Chamber president warns of job losses to outsourcing

| 15/06/2023 | 62 Comments
Chamber of Commerce President Nelson Dilbert, Cayman News Service
Chamber of Commerce President Nelson Dilbert

(CNS): Local businesses are increasingly outsourcing support work overseas due to regulations, bureaucracy and the high cost of living in the Cayman Islands, Chamber of Commerce President Nelson Dilbert said Wednesday at the Chamber’s Annual Parliamentary Luncheon. Dilbert outlined some of the stresses businesses face and said that some are seeking ways to navigate the current environment.

“This is forcing businesses to take alternative measures, including outsourcing jobs,” Dilbert said in his address to the business community at the Kimpton Hotel. He revealed that during recent Chamber Council meetings, members had shared “worrying trends” about work being shipped overseas to cheaper jurisdictions.

He also complained about the bureaucracy. Asking how many times a business should have to produce the same documentation when it was doing business with the government, he said there had to be an easier way.

During the current unprecedented population explosion in the Cayman Islands since the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and the country moved into a post-pandemic period, thousands of jobs have been created, but mounting problems, from the rising cost of doing business to work permit delays, are starting to bite.

Dilbert said that unless these worrying trends are monitored, Cayman will see good, middle-income jobs disappear, leaving only lower-paying jobs that cannot be done remotely. When these back-office and support jobs are outsourced, they rarely come back, he warned.

CNS recently spoke to one business owner in the tech community who said that outsourcing is a solution to the problems some businesses face when their staff cannot find anywhere to live here and have to wait a long time for places in schools for their kids and work permit applications to be approved. With well-qualified professionals available to work remotely online, especially in East and South Asia, businesses can save money and hassle by sending the work abroad.

Dilbert said that while 2023 is already a good year for business, with “robust sales” and the return of tourism, it was “irresponsible” to ignore the warning signs, regardless of the new jobs employers had created.

In his own address, Premier Wayne Panton said that the cost of living crisis and other global uncertainties were hard for the government to fix when 95% of our consumer goods are imported. Nevertheless, the administration was working on various strategies to help people deal with inflation, he said.

This year inflation has dropped to 6.6%, compared to over 9% last year. The premier acknowledged that this meant prices were still increasing, though not as quickly. And despite Dilbert’s warnings, he pointed out that the current unemployment rate is very low at 2.1% overall and 3.6% for Caymanians. He noted that last month WORC processed almost 3,000 work permit applications, of which more than 1,900 were for temporary jobs.

He also told the members of the business community that WORC was making headway with the backlog of applications for work permits, residency and status, which would be cleared in short order, and he confirmed that all applications are currently being processed. However, despite the calls from his own backbench for a freeze on status grants, he made no mention of a moratorium.

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Category: Business

Comments (62)

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  1. Anonimous says:

    Add 5,000 to 10,000 New Accounting and Administrative Jobs

    Britains Financial Clearings House employs over 80,000 employees and is Europe’s Financial Clearings Hub for clearing all of the United Kingdom and Europe’s $69trn financial payment instruments.

    It makes payment for all debit withdrawals presented to banks electronically or manually presented by checks, debit and credit cards and is a fundmental aspect of Britains triving financial economy

    So why are there no forward thinkers in the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority trying to attract new and good business to the Cayman Islands like this? and why are no one trying to get our Monetary Authority to approach and partner with this London Financial Clearings House to set up shop in the Cayman Islands to provide this clearings service for the Cayman Islands and Caribbean Region?

    As a leading financial center, the Cayman Islands could easily become the Regions Financial Clearings House Hub just like Britain is to Europe?

    This could easily add anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000, NEW and well paying finance, accounting and administrative jobs to our economy

    Its time for us to stop reacting to economic stimulation and for our leaders to start thinking in a forward mobile manner of expansion and growth

    With a local government charge of $0.50 for each financial clearings transaction, the Cayman Islands Government via the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority could significantly incresease its government revenue while creating lots of new finance, accounting and administrative jobs

    Let us in leadership positions of government start attracting wealth and financial mature growth by approaching the London Financial Clearings House for a partnership in the Cayman Islands to provide the Cayman Islands ans the Caribbean Region with clearing financial instruments to create new jobs in the Cayman Islands

    How dominant is London?


    London is the world leader for the clearing of all types of currency-denominated derivatives including the euro.

    The London Clearing House (LCH), which is part of the London Stock Exchange, says it clears a whopping 927bn euros-worth of euro-denominated contracts a day, this is some three quarters of the global market.

