Language, Culture and the Work Force in Mexico

Tracy Nakano's Mexico Website

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Language and Culture/Global Workforce

Language and Culture
The major language spoken in Mexico is obviously Spanish.  The thing that you may not know is that there are more than 60 other indiginous languages recognized by the government as national languages of Mexico.  To provide an idea of the variety of language in Mexico, refer to the chart below which was taken from the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia' in 2005.
Indigenous languages of Mexico
Nahuatl (Mexicano, Mexicanero, Nahuat, Nahual, Melatahtol)1,376,026Cuicatec (Nduudu yu)12,610
Yucatec Maya (Maaya t'aan)759,000Yaqui (Yoreme)14,162
Mixtec (Tu'un sávi)423,216Q'anjob'al10,833
Zapotec (Binizaa)410,901Tepehua (Hamasipini)10,625
Tzeltal Maya (K'op o winik atel)371,730Pame (Xigüe)9,768
Tzotzil Maya (Batsil k'op)329,937Mam (Qyool)8,739
Otomí (Hñä hñü)239,850Chontal de Oaxaca (Slijuala sihanuk)5,534
Totonac (Tachihuiin)230,930Chuj2,143
Mazatec (Ha shuta enima)206,559Tacuate (Mixtec de Santa María Zacatepec) (Tu'un Va'a)2,067
Ch'ol (Mayan) (Winik)185,299Chichimeca jonaz (Úza)1,987
Huastec (Téenek)149,532Guarijío (Makurawe)1,905
Chinantec (Tsa jujmí)125,706Chocho (Runixa ngiigua)1,078
Mixe (Ayüük)115,824Pima Bajo (O'odham)836
Mazahua (Jñatho)111,840Q'eqchí (Q'eqchí)835
Tarascan (P'urhépechas)105,556Lacandón (Hach t'an)731
Tlapanec (Me'phaa)98,573Jakaltek (Poptí) (Abxubal)584
Tarahumara (Rarámuri)75,371Matlatzinca/Ocuilteco (Tlahuica)522
Amuzgo (Tzañcue)43,761Seri (Cmiique iitom)518
Chatino (Cha'cña)42,791Ixcatec406
Tojolab'al (Tojolwinik otik)43,169K'iche'286
Popoluca (Zoquean) (Tuncápxe)54,004Kaqchikel230
Chontal de Tabasco (Yokot t'an)43,850Paipai (Akwa'ala)221
Huichol (Wixárika)35,724Cucapá (Es péi)206
Mayo (Yoreme)32,702Mototzintleco (Qatok)186
Tepehuán (O'odham)31,681Kumiai (Ti'pai)185
Trique (Tinujéi)24,491Pápago (Tohono O'odham)153
Cora (Naáyarite)17,086Kikapú (Kikapooa)144
Popoloca (Oto-manguean)18,926Ixil108
Huave (Ikoods)15,993Cochimí (Laymón, mti'pá)96
Aguacatec27Kiliwa (Ko'lew)55
Business in Mexico
Mexico has a very strong and thriving economy, currently ranked 14th largest in the world.  Some of the main industries that are consistently thriving in Mexico are agriculture, energy and mineral sources, and tourism. 
Another industry that is gaining popularity in Mexico is outsourcing.  Automobile manufacturers, most notably Toyota, have outsourced their automobile production to Mexico for the availbility of cheap labor.  IT support is also being outsourced to Mexico as opposed to the more popular outsourcing destinations of China and India.  Other IT companies, such as the telecommunications industry have also begun to outsource to Mexico.  Millions upon millions of cellular phones are now produced in Mexico and distributed by companies such as LG and Research in Motion.
The following charts are taken from the study "Doing Business 2010 Mexico" published by The International Bank.
Mexico's ranking in Doing Business 2010
Mexico - Compared to global good practice economy as well as selected economies:
Doing Business 2010Rank
Ease of Doing Business51
Starting a Business90
Dealing with Construction Permits37
Employing Workers136
Registering Property99
Getting Credit61
Protecting Investors41
Paying Taxes106
Trading Across Borders74
Enforcing Contracts81
Closing a Business24
When doing business with any foreign country, it is important to note the customs and traditions of doing business in that country.  A couple of keys to note when doing business in Mexico are the following:
    -    If you have a meeting with someone in Mexico, don't assume that they will speak english or spanish.  Have someone on hand that speaks both langauges.
    -    Business hierarchies are very important in Mexico.  Make note of the various titles and roles of each person in a business setting
    -    Being on time and punctual is considered very important.  Make sure to arrive early to meetings or events.
I would advise that before proceeding with any business in Mexico or any other country to do research on the custom both business and other.  The following link is a website devoted to Mexican business customs.
Global Workforce
The workforce of Mexico is as diverse as it's rich culture.  The majority of the workforce works in the services industry (58%), followed by the Agriculture Industry at approximately 20%.  The remainder of the workforce is diversified among a variety of industries.  The workforce is fairly stable at approximately 45 million with skilled workers and women being two of the fastest growing sources of labor.
One of the fastest growing industries in Mexico is the outsourcing industry.  With skilled labor similar to the US, but at much cheaper prices, it is an obvious source for outsourcing for US companies.  Mexico is currently the 9th largest country for outsourcing, but is the fastest growing among the top 10.  The automobile industry has been outsourcing to Mexico for years moving their production sites to the country. 
From an IT perspective, many companies such as Accenture, Microsoft, and GM have outsourced some of their IT services to Mexico.  These companies have found that the availabity of skilled and inexpensive workers across the boarder has allowed them to move their workfroce closer to home, rather than India or China, and still have the cost savings that outsourcing can provide.
One thing that is important to keep in mind when outsourcing to Mexico is that they have different intellectual property laws, and do not fall under the Sarbanes Oxley compliance laws of US companies.  This is especially true when companies like Microsoft are outsourcing software testing and development to Mexico.  Microsoft in particular has been working closely with the Mexican government to help strengthen is IT legislature.