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Finding Employment

Peru - Finding Employment

Despite Peru’s recently booming economy and low cost of living, you may find it difficult to secure a job with a decent salary unless you are a highly-skilled and qualified professional.

Almost a third of Peru’s population live in poverty, with very little state support to fall back on. As a result, manual jobs, especially for unskilled work, are easy to fill with local candidates, who will work long hours for low pay. Fishing and agriculture are big business, but can be difficult for expats to break into. Even service related jobs in tourist areas can be hard to find, since English is taught in schools to prepare pupils for tourism related work.

However, highly skilled and qualified expats may find plenty of well-paid opportunities awaiting them in Peru, especially if they are willing to learn some Spanish.

One of the biggest industries in Peru is mining, where 220 state owned mining businesses have been privatized. Minerals now account for 60 percent of the nation’s exports, and biochemical companies are also doing well. The country produces significant quantities of gold, silver, zinc, lead, tin, tellurium, copper, molybdenum, bismuth, arsenic trioxide and rhenium. The mining industry is well-regulated with clear rules, although the environmental and population impacts of mining in areas such as the Andes and the Amazonian basin are concerning.

Mining and biochemical companies not only provide more than a hundred thousand directly attributable jobs, but also support many more jobs the supplier chains. With education levels in the Peruvian state schools and universities below that of many Western countries, jobs that require high levels of skill, experience and qualifications can be hard for employers to fill, making them ideal placements for expats.

Tourism is also big business in Peru. It is the third largest sector in the country, after fishing and mining, and is rapidly growing. Local people can usually speak very good English, meaning they can work in bars, restaurants and hotels. Local guides obtain university degrees and learn several languages in order to become licensed. Arriving in Peru and hoping to pick up a waiting job won’t be easy, and you may also find it difficult to obtain the essential work permit. However, if you have the right personality and experience, and make the right contacts, opportunities may come along. Many of the expats working in the Peruvian tourism industry have settled there as business owners. However, this requires minimal investment levels from a visa point of view, and you will need to be employing at least five local members of staff by the end of your first year of business in the country. Business permits must be renewed each year.

The financial, insurance and pensions sector in Peru accounts for 3.8 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A total of 64 financial institutions in Peru employ almost 63,000 staff, and there are hundreds of further institutions such as regional and municipals saving and loans bodies operating across the country. Banking margins in recent years have been at profitable levels, and the sector has enjoyed solid growth. As a result, individuals with a strong track record within the financial and banking industries will be in great demand in Peru.

Peru has a national health service, free at the point of delivery to its citizens. It also has a large private medical sector. As a result doctors, surgeons, radiologists and other highly-qualified individuals will always be in demand. However, salaries will generally be lower than that offered in wealthier countries, and the lack of modern practices and technology may affect your job satisfaction and long-term career prospects. If you enjoy the lifestyle of Peru and have a desire to help people who have little access to modern medicine, living and working in the country long-term may overcome the disadvantages of working without the conditions of a well-resourced Western medical facility.

Teaching English is another popular job for expats in Peru, as the language is in great demand. However, English language schools do not pay well. Teaching hours will typically be 6-7am, before adults students head to work, and then 4-9pm, as learners arrive at the end of a working day. Many people enjoy a year or two of teaching in Peru before heading back home. You will find it difficult to obtain the better paid work in mainstream schools, unless you are a qualified, experienced teacher who applies to an international school’s recruitment agency at just the right moment. The new school year begins in March of each year, and ends in December.

Before working in Peru, you must obtain a work permit, which takes about three months to be processed. After receiving a written contract of employment, both you and your prospective employer will have to complete the necessary forms, including confirmation that you meets the skills and qualifications criteria for the job. If you start work before the work permit has been issued, you risk receiving a fine and deportation, with a long term ban on re-entering the country. You will need to renew your work permit every year.

When working in Peru, there are a number of cultural issues you will have to deal with. Crime levels are significant and corruption is common, reportedly even amongst some police officers. Official procedures are bureaucratic and paperwork can take a long time to get finalized. Even starting meetings on time with everyone present can be a challenge.

Two websites which can help you find employment opportunities are Jobs In Lima, which outlines vacancies in English, and Indeed, which advertises in English or Spanish depending on the wishes of the employer. You should also be able to find a recruitment agency specializing in the sphere of your expertise.

There are a number of volunteering companies who can place you on projects in Peru. You will normally be expected to pay for your travel, accommodation, food and other costs. Investigate each company carefully and try to seek recommendations. There are some very remote and vulnerable areas of Peru, so you need to have a suitable support network around you before you venture into the unknown.

Read more about this country

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