< Live, work, study
Live, work and study

The majority of foreigners working in Ecuador can be classified as follows:

• volunteers
• missionaries
• employees of a multinational who have been sent out to fill a position
• diplomats
• teachers
• businesspeople

click here for voluntary opportunities

click here for teaching opportunities

click here for business opportunities

Ecuador has a whole raft of complex bureaucracy and legislation related to employment, much of which has changed very recently or is in the process of being changed by the legislative assembly. However, it remains a country with great opportunities because there are so many areas which are ripe for development – infrastructure, tourism, services. There is a minimal amount of manufacturing and the economy relies on exporting primary materials (oil, fruit, shrimp, cocoa, flowers).

Those Ecuadorians who have a bit of money love to buy imported goods and this consumer desire continues despite an increase in duties imposed as a response to the global economic crisis.

If you are a foreigner in Ecuador, especially with experience and qualifications in a specific, relevant field, it is certainly possible to find a good position in a company or to gain people’s confidence in your business. This is particularly true in Guayaquil where sometimes it feels that all that is foreign (apart from Colombian) must be gold.

Ecuadorian Work Culture

My impression is that Ecuadorians are hard-working. I live in Guayaquil and people here tend to believe that they work harder than people in the highlands or specifically in Quito. I´m not sure about that but what is true is that Guayaquil has historically been the main centre of commercial activity whereas many people in Quito are bureaucrats. In Guayaquil no-one seems to have any faith in working for a company and believe that sooner or later they will get screwed by their bosses or immediate superior. Most people I talk to aspire to being their own boss. Some managers I know think that their workers are generally lazy and untrustworthy and I think that gulf is that distrust on both sides it what hurts the productivity of many businesses.

Working conditions

Normal working hours are 8:30 or 9am to 6pm with an hour for lunch. Some people may go home for lunch and work longer. A lot of office employees and manual workers are required to work Saturdays as well. Paid annual leave is usually two weeks. There are established public holidays and sometimes the government declare another one or move one to a Monday or Friday at the last minute, which employers must love. Government employees have to make up the time by working Saturdays in the following weeks. For private employees it depends on the company policy.

Pay structure

The minimum salary for 2011 has been fixed at $264 a month. However many employees can expect to receive a few other financial benefits.

Firstly, employees receive a payment of an additional salary in December.


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