    In contrast, Paris, the second-biggest operator in the sector that clears only 11% of the financial transactions.

  2. Anonymous says:

    OMG, Premier citing the unemployment rate. SMH!

    The low unemployment rate is not evidence that jobs are not moving overseas, it is the CAUSE of the jobs moving overseas.

    If an employer wants to create a job in Cayman but can’t hire a Caymanian (because they’re all employed) and can’t get a work permit, the job is going to be created overseas. Simple as that. It sure won’t be created here.

    So it’s not that it’s hurting today’s Caymanian job seekers. It’s hurting tomorrow’s job seekers and costing the country the revenue from the work permit plus the economic activity it would have created (the permit holder spending in the economy).

    We must be the only country in the world saying no thanks to economic growth.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Nelson who??!
    Chamber is the hypocritical agency sucking the lifeblood of cayman and pushing to maintain Minimum as it is. $4.50/hr. Slave wages!

  4. Anonymous says:

    All the big companies do, just look at Intertrust where tons of a support jobs moving to those that need permit or to the USA, are they saying no Secretaries in cayman? WORC knows and do nothing. So don’t blame the companies blame WORC for granting the permit to start for a job a college or high-school leaver that can’t afford college right away can do

    • Anonymous says:

      Please re-write your comment using the ordinary English rules of grammar and punctuation, so we can understand it. Many thanks.

      Apropos of nothing, isn’t it strange that international companies in Cayman feel compelled to outsource jobs overseas rather than employ Caymanians.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Government should tax capital gains and revenue on all secondary properties. Capital gains on sale, revenue on income.

    If you are a overseas investors this will be on your primary as well.

    • Realist says:

      How would *additional* taxes and costs incentivise businesses to locate more – rather than dramatically fewer– jobs in Cayman?

      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman doesn’t need more jobs it just needs to kick the expats out and put in Caymanians.

        • Anonymous says:

          Banana Republic it is then!

          So looking forward to the Kalashnikovs and rogue death squads.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What the government needs to do is implement business taxation. 0% tax if all jobs and support functions are based in the Cayman Islands and higher tax bands that are based on the percentage of local employment. Just make the tax rates competitive and businesses will pay or change some of their discriminatory practices.

    • Anonymous says:

      It isn’t discriminatory to recruit and hire qualified and skilled applicants for open positions.

      Business isn’t a charity. No one owes you a damned thing. Earn it.

    • Realist says:

      Tell me that you don’t understand business, without explicitly telling me that you don’t understand business.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go then, genius! Tell us how this would work. Let’s use a large accounting firm as an example, perhaps call them “PwMG”. To help you, I’ve listed below common support functions in modern businesses. How would our *immensely*-talented Caymanian politicians and civil service decide which of these functions to deign to allow PwMG to conduct outside of Cayman without being penalised?

      Let’s start with #1, HR. Would you require that every single PwMG HR person in the world be located in Cayman? Why not? If not, how many should be in Cayman: an absolute number, or a relative % of global HR headcount, or some other measure? What if some HR people had responsibilities inside and outside Cayman (there is a world outside these islands, BoBo): where should they work? Who judges?

      You might want to research the State Planning Committee, commonly known as Gosplan (Gosudarstvennyy Planovyy Komitet), the agency responsible for central economic planning in the USSR. It’s ignorance, inflexibility, and inability to respond to market dynamics contributed to the USSR’s economic stagnation and collapse. But the USSR only had 286 million people from whom to choose their politicians, so with such a shallow talent pool no wonder they failed so abysmally. By contrast, Caymanian politicians are drawn from a gene pool of 8,500 people. I’m sure you’ll do far better than the USSR, though.

      1970: 8,507 *
      1980: 15,662
      1990: 22,129
      2000: 39,369
      2010: 54,878
      2023: 80,000-ish

      * Just 8,500 people who date back to the 1970s are – we are constantly lectured – the only true Caymanians. Explains a lot, doesn’t it…


