At Work in Mexico City

Work Usage in Mexico City

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Business tourism is one of the sectors most important branch and México City is the perfect destine to congresses and conventions. With so many interesting companies operating in Mexico City it is the natural site for important business functions.
The main convention center is the Expo Reforma Canaco. The building is 6,500 square meters and is surrounded by hotels, foreign exchange, restaurants, and tourist sites.

A typical workweek consists of office hours from 8am to 6pm. Lunch usually occurs between 1pm and 3pm and on average last for 1 to 2 hours. Factory hours are quite variable and suit the operation. Many factories, especially maquliadoras, operate on 24-hour shifts (3x8).

Minimum wage in Mexico is currently $53 pesos per day, which is about $5.27 US dollars. The IMSS (Mexican Social Security Institute) shows that the unofficial wage in June 2007 among its 14.5 million registered workers was much higher at $209 per day ($20.80 US Dollars).

Most jobs are advertised, answered by a group of applicants, interviews are held, and the most appropriate candidate is offered the job. At this time, the candidate is usually offered a contract for a specified wage per hour or salary. Other rules like an expectation of how the employee should be paid, dress, and generally performed are also outlined. It is vital to understand and be able to commit to all aspects of the contract before signing.

Rules of termination are also usually stated in the contract and often dictate that an employee must give at least two weeks notice if they intend to quit. An employer must similarly give notice before firing the employee, although they do not necessarily need to have a reason, especially in the first three months of employment which is frequently considered a probation period.

Business Etiquette:

Spanish is Mexico's official language, and business meetings should normally take place in Spanish. English is quite widely spoken in business circles, but it is best to ask before conducting business affairs in anything other then Spanish. Even an attempt to communicate in broken Spanish will be warmly appreciated.

Mexican businesses tend to be very hierarchical and status and position are important. If a Mexican firm's top managers are present at a meeting, they will expect the same from your firm. It is insulting to be met by subordinates. Beware a company sending lower-level management to meet with the CEO of your company, you will be wasting your time.

Names are part of stature, people in Mexico have three names: Their First name, their Paternal name and their Maternal name. Written, they will use all three (or sometimes the third will be abbreviated with the first letter). Verbally, they will generally use the first two.

Professionals with a degree are not referred to as Señor or Señora/Señorita, but with their title: The most common titles are: Licenciado/a (Professional e.g. Lawyer, BSc, etc), Ingeniero/a (Engineer) Doctor/a (Doctor), Arquitecto/a (Architect). If you are unsure whether they have a title (a business card should always carry it) then you should assume a title and use the one that is most likely to represent their trade.

In terms of meeting people, there is a system that varies by sex. Physical contact is an essential element of greeting. Don't let any personal reserve you might have interfere with this process: it is essential to gaining people's trust and understanding in Mexico.
Men Meeting Men: Men always shake hands when they meet and before they depart each other's company. An "abrazo" (hug) is shared between friends; wait for your Mexican contact to lead with this. If, while shaking hands, he pulls you in toward him, follow through with your left arm on his back, and give him a pat on the back.
Men Meeting Women: A formal handshake is appropriate for business when meeting and before departing; some women may learn toward you to kiss; you should follow through with one light kiss on the cheek.
Women Meeting Women: A formal handshake is appropriate, and it is likely that women will kiss on the cheek when they meet and depart. Hugging as above might take place.

Mexicans also have a flexible relationship with time management. People in Mexico are often not on time and tardiness can be due to a range of different things that are always a "good reason". The English are so well known for their punctuality that in Mexico there is a saying, "Hora Inglesa," which means "English Time" and inferences that the time agreed on should be strictly adhered to. For more tips on business etiquette, consult: Buisness Etiquette.

Update 6/09/2008


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