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A Look at the Mexican Manufacturing Workforce in Ciudad Juárez

One of Mexico’s strongest assets that it offers international business is an abundance of available labor. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the Mexican manufacturing workforce of Ciudad Juárez. The city’s labor pool is teeming with both high-skill and low-skill labor. This creates an ideal climate for “nearshoring” manufacturing operations in Mexico. The education infrastructure in place contributes to this climate, and, as a 60+ year old system, the maquiladora manufacturing situation in Mexico has matured to provide a well-trained, highly qualified, and multi-generational pool of vibrant manufacturing talent for nearly any industry seeking to set up shop in Juárez.

Juárez boasts a significant population overall – it is the second the largest border city in North America after Tijuana – with nearly 1.5 million inhabitants. Well over twenty-five percent of these people are employed in the three hundred plus maquiladoras in the Mexican manufacturing workforce of the region, and more enter the labor market at a rapid rate – in fact, over 20,000 new Mexican manufacturing laborers entered the workforce in 2012 alone. Approximately 75% of labor in this field is comprised of women. The average manufacturing plant worker is in her mid 20s.

Mexicans in Ciudad Juárez achieve higher levels of education than is the national average. Nearly half of the local population over 14 years of age has finished middle school, and a third of the Mexican manufacturing workforce available there have graduated from high school. Literacy in the Ciudad Juarez is exceptionally high. Over 97% of citizens over 15 years of age are able to read and write. With thirteen technical/vocational schools and ten universities located in the city, educating approximately 27,000 students each year, industrial leaders from all over the world find ample and more-than-satisfactory Mexico manufacturing talent to draw upon to propel their companies’ strategies and enhance their bottom lines. With an eye to offer even better and more prepared talent to manufacturers, Mexico has established specialized linkage programs between schools and industries to provide students with industry-specific training that ranges from moderately skilled to highly technical training.

Additionally, the Mexican manufacturing workforce in Ciudad Juárez is extremely stable and settled in their experience and reliability. Maquiladora workers typically receive “fringe benefits” far exceeding the standard 29% US bonus rate – usually about 40% of total compensation. This has had the effect of attracting and retaining high numbers of highly qualified workers for manufacturing jobs. Though there are no active labor unions on the scene in Juárez, employees frequently receive generous perks and incentives to encourage a driven and content workforce in this manufacturing haven.

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This quarterly publication will be populated with content that is useful and relevant to readers that are contemplating Mexico investments, have operations already within the Republic, as well as to other individuals that have an interest in Mexico and its manufacturing sector.