Find Human Resources expertise in Jamaica
English is the official language of Jamaica and is spoken by 98% of the population. Patois, a mixture of English and African languages, is widely understood and spoken mainly in rural areas though its popularity is spreading to urban areas. In 2009 Jamaica had an 86.4% adult literacy rate and in the early 2000s over 16% of people aged 20-24 were enrolled in tertiary education.
A large proportion of Jamaicans are occupied in professional services: legislators, senior managers and associate professionals and technicians make up 19% of the labour force and clerks 9%. Retail and its related services such as shop and market workers account for the next largest group with 18% of the workforce followed by skilled agricultural and fishery workers (17%). Further skilled work such as craft and related workers (16%) and plant and machine operators and assemblers (6%) make up another group of the labour force and finally elementary occupations accounting for 15%.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security issues work permits for Jamaica and details which exist for individuals married to Jamaican national and those foreign nationals and Commonwealth citizens who are also exempt from obtaining a full work permit.
Employment agencies are monitored by the Employment Agency Unit of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security which also issues licences for practice to agencies. The Ministry issues licences to both domestic employment agencies and those which place Jamaicans in jobs in other countries. Practicing without the appropriate licence is illegal and steps have been taken to curb unlicensed activities in the area.
The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report lists several indicators of employment and human resources trends in the country.
Relations between workers and employers in Jamaica are characterised as moderately confrontational with a score of 3.8 out of 7 where 1 is generally confrontational and 7 is generally cooperative for cooperation in labour-employer relations.
Workers in Jamaica receive pay which is only moderately related to their productivity with a score of 3.6 out of 7 where 7 indicates a strong relation between the two.
Hiring and firing practices are mostly determined by employers although there is appreciable influence of regulations which to some extent impedes the process. Jamaica scores 4.3 out of 7 where 1 indicates that hiring and firing practices are impeded by regulations and 7 means that their flexibility is determined by employers.
The female participation in the labour force is progressing towards equality with a ratio of 1:0.82 of men to women. Jamaica is more likely to lose talented and bright individuals to employment overseas than to attract foreign workers to its shores. It scores 3 out of 7 where 1 means that their ability to attract and retain bright workers is low and 7 means that there are many attractive opportunities for talented people in the country.