Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jobs in Cancun- The Real Deal

My inbox fills up constantly with people wanting to "live the dream" of moving to paradise. I always reply honestly, that if you are coming here to look for a job, it's going to be a difficult feat. Jobs for foreigners are quite limited, immigration is difficult and competition is high. Aside from that, the hours are long (most jobs are six days a week, 10 hours a day) and the salaries are very, very low. The cost of living is not that much cheaper than Canada or the US, some things may be less expensive, most are about the same or more costly. I would venture to say that most ex-pats I know living in Cancun are not working here, they have income from outside of Mexico or they are retired and living on their savings and retirement plans. It's a whole different ball game when trying to work and live here with a family. Minimum wage in Mexico varies, there are three different regions, though the average is about 52 pesos per DAY. By today's exchange rate, that's $3.60 USD per day. Tough to live on that.

To give you an idea of what the average or above average Mexican is up against in the job market, here's a sampling of job listings, their requirements and the salaries as posted on "CompuTrabajo", a large internet job site. These are all located in Cancun or the state of Quintana Roo.

Personnel Recruiter
Looking for an undergrad or graduate of Psychology.
Gender: Either
Age: 22 to 28
Position will involve the hiring of operations personnel. Applicant will have knowledge of psychometric testing (Machover, Figs, Barsit), initial and deep interviews, recruitment sources. Will be responsible for integrating reports, contracts and expense reports.
Full time
Salary: 4000 pesos per month/$276.30 USD per month

Ambulance Operator
Knowledge of first aid, certified paramedic, driver's license, certificate of basic auto mechanics, we offer help with housing
Salary: 5000 pesos per month/$345.28 USD per month

General Accountant
Looking for a certified accountant. Must have 2 years experience in general accounting and taxes. Well organized with an attention to detail. Knowledge of COI, ASPEL, SAE, BANCOS.
Gender: Either
Age: 25-30
Hours: 8 am to 2 pm then 5pm to 8pm, half day Saturdays
Must have residence in Cancun
Salary: 13000 to 15000 pesos per month/$897 to $1035 USD per month

Pediatric Intensive Therapy Nurse
Level three hospital in Cancun seeks nursing graduates who have finished their social service, with experience in pediatrics and intensive care with newborns. If needed will help with relocation. Excellent opportunities to grow, hiring immediately. Full time
Salary: 8000 pesos per month plus bonus/$551.47 USD per month

Gender: Male
Civil state: Preferably single
Age: 25-35
Degree in law, experience in corporate materials, two years of residency in Cancun
Salary: 9000 to 10000 pesos per month/$619 to $687 USD per month

That is just a peek at what the job situation here is like. Those are not the lowest wages, nor the highest. They are jobs that require a post secondary education and specialized skills. So, if a lawyer or pediatric intensive care nurse are making so little, just imagine what the guy at the front desk of your hotel is getting. Or the man who keeps the flowers so beautiful. Or the woman cleaning your toilet and making your towels into the shape of swans and placing chocolates on your pillows.

So, what would you be willing to work for in order to live in paradise?


Paul said...

Very well written and instructive. I remember a beach vendor on Playa Azul in Margarita Island, Venezuela a couple of years ago who told me he had a great job. Beautiful weather. Fun people to talk to and look at. Lots of English practice. He sold pearl jewelry and seemed happy indeed. I believe he was truly enjoying life in paradise.

Others who worked at jobs in nearby cities which they did not like....well it doesn't much matter if it is in paradise or not. For them, it's still work they do not like. And no matter what quality of life their income can buy them, they still are largely unhappy.

The secret is doing something you enjoy. It doesn't really matter where it is. Changing locations of an unhappy job doesn't really change anything. You'll still be unhappy.

Anonymous said...

I wish that more Americans would understand the realities that most Mexicans live under. This is exactly the kind of thing that prompts people to want to emigrate for a better life, no matter how much they love their country.

Anonymous said...

So you mean that I won't be able to find a job as a nurse in Cancun with a wage I'll feel comfortable living on coming from the States? Even if I just enrolled in a conversational Spanish course here? I know the culture really well...after all, I've stayed at the Royal Sands every year for the past 7. I even eat at La Parrilla every time I visit.

K.W. Michigan said...

Thank you for this posting on wages. Tourists have no idea the wage is so low. A good tip is so important. Twenty five years ago Cancun was a cheap place to vacation .. not anymore! The prices have risen and the wages have stayed the same .. LOW.

Alex said...

I know.. I agree and it sucks, it is SO unfair... :( but you are right on your observations..

Croft said...

Good post! Visitors have no idea how the local people live down here.

We are enjoying Cancun and are at the Mecoloco RV Park for a few days. We will head over to the Isla for a night or two in a hotel. Probably the one Wayne liked (Hotel Las Palmas).

If you are out and about, drop by for a coffee. We are in the Tioga Class C with the BC plates.

Frankly Ronda said...

Great post - thanks for presenting the topic in such an understandable way.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add that not all areas of Mexico are as expensive as Cancun. Housing etc can be much cheaper in different areas - at least that's what all my research has pointed to!

Great post!

mare ad mare said...

I've been to other places, like China, Malaysia... it's shocking to hear how much they survive on per day and their living conditions.

Next time you're buying from a vendor at a vacation place - understand that you as a foreigner are being slightly overcharged for a little knick-knack or doo-dad, but think about what that might mean to this person and their family...

ElleCancun said...

It's kind of depressing...However, at the same time it's like wow - how can ppl do that!!! I don't know if I could budget myself on those wages!!! This should hopefully teach people to TIP, TIP, TIP!!!!!

I know they were taken from postings, and I know they are the real deal, but all my friends and family working here do make quite a bit more. So that is an upside!!!

Great post amiga!!!

Anonymous said...

That is why I dont barter, it always surprises the vendors when I ask how much and they quote the price and I pull out the wallet and give them the first offer. Makes me feel good too.

Thanks for the post CancunCanuck.

We are leaving the 26th of this month for 9 days at the Alux!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Canuck how are you?...Just like to say that Alot of people in Canada are living much poorer than the Av.Mexican..My Plant will be moving to Mx this year and 6000 people will be out of work and we are left holding HUGE mortgages to live close enough to have worked there. Besides all my schooling and mortgage debts we are in debt for half a million with no income arriving. I've sent out 8500 resumes with no results in this economy!! Wow..Not even a Timmies job. MX will be experiencing an over flow of gringos in the years to come...generation X'ers will probly moving toward the simple life!! It's never easy on either side of the fence!! Just my 2 cents with no interest on Keep smiling;)

Anonymous said...

Me again...I forgot to say as well that we have three families living on our property that were laid off first from the plant and already lost there house...two families are living in our garage and one family with one child in our shed..and with such cold conditions here we are using alot of prpane for heat.(-27c)last nite here in Ontario.Bbbrrr. We are all thinking of packing it all in here and moving to warmer climate and become the X-pat clan. My engineering degree doesn't mean squat just depresses the heck out of a person...need sunshine bad!!!

CancunCanuck said...

Paul- I always appreciate your attitude toward life, thank you. I hear people say "Oh, I didn't like that city" or "I hate where I live", but I think it's far more likely that they are not enjoying what they are doing and the people they choose to surround themselves with. It shouldn't matter where you live, as long as you are satisfied with your personal relationships and professional life. Paradise or not, if everything is not balanced, all the beautiful vistas in the world won't bring joy.

MrsBug- I think Americans (and Canadians and others from "first world" countries) would be very surprised to see how most of the world lives. Perhaps then they would be more empathetic to those who wish to emigrate to the US (or Canada or.....). Thanks for the comment.

Melissa- Sure, come on down! You can live in a little villa on the beach, drink margaritas in all your free time and put away a little savings to boot. (Love ya girl, miss you!)

K.W.- True true true! Part of the price increase is certainly the state of the world economy, much of it is greed and some of it is/was actually an attempt at cleaning up the image of Cancun. The days of the cheap vacations brought with them piles and heaps of Spring Breakers and the hoteliers decided they wanted to bring people down who would actually spend some money without destroying the place. But the work goes on, for the same lousy pay, no matter what kind of tourist is here.

Ale- You know it girl, you've seen both sides now. (besos a seƱor cacheton, espero que todo esta bien contigo!)

Croft- Thanks kind sir! Is the Mecoloco down near Puerto Juarez? I know there are the El Meco ruins out there so it's my best guess (see, my logic center is still functioning in my old age, hahahaha). When are you headed to Isla? Too bad Wayne's out of town, he would have shown you a good time!

American Mommy- Gracias amiga, the English teacher in me likes to break it down to a simple form. :)

Beth- That is true, but Cancun has some of the highest salaries in the country. You may find cheaper rent in other towns, but you will be making far less than here too. For instance, the school I work for. It's a "chain" of schools, over 100 in Mexico but each school has its own rate of pay. Cancun is one of the top three locations in terms of salaries. I spoke with one of my coworkers today who used to work at one of the other locations (Oaxaca) and the rate of pay was HALF of what we get in Cancun. So, six of one, half dozen of the other, your rent is lower and so is your pay.

mare ad mare- I think traveling is so important, seeing places that are outside of our "comfort zone". It makes us appreciate what we have so much more. And yes, don't haggle too much over the price of the knick knack, that five dollars you saved could have been a meal for the whole family.

On Mexican Time- I really don't know how people do it, I think it's probably why you see so many large families living in such small places. I know it's possible to make more money here, but it is still not comparable to US or Canada (unless you are hired by a US or Canadian company and paid in that country to work outside). Timeshare can see good money, but only for about half the year and those numbers are dropping. And oh heck yes, TIP TIP TIP!!!!

Gonzo- Bless you, and that's why I love you, heehee. Glad you are making it down for another trip, do I smell Triscuits? LOL!

Anon- I don't think there are many Canadians living poorer than the average Mexican, though I don't dispute that the economic crisis has affected the whole world. Unemployment is one thing, but salaries and wages for those that are working is a different story. The minimum wage in Canada is about 15 times higher than here. Canada has unemployment benefits, welfare and assistance programs to help, the programs in Mexico are few and far between and hard to access. Unemployment here is high and getting higher (like everywhere in the world), but the people don't have the social security system that Canadians are so fortunate to have. Again, I am not disputing that things are bad "up nord der,eh", but just in terms of salaries and pay, things are definitely worse here. I wish you all the best in finding something in this tough time, I can only imagine the stress and the struggle you are going through. BTW, it is possible to get hired in Mexico through Canadian head hunters and work as an engineer, not easy, but possible. My cousin is an engineer and he is currently working in Puebla for Volkswagen, contracted through an American company. Just something to chew on! Sending you some sunshine from down south, I hope things pick up for you and yours soon!

Croft said...

Yes, Mocoloco is out the road past the ruins, towards Punta Sam and the ferry. This is the address they give; KM3 Carretera Puerto Juarez a Punta Sam Cancun Q Roo Mexico.

We are going to Isla tomorrow and leave Cancun on the morning of the 10th.

It would be nice to meet you.


Croft said...

Make that Mecoloco.

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt forget my fellow Triscuit lover now would I.

Heather said...

Great Reality check, just because it looks easy and is beautiful doesnt mean it is easy, right? Great post!

Anonymous said...

Hi well I am a Mexican citizen that lived all his life in the states. Ive been here now for about two years I will tell you it is hard to get a good paying job here in Cancun or in Mexico everything is so underpaid. For alot of the people that live here the tip that you give us really makes a change in our lives.

CancunCanuck said...

Anon- It must have been hard to make the switch to Mexico after your time in the states. You've said it so well, the tips do change lives, it makes a huge difference, sometimes the difference between eating or not. Thanks for stopping by!

3LittleFlowers said...

This is interesting... Our minimun wage is LOWER than Cancun, but those jobs that you are describing are better paid here.

A Personnel Recruiter can get around US$857, even though those that have been working for several years can make the double of that...

How much does a teacher makes in Cancun?? How much does an administrative assistant makes??

CancunCanuck said...

Momto3- Now I'm curious, what is the minimum wage in Dominican? Wages for teachers vary, it all depends on the school (public or private) and the level of education. Some of the teaching wages are pitiful, 6000 pesos a month or less. A good teacher working in a private English school can make about 15000 pesos a month. Admin asst, same thing, depends on where and what exactly you are doing. Working for a small company downtown, you would be lucky to get 5000 pesos a month. Working in a big hotel as an asst to a general manager, maybe as high as 8000, but those are the lucky ones. Thanks amiga!

