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Working in Mexico

Your Guide on Jobs and Finding Work in Mexico

Working in Mexico as a foreigner is possible, but it comes with challenges. Did you know that asking personal question is a must in business environments? Here we will give you the answer to everything you need to know about finding a job and the work culture in Mexico.

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If you are a relocating without a secure job but intend to get one, understanding the Mexican job market, will be high up in your list of priorities. Want to know how to find a job in Mexico? In this section, we tell you everything you need to know about employment in Mexico, from how long are the typical working days to the average salary, and how social security works. We will also discuss working as a self-employed person, for those who want to set up a business or work in a freelance capacity. Read on if you are not sure where or how to start your job hunt in Mexico.

How to Get a Job in Mexico

Are you wondering how to get a job in Mexico as a foreigner? The first thing you should know is that finding work for extranjeros is not particularly easy, but it is also not impossible.

In general, finding work abroad is a lot more challenging than finding a job in your home country. This is because there is so much more, time, effort, and research that you will have to invest to properly understand the market needs, migratory requirements, and other factors that will come up along the way. In Mexico, you also have to add the language barrier element: If you are not fluent in Spanish, you will have limited options.

 How to Apply for a Job in Mexico as an Expat

You have to bear in mind that it will be more difficult to find a job in Mexico if you are not a citizen or permanent resident. Additionally, salaries lower than, for instance, the US. However, the cost of living is much lower.

If you are starting your Mexican job hunt, one the first steps is to polish your CV. Below we compiled a succinct list of tips for a Mexican-style CV.

CV Tips for Mexico

  • Do not add unnecessary information, such as studies you did in elementary, middle, and high schools.
  • List your work experience before you add your education background.
  • Start from your most employment list with your most recent job. Include internships and significant volunteer work.
  • Use action verbs when describing your duties and responsibilities.
  • Highlight your accomplishments in your social service, professional training, or previous employment. Add information that shows where you developed skills.
  • In Mexico, education is highly valued; explain, in detail, college activities, including awards and descriptions of all courses and training sessions.
  • Make sure to add your additional skills, such as language and computer skills. Include your level of proficiency.
  • Try to keep your CV to one page, you may extend it to two pages if necessary.
  • If you are submitting your resume in Spanish, make sure you a native speaker proofreads it.

Eligibility for Working in Mexico

To get a job in Mexico, the principal eligibility factor is that must hold a temporary or permanent visa, with work permissions from the INMM or Instituto Nacional de Migración (National Institute of Immigration).

Another determining factor is your language skills. If you have a good level of Spanish, you will have better chances of securing a job in the country. There are some employment options available for non-Spanish speakers. For instance, in recent times, multinationals and start-ups started using English as the main working language.

Interview Tips

There is no such thing as over-preparing for a job interview. There are some things you must always do before a job interview. For example, make sure you find out information about the company you are interviewing. This is essential for a few reasons, such as showing how your experience and skills are in line with the requirements for the position.

Mexican job interviews usually include both formal and informal elements. A good tip is to think of the interview as a “conversation” through which the interviewer will determine if you meet the requirements and are a good match.

In your interview, you should aim to convey that you are flexible, culturally sensitive, adaptable, and that you are perseverant and motivated. All these are traits valued in Mexican business culture. You should also show knowledge of Mexican history, politics, and culture.

Although Mexicans are not necessarily punctual in social contexts. In business environments, punctuality is not only appreciated, but it also expected. Therefore, you should aim to arrive with some time to spare, so you have enough time to go through building security, get to the floor you need to, etc. Do not forget to turn off your cell phone.

Networking Tips

Even though in general Mexican are friendly and relaxed people, you should not lose sight of certain culturally relevant aspects of your interactions, so you can maximize your work relationships.

General Social Tips

In initial encounters, Mexicans are polite and respectful. However, they tend to interact in a personal manner that expats from more reserved cultures, such as Sweden or Japan, may find uncomfortable. For instance, it is not unusual for Mexican to ask personal questions, about family, hobbies, etc. Be aware that some levels of physical contact are usually expected. This could be in the form of a handshake or a small hug. Sometimes people kiss on the cheek, but it is normally only between women, or a man and a woman.

Controversial Topics

One thing you must keep in mind is that national politics can be a sensitive issue and should be brought up in a careful and conscientious way. Something that is quite characteristic of the Mexican people is that they are very conversational and appreciate opportunities to engage in respectful discussion on all kinds of subjects.

Manners in Mexico City

People are generally quire courteous and polite. For instance, in Mexico, table manners are very important. Before you start eating or uf you need to leave the table while other people are still dining, say “buen provecho,” which is the equivalent of saying “enjoy” or “bon appétit”.

