6 Challenges in Mexico Manufacturing Recruitment

January 25, 2021

Manufacturers looking to hire in Mexico must develop a plan that aligns with local hiring expectations. While you may have a general sense that the area you’re targeting for site selection is home to a large workforce experienced in certain manufacturing specialties, attracting those workers can present some challenges, particularly for foreign investors still becoming accustomed to local norms. 

Below we identify six of the leading challenges derailing manufacturers’ recruitment efforts in Mexico. By understanding these challenges upfront, you can begin to build solutions and partnerships for overcoming these hurdles. 

1. Targeting the right area

Location is everything, particularly when it comes to recruitment. Locating in an area with a large population known for its manufacturing expertise, such as Monterrey, may be ideal for recruiting a more technically skilled workforce. However, recruitment here may command somewhat higher pay and more competitive benefits. That’s one reason many manufacturers opt to locate in the somewhat smaller nearby city of Saltillo, or one of its suburbs. A location like this may provide a more cost-competitive labor force while still offering ease of access to nearby manufacturing resources. 

On the other hand, moving too far out of the city can lead to its own challenges. Large manufacturers may decide they need ample greenfield space upon which to expand and opt for a location just outside a known manufacturing center. Since not all workers may have access to private transportation, this can pose a problem for recruitment. To solve this challenge, some manufacturers opt to bus in workers. This option works most effectively when employers target recruitment to specific neighborhoods. 

2. Knowing where to post job ads

Again, location is critical. Understanding where to post your recruitment advertisements can mean the difference of finding appropriate candidates and silence. In the United States, most job applicants begin their search for work on a job board. In Mexico, the search tends to start on social media. 

Facebook is the top social networking site in Mexico, used by 99% of Statista survey respondents. YouTube (82%) and Instagram (63%) follow close behind. The professional networking site LinkedIn was used by only a quarter of those same survey respondents. That means your recruitment plan must account for targeting social ads to the specific job seekers you want. 

Online job boards are used, if not as predominantly, as are more traditional media, including radio and newspaper ads. A multi-pronged recruitment strategy, keyed into local norms, will always find a greater rate of response than sticking to one site alone. 

3. Gauging competitive rates

One of the benefits that attracts many manufacturers to operating in Mexico is the promise of highly qualified, low-cost labor. However, the most qualified workers will command competitive rates—if you can determine what that might be near your site. Accurate wage information is notoriously difficult to get in Mexico.

Working with a shelter service provider is one strategy many companies use. These experts should be well-versed in market information in Mexico and able to help you access detailed labor data specific to your targeted region.  

For the most complete picture, you’ll also need to know how wages are calculated. To calculate an hourly wage, first, multiply the daily rate by 365 to get the annual pay. Divide the annual pay by the annual hours worked (the weekly hours per shift x 52 weeks per year) to get your hourly rate. 

4. Determining which benefits will set your company apart

If you’re looking to gain an edge in recruiting top talent, then you’ll need to think beyond competitive wages. Benefits are a tremendous way to stand apart, and ensure employee loyalty—and they’re virtually an expectation in Mexico. Tetakawi’s independent field research has found that as many as 90% of manufacturing companies offer benefits beyond the legal requirements. 

While you may find that employers in Mexico offer typical benefits such as cash bonuses, there may be a few benefits that differ from the norm in the United States or other locales. For example, some companies offer grocery coupons, or food cards, that workers can redeem at local stores. Some employers provide supplementary medical insurance or even on-site medical care, a great strategy for reducing turnover. 

5. Gauging rules around hiring 

Are background checks allowed? Are there restrictions on certain interview questions? Hiring practices in a foreign country, like everything else, will have some differences compared to what you’re used to. But knowing these differences is a matter of operating within federal and local labor laws. 

What’s more, labor laws are an evolving thing. Mexico began the process of overhauling its labor laws in 2019, largely around union rules. Working with an HR consultant is perhaps the best way to ensure that your recruitment process is in compliance with all labor laws. 

6. Finding the right fit

While some manufacturing operations may look primarily for low-wage unskilled labors that they can train, others may wish to recruit workers already somewhat well versed in the skills they need to carry out complex manufacturing tasks. Finding the right skillsets doesn’t have to be difficult. Many manufacturers build relationships with local training centers or technical schools to create a pipeline of skilled laborers. Others opt to work within manufacturing communities that provide training on-site, allowing manufacturers to arm their workforce with the skills needed to adapt to changing product lines. 

Recruiting labor that sets you apart

Every business leader knows that what truly sets them apart from the competition is their people. Recruiting and retaining the right labor is critical for ensuring high productivity and mitigating the high costs of future turnover. It’s a challenge no matter where you operate in the world, but operating in a foreign country certainly can make this harder still. 

It’s for this reason that many companies look to Tetakawi to fill anywhere from one to hundreds of direct labor positions. As a qualified service provider with an extensive network of more than 24,000 employees, we help fill positions to ensure clients’ operational continuity. If you’re ready to start building your talent pool, contact Tetakawi today. 



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