Turning Travel to Employment: Finding Work in Colombia

Colombia's beautiful culture, friendly people, and diverse landscape is attracting visitors from all over the world – not just as a tourist destination, but as a place to work. Our local insider shows you how to do it and what you need to avoid.

Work Prospects

Colombia’s big cities (Medellin, Bogota and Cali) have a large amount of jobs available, as many multinational companies are setting up their South American headquarters in Colombia. Google, IBM, AON, KPMG and Ernst & Young, for example, have moved to Colombia within the last 10 years. These companies employ both Colombians and overseas workers for all types of jobs.

Colombia is also home to a large number of start-up companies, and many people decide to start their own businesses here. Teaching English is a very popular among native English speakers, and all over Colombia you’ll find lots of companies looking for teachers. English language studies are mandatory in Colombian schools, and many schools offer competitive packages for native English speaking, fully qualified teachers.

Foreign Embassies in Colombia's capital Bogota, as well as travel companies, also require foreign workers, as well as Colombians. 

Applying for Jobs

There are many ways to apply for jobs in Colombia. Bigger multinational companies advertise on job websites such as indeed.com, while others advertise directly on their own websites, and some schools scout teachers from other countries.

The internet, or networking, is the best way to apply for jobs in Colombia – especially in the bigger cities. In the smaller cities, small companies advertise around town or via word of mouth. 

What You Need to Land a Job

Being able to communicate in both Spanish and English will give you the opportunity to work in many companies around Colombia. In multinational companies, they tend to favor fluent English and Spanish speakers, with most interviews taking place in English.

When it comes to English teaching jobs, it's the opposite. If English is your native language, a TEFL or CELTA qualification will land you a job (regardless of how good your Spanish is). That being said, private schools and universities will require a higher level of study, such as a teaching degree or a PGCE.

Agencies

Agencies are a stress-free way to find a job in Colombia. There are many agencies, especially within the education sector, that will help you find work. They provide access to relevant qualifications, find suitable jobs and arrange your visas and transportation.

What to Avoid

  • Be wary of some agencies – especially those who charge you fees to apply.
  • Many agencies will negotiate jobs with long hours and low pay because they know people will do it just for the experience.
  • There are also many fake agencies out there who will charge you money and then not arrange a job for you. A quick Google search of the agency, though, should bring up any issues.
  • When searching for jobs, make sure companies aren't taking advantage of you. The minimum wage in Colombia is extremely low, with many Colombians working long hours for very little pay.  

Colombia's expat community is one of the fastest-growing in the world. Once people discover Colombia's magic they can't leave! To quote a previous Colombian advertising campaign: "Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay".

Get our FREE Insider’s Guide to Colombia!

From Colombia's Caribbean Coast, to the Pacific - and everything in between - download our FREE Insider's Guide to Colombia to make the most of your trip.

Related articles

1 Comment

  • Fabiana Sandoval said

    Hello anny! great post, I would like to ask you some questions, there's my email if you could please contact me.
    thanks

Add a Comment
Couple eating food with chopsticks and smiling

Win a destination
do-over for 2

Enter now