The Dress Code in Mexico City

Regarding the dress code, the main thing is to look neat and like you made an effort. You do not need to wear a suit and tie (although many people do), but you should be well groomed.

Job Opportunities in Mexico for Foreigners

What is the best way to get a job in Mexico as a foreigner? The opportunities you get in teh country will depend a lot on your CV and your previous experience. In other words, the more skilled you are in your field, the more opportunities will be available to you.

A great employment possibility for expats is teaching English as a second language (TEFL/TESOL). In 2009, the Mexican government started the Programa Nacional de Inglés en Educación Básica (PNIEB). The goal of the program is to significantly increase English language proficiency in the public education system. This is done via English lessons for students from kindergarten all throughout secondary school. To accomplish this, the government must recruit and train more than 80,000 English teachers.

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Minimum wage and average salary

The average salary in Mexico is about 120 MXN per day (6 USD). As low as this seems, the minimum wagewas increased in 2019 by 16% and then again in 2020 by 20%. Know that towns near the border have a slightly higher rate to be more competitive with the US.

What is a Good Salary in Mexico?

Depending on the areas where you want to live and your standard of living, you can live comfortably on 19,500 MXN (900 USD) per month. On the other hand, if you want to live in the city center in Mexico City, you will need to earn over 40,000 MXN (1,800 USD) per month just for rent, which will be your largest expense.

Average Annual Salary

The average salary in Mexico before deductions is 610,000 MXN (28,315 USD) per year. This works out to 51,000 MXN (2,360 USD) per month or 285 MXN (14 USD) per hour.

The Most In-demand Jobs and How Much they Pay

We have compiled a list of some jobs that are in high demand in Mexico and how much they pay on average.

POSITION MXN USD
Teacher 510,000 22,500
Accountant 420,000 18,500
Nurse 495,000 21,850
Software Engineer 500,000 22,150
Architect 575,000 25,500
Marketing Manager 1,515,000 67,000
Product Manager 810,000 35,850
Web Developer 550,000 24,350
UX Designer 321,000 14,200

Self-employment

One of the easiest ways to be self-employed is through freelancing where you can manage your time without having to be in an office from 8 to 6, or longer. In Mexico, in the past years, there has been an important growth in the number of professionals that choose this path. Below is a look at the most popular freelancing positions in Mexico.

Top Self-Employed Jobs in Mexico

In Mexico, most expat freelancers work in the following fields:

  • Web design
  • Content writing
  • Translations
  • Project management
  • Graphic design
  • Marketing strategy
  • Virtual admin assistant

As you know, self-employment has huge risks: you do not have secure monthly paychecks, nor holiday leave or social security benefits. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to manage your own time and be your own boss.

As well the abovementioned job, other typical self-employed jobs in Mexico are:

  • handcrafting;
  • traders;
  • entrepreneurship;
  • commerce;
  • business owners;
  • service providers (g. lawyers, designers, architects);
  • comercio ambulante (people who move around selling their products, in markets or the streets).

A disadvantage of being self-employed in Mexico is that you have no social security or health coverage. In Mexico, employees and employers pay for health services out of their monthly payments, as well as private pensions; as self-employed, those contributions are not mandatory, but advisable.

For healthcare, you can voluntary enroll with the Mexican Institute of Social Security known as IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social). The benefits of doing so are:

  • medical attention for yourself and your family (includes hospitals, rehabilitation and sometimes medicines);
  • pension savings;
  • pension in case of disability or death.

If you set up a business and have people working for you, it is mandatory to have them enrolled. If you fail to do so, the penalties are very high.

For health purposes, you could get a private health insurance that adapts to your needs.  For more detailed information on this topic, read our section: Health Insurance and the Healthcare System of Mexico Explained

Is Opening a Business in Mexico as an Expat Difficult?

If you have the right visa, opening a business should not be more challenging than it is for any Mexican. There are more than 4 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Mexico. They generate over 70% of the jobs and contribute to more than 50% of the country’s GDP. For these reasons, via multiple programs, the Mexican government fosters the creation of SMEs in all sectors and sizes.

Basic Steps for Setting Up a Business in Mexico

  • You will need to provide proof of adequate land use (g. commercial, offices, mix use).
  • If you are opening a commercial establishment, it must be done through the local council.
  • You will need a license to operate(e.g. if you will sell alcohol).
  • You must register your business with the Mexican tax authorities

The Mexican government has made attempts to speed up the process of establishing new businesses.However, it could still be quite a difficult procedure if you do not fully understand the system and don’t have a good grasp of Spanish. Seeking expert advice is recommended. Find out how our settling-in services can help you in this stage of your relocation. Also, visit our Self-employed visa section on: The Guide to Visa Types and Work Permit Requirements to learn details on how to obtain your necessary permissions.

