Export of call center services reaches $500 million in El Salvador

El Salvador has seen a surge in business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in recent years, with call center firms leading the way in exporting services to other international businesses. According to data from the Central Reserve Bank (BCR), these call center companies have exported an average of nearly $400 million annually since the start of President Nayib Bukele’s administration. In 2021, the country’s export of call center services reached $487.3 million, with revenue for the first three quarters of the year alone totaling $423.7 million.

In 2019, revenue from call center services for technical support, communications, sales, travel, and financial services was $393.8 million, and the following year saw a year-on-year growth of $8.8 million, bringing the total to $402.6 million. In 2021, this trend continued with a further increase of $84.7 million, reaching $487.3 million.

The call center industry in El Salvador has been a significant contributor to job growth, with 88 call center companies, mostly bilingual, located in the country. In 2022 alone, the major companies in this sector generated around 28,000 jobs, according to the Minister of Economy, Maria Luisa Hayem. She also highlighted that the annual employment growth rate in the sector has been 8% over the past five years.

Hayem emphasized that the multinational industry has been attracted to the Salvadoran workforce due to its fluency in a second or even third language. She praised the call center sector for being not only one of the largest job creators in the country but also for generating salaries above the minimum wage.

The opening of a new WebHelp center in Antiguo Cuscatlán with 1,400 positions is an example of the industry’s dynamism. “El Salvador is now recognized for having a favorable business environment. We are experiencing the best performance in our history, with the highest levels of exports, imports, and production,” said Hayem at the building’s opening.

The BCR is expected to announce the final figures for the year’s call center service exports later this month, but given the data from each quarter, the total is expected to be close to $500 million.