Mexico's coastal communities are a haven for expat pensioners living out their golden years among its tropical beaches, while the country's large cities are a stomping ground for many young expats working in Mexico.

Mexico City has cultivated lucrative industries that are pulling in young and industrious entrepreneurs and professionals. Over the years, the Mexican industry has been integrated into the economies of the US and Canada and has become a common branch location for large international companies.

Expats working in Mexico will find themselves in a colourful and fast-paced business environment that places high value on interpersonal relationships.

Job market in Mexico

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Thanks to cheaper manufacturing and labour costs, many companies that were established in the US have moved and expanded to Mexico. These industries often source management executives and professionals from other countries, particularly for the high-paying occupations of manufacturing plant managers and IT managers. 

There are job opportunities in Mexico's finance, healthcare, telecommunications, tourism and hospitality industries. English teachers at local private schools and learning centres, needing at least a TEFL certificate, also make up much of the expat workforce in Mexico.

Many foreigners are interested in volunteering or finding an internship in Mexico. Volunteering in social, community or environmental projects is a common way of experiencing life in this North American country. This type of work has the bonus of bypassing some complicated work permit paperwork processes for stays shorter than six months, but options are largely unpaid and are done more for the experience than a sustainable work option.

Alternatively, entrepreneurs may set up their own business or find freelance opportunities. There are prospects in IT and consulting services that can be taken advantage of. Being self-employed and running a business can be risky, and we recommend entrepreneurs do their research and seek the guidance of a lawyer or professional with specific knowledge in their field.

Finding a job in Mexico

Finding work in Mexico's formal sector can be challenging. Expats looking for employment in Mexico often end up accepting salaries that are comparatively lower than those in other countries, though this may be balanced out by the lower cost of living

Securing employment before the move is helpful, as the hiring company can arrange visas and work permits. Companies must prove that the expats they hired are not taking jobs that Mexican workers can do. The process seems complicated, but the hiring company undertakes much of the paperwork.

Possessing recognised qualifications and being able to speak Spanish are crucial for expats looking for employment in Mexico, and embassies should be contacted to make sure that the qualifications are officially recognised in Mexico.

The best places to look for jobs are Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Juárez and León. Online job listings are incredibly helpful. Recruitment agencies and relocation companies may be able to provide additional support.

Useful links

Work culture in Mexico

working together

Mexico offers a dynamic business environment, but expats will need to familiarise themselves with the cultural nuances of the working world. 

Business in Mexico is largely built around personal relationships, and networking is central to successful interactions. It’s also important to learn Spanish. Although most executives within large cities will likely be able to speak English, learning the local language will go a long way to integrating into the work environment.

Business hours in Mexico are long: 8am or 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. There is often a two-hour siesta between 2pm and 4pm. 

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