Business Culture

Mexican business and working Culture may be a little different than your home country. Be aware that in this Latin country, social and business etiquette are very much intertwined. Also, be prepared to get personal, and brush up on your social skills, because Mexicans will only do business with you if they like you on a personal level. For this reason, being good at developing relationships is important when it comes to Mexican business and the workplace.

To help you be successful at creating these relationships, we have compiled a list with a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Many Mexican businesspeople speak English. However, it is still advisable for foreigners to learn basic phrases in Spanish like gracias (thank you), por favor (please), and disculpe (excuse me).
  • Do not use first names unless specifically told to do so. Instead, address people by Señor (Mr.), Señora (Mrs.) or Señorita (Miss), followed by their last name.
  • While friends hug or kiss each other on the cheek, strangers shake hands when greeting each other and saying goodbye.
  • Although in many cultures it is considered inappropriate to ask personal questions, in Mexico, you will have to be friendly and warm, and ask about personal aspects of the other person’s life. For instance, people at the workplace typically ask about family, friends, customs, and hobbies.
  • Hierarchy is a crucial part of the business culture. Top executives make the important decisions, and they expect to do business with executives who are at the same level.

Mexico Workplace Culture and Dress Code

In business contexts, it is advisable to dress more on the conservative side. Dark suits and ties for men are the best option. To be safe, women should also wear formal business attire. Avoid jeans, low-cut shirts, and miniskirts or tight skirts.

Social Security and Benefits

You must have a Mexican Social Security Number in order to apply for the Mexican Social Security Medical Insurance. Applying for a Social security Number in Mexico is easier online. You need to have your Unique Population Registry Code (Clave Única de Registro de Población), known as CURP number and an email address. Your CURP is a unique identity alphanumeric 18-character code mandatory for both citizens and residents. To apply in person, you will also need your birth certificate, form of ID, and in some circumstances, a power of attorney.

What is Social Security Number in Mexico

In Mexico, the Social Security Number is called Número de Seguridad Social (NSS). It is unique, permanent and non-transferable and is assigned to keep a record of workers and policyholders.

How to Get a Social Security Number in Mexico

You can obtain or locate your NSS online or apply for it in person.

Online: The online service is available here, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In person: You must attend your corresponding Subdelegación u Oficina Auxiliar de Afiliación y Cobranza, from Monday to Friday on working days for the IMSS, from 08:00 to 15:30.

Can a Foreigner Get a Social Security Number?

In short, yes, you can get one. The first step is to get your CURP. It is a unique identification number assigned to anyone residing in the country. Your unique CURP is yours for life.

If you live in Mexico and have a Temporary Resident Card or Permanent Resident Card you must apply for your CURP. Obtaining it is free of cost.

Be aware that you should get this done as soon as possible, as you will need it. The CURP is required in many situations, for instance, when you apply for a driver’s license or when you file taxes. You will also require a CURP for any social security benefits, including healthcare schemes.

Which Documents Will You Need to Obtain Your Social Security Card in Mexico?

Please note that only the INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración) can issue a CURP to non-Mexican citizens.

You will need the following documents:

  • Original and a copy of your passport
  • Your resident card
  • The CURP request letter

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Maternity Leave

Is maternity leave on your mind? If you are planning on having a baby in Mexico, you will be interested to know about maternity leave, how long it will be, and the benefits that it carries. Read on to find everything you need to know for this important stage in your life.

How long is Maternity Leave in Mexico?

As established by the Mexico Federal Labor Law, maternity leave is 12 weeks. This is divided in two stages, six weeks previous to the birth and 6 six weeks post-birth). In Mexico, it is possible to negotiate the pre-birth period of maternity leave. It is not unusual to agree with the employer on a longer period of maternity leave after the birth, so you can spend more time with the baby at home.

Maternity Leave Benefits in Mexico

In the maternity leave period, the IMSS (Mexican Social Security Institute) will pay the mother 100% of her daily salary. If, for any reason, the maternity leave period extends to longer than  12 weeks, the mother will be paid 50% of her daily salary for up to 60 days.

Paternity Leave and Benefits

Unfortunately, in Mexico, paternity leave is almost non-existent. The Federal Labor Law establishes that a male employee is only entitled to 5 working days of paternity leave.

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Updated on: June 29, 2020
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