Miami. Very easy to get to. For customer service centers, that’s a tremendous advantage.