Costa Rica, a Central American country is an emerging BPO destination known more for “near shoring”. This country is known as one of the oldest democracies of the world with 95% literacy rate. Costa Rica is ranked 19th worldwide and 4th in Latin America as per the A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index of 2011 and has companies like Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, IBM, Intel & HP making substantial investments in call centre operations in this country. Some of the other multinational companies which have call centres in Costa Rica include Bank of America and Western Union.
Though there are no official estimates on the number of call centres in Costa Rica, one estimate says that there are roughly 300 call centres ranging from a call centre like Sykes Costa Rica which employs 3200 employees to individual call centres which are run from homes employing one to two people. According to Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), outsourcing sector employs 1.4% of the total work force of Costa Rica which according to estimates stands at 2.3 million.
Countries like El Salvador and Honduras are giving stiff competition to the outsourcing business of Costa Rica and attracting near shore business by leveraging their lower labour cost. But according to CR Technology Insight, Cost Rica is still holding its edge and enjoys an enviable position in terms of innovation, network readiness, property right index and high technology exporter among the other Latin American countries. It is ranked one for innovation, ranked three in terms of property rights index and network readiness and ranked fourth as high technology exporter.
Costa Rica has an edge over other giants like India and Philippines who are the most preferred outsourcing destinations as it has a large pool of quality English language speaking population and skilled population who understand technology. The BPO companies in Costa Rica are engaged in accounting, payroll and other back office operations and are joining the bandwagon of Knowledge Process Outsourcing and Information Technology Outsourcing.
Economy of Costa Rica is showing immense promise and it is expected that the contribution of outsourcing industry to GDP is all set to increase in the coming years. Costa Rica is slowly moving away from an agrarian economy to a high technology based economy focusing on digital technology and it is expected that what is going to drive growth in outsourcing and digital technology is the focus towards education and stability of the government in Cost Rica.