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El Salvador’s extensive education and training opportunities have helped develop quality workers, technicians and professionals in all of the different employment sectors. Salvadoran labour is abundant and highly trainable. The work ethic among Salvadoran workforce is often a determining factor in new investor’s decisions to establish operations in El Salvador. 

Learning an occupation, developing a specialization, participating in ongoing training, and strengthening their natural proactive attitude, are all part of the development skills that Salvadorans acquire in the work place. INSAFORP, the national institution for professional training, incorporates national and private efforts to ensure that the Salvadoran workforce remains a high quality asset within the region and within Latin America. 

The economically active population (EAP), for the year 2017 was at 2,960,788 million people, of which 63.4% were located in urban areas and 36.6% were located in rural areas. Out of the total EAP, 59.3% are men and 40.7 % are women. This reflects the lower activity level of females in the labour market; yet in recent years a substantial increase in their participation has been observed. 

The labour force was (2017) 56.0between 16 to 39 years oldmeaning, the most productive range. On the other side, ages from 40 to 59 represent 33.2% of the working age population. (PET – Población en Edad de Trabajar), while persons on their 60s and more, represents the 10.7% of PET.  

Unemployment rate in 2017 was 7.0%. The urban area was less 0.6% than the rural one. Ages from 16 to 24 were 14.4% unemployed, from 25 to 59 years old were the 5.1% and from 60 and more was of 5.9%  

Effective from 1st January 2017, the new approved Minimum Wages are the following (calculated over 30 calendar days according to each economic sector): 

Business and Services: US$ 304.17  

Industry: US$ 304.17 

Textile industry and manufacturing: US$ 299.30 

Agriculture: US$ 202.88 

Coffee Harvesters: US$ 227.22 

Sugar Harvesters: US$ 227.22 

Cotton Harvesters: US$ 202.88 

Coffee Brokerages: US$ 202.88 

Cotton Brokerages US$ 202.88 

Sugar Refineries: US$ 304.17 


Handling costs 

Handling services are available in the market and can be provided by outsourcing companies and transporters. 

Average costs are indicated below: 

4.26 $US/MT 

2.75  4.00 US$/hour/person (depending on working hour, night shifts, holidays and weekends). 


Image Removed to the Survey of Households and Multiple Purposes conducted in 2019, the working-age population (PET) represents 74.5% (4,995,745) of the total population of El Salvador, that is, young people aged 16 and over, who according to the socioeconomic reality of the country are suitable to join productive activities. When analyzing the PET by age groups, it is observed that 52.7% are in the range of 16 to 39 years; in the range of 40 to 59 years represents 29.0% of the PET, while people 60 years and older represent 18.3%. The Economically Active Population (EAP), which is defined as the part of the PET that carries out some economic activity or offers its labor force to the labor market, is made up of 62.2% at the level. On the other hand, the PEA is composed of 63.9% of urban areas, while people residing in rural areas represent 59.1%.

As of December 2018, El Salvador had 317 public sector unions, 997 private sector unions. Most of them are active.

There are few companies that provide outsourcing or casual labor services. WFP has a list of 11 companies.

 Labour Rate(s) Overview


(Local Currency & USD - $)

Rate as of JUN 2019

Daily General Worker (Unskilled casual labour)

AVG USD  6.58

No Data Available

Daily General Worker (Semi-skilled labour)

AVG USD 11.55

No Data Available

Skilled Worker

AVG USD 25.16

No Data Available

In July 2021 was agreed to increase minimum wages in El Salvador, the salaries are as follow: