Saturday, August 23, 2008

Underemployment, a critical situation in Mexico and developing countries

Economic trends in the world are causing problems in developing countries. In Mexico, underemployment is a important phenomenon, but curiously it is not easy to know how many people is underemployed due to the lack of statistics and research about this.

And even if some sources claim that the number of underemployed people is decreasing, it's a dramatic situation that people with specialized skills have to search for jobs that are not what they were trained for. I do not believe this because I found humiliating for this persons to have a lower skills job, but because if they are trained to do a specialized job and possibly to earn a little more than a person who does not have higher skills, then it is difficult to maintain certain level of living they expected to have.

Besides, in Mexico the wages are lower than in developed countries in any range of jobs. An electrical engineer is sometimes offered 400 dollars a month, while in USA the lowest wage is 4,000 dollars. The difference is abysmal. And the lower a position is in skills, the wages are almost non existing.

Our country lacks of a strong strategy to avoid underemployment and unemployment. There has been different policies, but not a continuous and well analyzed plan. In various states of Mexico there are different levels of development and then it's difficult to make a policy that is useful for all. It is not impossible if the governments of this states cooperated with the federal government, but this is not happening.

And Mexican government is still wondering why so many people tries to migrate to USA, Canada or other developed countries.


Anonymous said...

As a student of economics studying your country, I have to agree that underemployment is an issue that needs more attention in Mexico.

Just posting to say that I enjoyed your article and hopefully Mexico will see less underemployment in the future - if the government can do something about it!

kary.journalist said...


Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind words.

I really expect Mexican government to move, particularly in this crisis that is affecting the whole world, if not, I think many more people will be in poverty... :(

Hope For The People said...

I have served for 9 years as a volunteer engineer for water supply in Jalisco State. I have conducted village surveys of needs quite often which I in turn present to the municipio president for possible action. Never, have I seen any office of the government collect data on unemployment or under employment in these rural villages. My sense is that unemployment is often low due to frustrated workers leaving their village. Many villages I know have up to 50% of the homes empty. It is said many have gone to the USA or Guadalajara. Underemployment in these rural villages in my mind may be on the order of 50%. Most people in these villages have NO regular work. The people seem to not think of this as unemployment but just how things have always been. There are people also who due to living in an environment of work only a day or two a week tend to accept this as normal and thus do not seek work until they have a bill to pay, as with January when annual water bills and taxes come due.

Dr. Todd Stong