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.
Looking for an undergrad or graduate of Psychology.
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.
Salary: 4000 pesos per month/$276.30 USD per month
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
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.
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
Civil state: Preferably single
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?