The lowest paid careers in Mexico: “Education and the ‘boomers’ are responsible”

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The listing of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness shows a predominance of careers linked to teaching among the worst paid. An activist and a former Secretary of Education analyze the wage disparity

Worst paid careers Mexico

The difference in the average salary between the best paid career in Mexico and the worst paid career is 21,000 pesos [around 1,200 dollars], according to the index ‘The 10 most’ prepared by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO). This means that a professional graduate of a Specialty Medicine career can earn more than double than a professional who studied Educational Guidance and Intervention; 35,033 pesos [2,040 dollars] per month versus 13,249 [771 dollars], respectively. Among the first 10 worst paid careers in the country there is a paradox: five are related to education. How is this disparity explained?, Do we define how we will do in the labor market from the moment we choose the career? A labor activist and a former Secretary of Public Education answer.

“To the extent that the supply of graduates from higher education institutions is not sufficiently well aligned with the world of the economy and the world of employment, there is an imbalance. To this day, the curricular concentration of universities in Mexico is high in traditional careers. For example, 55% are in Social Sciences, Humanities, Education, Journalism, Communication. On the other hand, the OECD average is 25%. On the employer side, they complain. According to the latest Manpower report, from the fourth quarter of last year, 63% of employers say they do have vacancies but they do not find the right profiles to hire, either because there are skill and competency gaps, or because they come from careers with low enrollment,” says Otto Granados, education consultant and who was Secretary of Public Education of Mexico between 2017 and 2018.

“How is it possible that education, training and study are the worst paid careers?”, asks Alma Paz, labor activist who gives life to the accounts of La de RH on social networks, dedicated to giving advice to find work and to spread messages in favor of labor rights. For her, the origin of the low salaries of professionals is in the employers. “Not even the companies are fighting, looking for, improving the training of their workers, so this will continue to be reflected in the low salaries they will receive. Through the proposals that have been made both in the Senate and in the Chamber of Deputies, and the negative response of the employers, we realize that there is no interest in improving the quality of life of their workers. I still see a very negative trend,” says Paz in an interview.

In the top 10 of the IMCO list on the professions with the worst remuneration, the career of Educational Guidance and Intervention -which heads it- is followed by: Therapy and rehabilitation [13,249 pesos], Teacher training in basic education at preschool level [14,500], Acquisition of foreign languages [14,518], Work and social care [15,104], Gastronomy and food services [15,359], Sports [15,409], Curricular design and pedagogy [15,702], Teacher training in basic education, primary level [15,764], and Hospitality and tourism [16,024].

For Otto Granados, the predominance of careers related to education in the list of the worst paid is partly explained by the functioning of the national education system, which “delivers jobs without any quality filter or true competition”, through basification. “The majority of those who are studying, especially in public normal schools, know that they have more or less secured their place to enter the national education system. When you occupy that place, you take away someone who comes from a private normal school or a university where they study Education. Since you have to give them automatic placement, as there is no quality filter, you do not give them a chance to enter others who are better”.

But Granados also considers that the detailed breakdown of the remuneration of public education teachers in Mexico is unknown because the average figure reported by the Government – of around 16,000 pesos – does not include the different extra income that education professionals receive. “It is estimated that there may be more than 9,000 payment concepts, the State of Querétaro – exemplifies – has certain payment concepts, but additionally has several more that over the years were agreed with the state governments. Since this information is not concentrated in the Siger (Integral System of Registry Management) we do not know exactly what those payment concepts are in the different states and it explains to a large extent the asymmetries of wage income in the whole country, in such a way that it could be said that the integrated salary of teachers in Mexico is well above those 16,000 pesos average that the federal government has reported”.

Source: El Pais