      1. Human Resources (HR): Responsible for managing employee-related matters, such as recruitment, hiring, training, compensation, benefits, performance management, and employee relations.
      2. Accounting and Finance: Handles financial transactions, maintains financial records, prepares financial statements, manages budgets, and provides financial analysis and reporting.
      3. Information Technology (IT): Manages computer systems, networks, software applications, and technical support services, ensuring smooth operation, data security, and efficient technology infrastructure.
      4. Marketing and Sales: Conducts market research, develops marketing strategies, manages advertising and promotional activities, and facilitates sales efforts to attract and retain customers.
      5. Customer Service and Support: Provides assistance to customers, addresses inquiries, resolves complaints, and offers post-sales support to ensure customer satisfaction.
      6. Operations and Supply Chain: Oversees the production processes, manages inventory, coordinates logistics and transportation, and ensures efficient supply chain management.
      7. Legal and Compliance: Handles legal matters, including contract negotiations, intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance, risk management, and legal advice to ensure business operations align with applicable laws and regulations.
      8. Facilities and Real Estate: Manages office spaces, facilities maintenance, security, and environmental health and safety (EHS) compliance.
      9. Administration and Office Support: Provides administrative assistance, manages office operations, coordinates meetings and events, and supports general day-to-day business activities.
      10. Public Relations (PR) and Communications: Manages the organization’s public image, handles media relations, develops communication strategies, and creates content for internal and external communication channels.
      11. Research and Development (R&D): Conducts scientific research, develops new products or services, improves existing offerings, and explores innovation opportunities to maintain a competitive edge.
      12. Quality Assurance (QA): Ensures products or services meet quality standards through quality control procedures, testing, and inspection.
      13. Training and Development: Facilitates employee training programs, develops learning initiatives, and promotes professional development opportunities to enhance employee skills and knowledge.
      14. Project Management: Plans, executes, and monitors projects to achieve specific objectives, ensuring timely completion, resource allocation, and coordination across teams.
      15. Risk Management: Identifies and assesses potential risks, develops risk mitigation strategies, and implements measures to minimize risks to the business.

  7. Anonymous says:

    No-one preparing for the impact of AI on the FS industry jobs?

    Already there are Corporate Administrators being replaced by computer programs in Cayman.

  8. Anonymous says:

    No-one or thing is ‘forcing’ businesses to outsource, they do it because they think it will be easier and cheaper. The reality is most outsourcing never fully replaces an individual here, they might cover 70% or 80% of the job but some things they can’t do. There is a huge cost in setting up another office, regulations, communications, staff turnover, inflation, training, knowledge drain etc. Once they’ve gone through the process of outsourcing, decided it’s really a pretty bad idea, got rid of whatever management thought it would be a great idea, then get new management who reverses the whole mess, the process starts again.

  9. Anonymous says:

    ummm….outsourcing started a long time ago! Look at how many fund administration jobs left Cayman for Dublin, Halifax and Toronto over the last 15 years.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Tried three times to fill an IT security position,
    Tried but no one suitable locally.
    They sent me general IT people, no qualifications.
    One turned up half an hour late for the interview.
    One with his backside hanging out of his pants. (Told him come back when he was dressed correctly, he didn’t even come back)

    Work permit refused three times.
    Gave up and moved the job to BVI Office.
    WORC contacted me a couple of months later saying they had a candidate.
    Was well pissed off when I said the job has been moved to BVI because we couldn’t get a permit.
    They asked me to bring it back.
    I told them straight out that there was no one to blame but themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      This happens more often than not. Jobs require more than certifications and degrees, but the necessary soft skills are equally as important.

    • Anonymous says:

      Today on I made this up. You tried to hire your mate and had a rough ride of it. Just be honest about it.

      I work in IT. There is no way you are getting that much hassle for an IT security role. Full stop.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I followed all the rules and submit a work permit. And the reason for defferal was just not plausible. The back and forth of forcing you to employ someone who doesn’t meet the criteria. So I just end the employees contract and outsource the function. It’s much cheaper. I really do not have the time to waste.

  12. Anonymous says:

    We all know the 60% caymanian ownership restriction on businesses and restrictions/taxes on foreigners owning real estate would solve a lot of this, but those are hard conversations.

    • Anonymous says:

      Small and micro businesses can’t afford the work permit fees to get specialists in to train the staff, because they’re expected to pay same fees as the likes of Appleby and PWC. WRONG.

      An expat owner of a business shouldn’t have to advertise their own job to run it. All other jobs yes, but not owner operators.

      Create conditions to stimulate the economy and local training.

      We rely too heavily on imports. Let’s start the debate on what we can do more of ourselves, and what we can produce for export, balance trades more, improve efficiencies and the economy.

      Wake up and innovate.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What Dilbert doesn’t say is that, for financial services at least, once an organization learns it can export jobs it starts to question why it is here at all. It may start with back office and administrative support functions, then it rapidly moves on to the higher end of professional services, and then before you know it all that is left in Cayman is a shell – a few token employees doing compliance in a small office when the fee earning work and the back office that supports it is done off island. And then even that comes under pressure and people start to look at alternative offshore venues that are not on FATF grey lists and where the cost of doing business and the bureaucracy is lower.