3LittleFlowers said...

You made me digg down!!! LOL....

Minimum wage for private employees varies depending on the size of the company. I don’t know the exact minimum wage as of 2009, but in 2007 the minimum for a big company was US$210 a month… Imagine that is up to US$250 by this year… And that is for a big company, and that is the salary that people without any degree or special position can get…

Im not sure how much a public teacher makes, but the average teacher in a private school makes between US$571 and US$857… Those are the ones that have a Bachelor and it is the same in Santo Domingo as in Bavaro/Punta Cana… Most schools will pay you extra if you have post graduate or Masters. Technology teachers and other specialized teachers make more. There is one school here where all the teachers have at least one Master, where the minimum salary is US$1714 (that is only ONE school, though)…. Most teachers work from 7:30am to 3:00pm., and lots have private tutoring after that making around US$17 bucks an hour.

The average administrative assistant makes less than a teacher. In a small company they can make around US$285, and in a nice company they can make around US$428 and US$571 to start. There are companies with several levels of assistants, and assistants of important people can make up to US$1600 a month.

The average cleaning lady that goes to people’s houses everyday makes around $142 a month and even LESS!!! A cleaning lady that is known for having a “GREAT” job makes no more than US$285 a month. That is in Santo Domingo… Cleaning ladies in Punta Cana and Bavaro will charge tourists more than that.

Somebody with a good job makes no more than US$2000 a month… That is the average supervisor, manager in a “normal” company, and so on…. Punta Cana and Bavaro pays a bit more, but you cant expect to make over US$3000 unless you have a high position in a big ass hotel.

Unknown said...

Listen my friends...growing up in San Diego and running pretty big business over ther US. Importing good from Mexico and now living in Manhattan. If you know the hustle you can live large here.

Tourism is huge here and I have personal friend who visit me in NYC who hit it out of the park everyday. He call me daily with stock tips.

The strong survive. If you are new and do not know your way you will struggle. A seasoned veteran, or wise person will make it happen. Remember one thing...the best opportunity comes when when wit meets not knowing what you do not know...For those that do not know are the ones who are prayed opon.

You can live here like a king if you are a King. The best part is you can show locals how to do the same.

CatyB said...

as a mexican from Cancun I can tell you if you want to live in a beatiful beach place and make good money and easily get a job...come to the Cayman Islands...I have been here for 4 years and slaries are good it is tax free and the Language is English. it is expensive and a bit boring which is why i want to go back to my beautiful country, but you should check it out

rcv8 said...

Was wondering if anyone can give a update on this information. I would love to move from Houston to Cancun and work at the Ritz or Marriott. But am concern about the pay scale and if I can live on it. Do not want to ask them the pay scale until I come down and interview, but do not want to interview and spend the trip money if I can not live on the income. My partner is from Mexico so that will be a big help adjusting to live in Cancun

pinkyT67 said...

I took my 17 yr old daughter to Riviera Maya this past April and although we stayed at a very nice all-inclusive resort I never ordered a drink, had a meal, took a ride on a golf cart, left my messy room, etc etc without leaving a tip!!! Yes are trip was exspensive but in retrospect $30-$40 a day in tipping =$280 for the week. Is that going to break me? no but the $10 tip for dinner or daily $5 maid tip plus an xtra $20 when we left made that person so happy it was incredible. I was apalled at the amount of people who did not tip, really people??? these people work hard everyday and don't take a week off to fly to some beautiful destination, they are barely surviving.
I am also amazed at the discrimination shown in the job postings, unreal. I know my daughter learned a valuable lesson on how good it feels to give when one is able to, yes it changes lives.

Unknown said...

Where r u now Kelly still in cancun, I'm older looking for a beautiful place to work but after reading this hmmmm... Not sure where to start I too, am a Kelly . LOL please reply

D is for Dengue, Depression and Dread

I'm currently sitting in my Cancun apartment, staving off the Covid 19 panic and using all my Jungle Kelly powers to maintain my cal...