For years, most manufacturing in Mexico was concentrated along the northern border due to the simple logistics of transporting goods to the world’s largest global consumer. The border state of Sonora, Mexico, however, has developed a web of manufacturing communities that spread from its center of economic growth, Hermosillo.
The capital of Sonora, may be a three-hour drive south of the Mexico-U.S. border, but Hermosillo offers foreign investors workforce advantages that are hard to pass up. Below we’ll outline the key strengths of the Hermosillo workforce that are attracting foreign investors to manufacture in Mexico.
Availability of workforce in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
The workforce availability in Hermosillo, Mexico, is one key reason that foreign investors have invested in operations in Sonora’s capital city. The trends in local demographics indicate long-term stability for companies that may be facing skilled labor shortages in their home countries. Reliable demographic growth also helps to keep wage growth moderate in Hermosillo, compared to those areas where workforce declines are driving up labor costs.
In 2020, Hermosillo’s population included 936,263 inhabitants (49.9% men and 50.1% women), marking a 19.4% population increase over the past decade. Of this population, more than a quarter of the city’s inhabitants are under 24 years old. The city has also seen some influx of population due to immigration, largely from the United States, another factor providing demographic stability for years to come.
Today, more than 61% of Hermosillo’s population is economically active. In 2021, the city saw unemployment rates of roughly 2.9%, well below the national average. In fact, thousands of people from other parts of Mexico to Sonora each year to take advantage of employment opportunities in manufacturing hubs like Hermosillo.
Hermosillo, Mexico’s skilled workforce
Hermosillo, Mexico, may be best known among manufacturers as the site of Ford’s Stamping and Assembly plant, established in 1986. However, as with most manufacturing centers in Mexico, the automotive industry expertise born in Hermosillo has since attracted a range of other manufacturing sectors areas. The city is earning a reputation as the next up-and-coming aerospace manufacturing center, and has seen tremendous growth in medical device manufacturing in recent years as well. Today almost 60,000 people work in Hermosillo’s manufacturing industry.
Because manufacturing has become so central to Hermosillo, the city and state have made significant investments in training and higher education offerings. These investments are providing graduates with the critical skills needed to help manufacturers boost productivity in the face of a fast-evolving industry. Sonora, Mexico, has 17 universities across the state, while Hermosillo is home to the Universities of Hermosillo and Sonora and two technological institutes. Engineering, manufacturing and construction is the most popular program of study, with more than 12,000 students pursuing degrees in these programs in 2020 alone.
Manufacturers also have resources at hand to help bring new production labor up to speed on complex processes and machinery. Vocational and training programs are available that work closely with local manufacturers to prepare students for high-tech needs in automotive, aerospace and medical device manufacturing. The result is that manufacturers find a varied labor force in Hermosillo, Mexico, with availability of both production labor and salaried employees.
Average wages for workers in Hermosillo, Mexico
The comparatively inexpensive cost of skilled labor in Mexico compared to many other regions is another strength of the Hermosillo, Mexico, workforce. The country’s much lower cost of living allows for highly competitive wages. Cities like Hermosillo, where competition for skilled production labor may be stiffer than more southern states, do command higher wages. In fact, nearly half (45%) of all direct labor workers in Hermosillo earning about 2.7 times the minimum wage. Even so, foreign direct investors can find tremendous cost savings in Hermosillo. Monthly salaries in Sonora, Mexico, averaged $5.94k MX for the first quarter of 2021, $30.5 MX higher than the previous quarter ($5.91k MX), although this varies by industry and level of expertise required.
Research from Tetakawi indicates that wage levels in the state are relatively stable. Compared to many other industrialized areas of Mexico, Hermosillo’s experienced workforce commands a lower rate of compensation. However, manufacturers here find they can best keep costs low by reducing the rate of turnover through strategies that include competitive pay and benefits packages.
How to benefit from Hermosillo’s workforce strengths
A competitive recruitment and retention package will help attract and keep your workforce, but recruiting skilled labor means locating where the workforce is. Fortunately, manufacturers have a new option available with the Rio Sonora manufacturing community. Hermosillo’s newest and most advanced industrial park has a 30-mile radius of available workforce and world-class infrastructure. The park sits only seven miles from the Hermosillo International Airport, nine miles from the Ford plant, and 181 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Rio Sonora manufacturing community is perfectly positioned to help manufacturers launch, operate, and thrive in Mexico. To begin building your Mexico workforce, or learning more about how a location in Hermosillo can help you, contact Tetakawi today.