  14. Anonymous says:

    We have too many people here. Whats so hard to understand. Why are we creating more jobs to bring more people here. Our people should be replacing work permit holders!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not enough of them.
      I would love to hire more caymanians for tech jobs, but realistically there isn’t enough people qualified for those jobs. It’s a small island and even smaller talent pool for tech.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians, some with only valiant G-grade transcripts in 3 high school subjects, are really not equipped on the same level to compete against a planet of university, post-grad and professional designation employees with applicable real world work history. No amount of affirmative action and obstruction will pair those skilled opportunities with Caymanians on merit of birthright.

      • Anonymous says:

        As a Caymanian that went to private school, I believe my parents did the best thing in the world for me. The ‘average’ private school caymanian child is much well suited for the current job market than the average public school student.

        There are exceptions but my god the amount of people my age that walk into interviews and don’t know how to carry a conversation, dress appropriately or even pretend to be interested is too high.

        I realize that most businesses are looking for Caymanians to fill roles to appease the public relations, but my god everyone else makes it sooo easy to get these jobs. I have decent grades, a bachelors, i’m hard working and work like a horse. But I honestly believe I could have gotten my jobs just by dressing how I dressed, reducing my accent a little bit, a firm handshake and pretending to care. My grades could have been in the gutter or non-existent and they would have still hired me because.. caymanian on the books.

        My peers make it too easy for me.

      • Anonymous says:

        No worries. CIG will create jobs for them.

    • Anonymous says:


      You are so far out to lunch it is crazy.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It should be pointed out that the jobs most at risk are the Jobs held by caymanians.

    Middle income locals.

    It’s an easy decision. 10 Caymanians or 1 half trained off shore worker?

    Why would any company deal with local regressive labour laws when the alternate is a fraction of the cost and a multiple of the output.

  16. Anonymous says:

    95% of consumer goods are imported? What 5% do we make? its 100% isn’t it?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Thank the Lord that hanging about outside Pop a Top will always be in-person!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Imported lower-end labour force also lacks competence, and if they show, tasks have to get done in 2 or 3 tries, before the work is right. That is perhaps the biggest frustration and drag on quality of life for residents: core competence. I’d rather pay more the first time to have something done right once. Roll over policy sent home all the best, and with zero Caymanian job creation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Roll over is the stupidest policy. With no higher education system churning out a qualified workforce, it was bound to fail miserably.

      All to make the dumdums happy.

      • Anonymous says:

        So true. By the time a roll-over rolled around there should be at least two properly qualified “Caymanians” to take the job. That is how it should be but no, the company has to bring in someone else and start the entire process all over. Why aren’t the WORC working (no pun intended) with the high schools/ colleges students and the companies to identify suitable future employees to take up some of these “rollover position” ? By the time students finishes 5th form and ready to start 6th form or college they should know what career they want to have and work towards it. Failure to plan is a plan to fail.

        • Anonymous says:

          Last thing you want is WORC to partner with UCCI. Worst waste of space ever created. Every person that comes out of their programs has to be sent for re-training. It is so pathetic!

          • Anonymous says:

            Serious question. Is there any CIG agency that is customer service oriented?

            The majority of them won’t answer the phone, return calls, respond to messages or email, and none of them seem to know the meaning of promptness and courtesy.

            What exactly is world class about?

  19. Anonymous says:

    cig has never had as much money but never had so little ability to tackle the real issues facing cayman.

  20. Anonymous says:

    In before the usual suspects post “they are taking our jobs”!

    • Cayman Time says:

      Ok let me tell you then push come to shove some folks like you need to go HOME!1:28pm instead of the old adage he local so he can find s job!

  21. Anonymous says:

    A very circular argument! Warning that businesses are outsourcing some work to other jurisdictions because the growth in population in Cayman is causing unchecked demand on accommodations, greatly elevating the cost of living.

    So wouldnt outsourcing some jobs reduce the rapid population growth in Cayman, reducing housing pressures and checking the cost of living?

    • Anonymous says:

      It would. But note housing is only one aspect of the problem – delays in getting work permits and the cost of doing business here is another driver. One that’s entirely within the government’s control.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Have never understood why practically everything in Cayman costs 100% more than in the US. It’s not like there is any selection to choose frm.


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