Employment in Guatemala is complex and predominantly unregulated. Our families were surveyed in 2020 and reported that 73% of mothers and 45% of fathers earn Q1,000 (£100) or less per month. In comparison, 64% of students in the employment program make Q1,000 or more per month, with more than 50% of these students earning minimum wage (around Q3,000 per month). While minimum wage may seem like a low goal for well-educated students, it is hard to come by in Guatemala as lack of regulation means benefits and contracts vary widely. The vast majority of students are also completing their education while working. One student finding a steady job can have a huge impact on the whole family.
Our Careers Counsellor, Diana helps our graduating high-school class and university students find and apply for employment opportunities. The program also helps younger students find temporary work when they are in high economic need. We've found students' jobs as accountants, cashiers, cleaning and maintenance personnel, factory workers, sales associates, and many more.
COVID devastated the economy of Guatemala. As we are located so close to the popular tourist destination of Antigua, the rapid decline of tourism was a large blow to the area and to the country as a whole. In the 2020 family survey, 68% of families reported unemployment due to the pandemic. Employment will continue to be a main focus as the economy slowly recovers. We are constantly looking for new partnerships and new specialized opportunities for students.