Having a Job: what it’s like to work in Mexico

Working at a job in Mexico is certainly comparable to working at a job most other places. You have a position, a job schedule, salary, office (maybe) and sometimes a uniform. You get paid for your work and receive benefits according to the laws of your state.

Working in Mexico is also all of these things, but there are a few differences.

1) Unless you’re a government worker (which you cannot be under the law) everyone here works 5.5 days per week. We work Monday through Friday and half day weekend.

2) Everyone gets paid on the 15th and the last day of the month. This means you will often work 16 days for a two-week pay cheque. Your salary is the same regardless.

3) As for pay, anticipate a 75 percent decrease in what you currently make for performing the same job. Mexico is not known for its high salaries. While the cost of living here is cheaper, it’s not cheap, which means making ends meet off a Mexico job is very difficult.

Can I live off a job in Mexico? Only you can answer that. Living Mexico: How to Live in Mexico for $1,000 per month

When I first arrived, an average monthly salary was between 6,000 and 8,000 peso per month (you can do the math if you want this converted into your local currency) for a 40-hour work week. Over the years, things have gotten a bit better in that now, typical jobs will pay between 9,000 and 12,000, but many still pay on the low end.

Jobs that require certification (university degrees, years of experience) will often start at around 10,000 or 12,000 and increase from there. Expert specialty chefs and certified hotel managers, for example, are some of the highest paid employees.

Jobs that require skills and experience along with English and Spanish will generally pay in the area of 10,000 to 14,000 per month. Jobs that do not require any certification or any set skills will pay poorly, around the 8,000 peso per month mark, however, many small companies still offer low salaries because they can. And since there are more people than jobs, those low-paying positions will always (eventually) fill.

Living Mexico: Where to Look for Available Jobs in Mexico

Jobs such as call centers and tour / ticket sellers sometimes offer zero salary but instead, offer a commission split. If job seeking, you’ll notice they rarely post a salary, but will instead say something like “potential to earn 25,000 to 30,000 per month,” which may be true during the six-month high season. The rest of the year, you’re going to starve. These types of jobs have a high staff turn-over, and for good reason.

Jobs such as grocery store baggers, bus boys / waiters and a lot of restaurant staff will also earn a poor salary and be left to earn the balance through tips.

Now, with so many foreigners living here, the local markets are absolutely saturated with fishing / diving / snorkeling / shops, tour companies, hotels, spas, beach clubs, hostels, rooms for rent, property managers and real estate brokers all attempting to hone in on the short-lived “busy” season around the country which has become fiercely competitive.

Living Mexico: Understanding Mexico’s Low Low Season and How to Survive it

Regardless of which job you want or what salary you’re willing to settle on, you will need a work permit to work in Mexico. The only way to get a legal work permit is through Mexico immigration, a process that takes time and money. You can learn more about obtaining a work permit for Mexico here in How to Get a Work Permit for Mexico.

All the best!

Love, Roaming Canadian