The number of outsourcing in Mexico triples

In a decade, the number of outsourced workers in Mexico has tripled; more than three million people work formally under this figure. Therefore, the regulation of outsourcing requires a profound discussion that begins by understanding the reality of this modality and the ways to improve it.

The number of outsourcing in Mexico triples. Image: Pixabay
The number of outsourcing in Mexico triples. Image: Pixabay

"There is variability that is important to know in order to make important decisions in this regard and not to take them in the air. It's important to be clear," says Edith Pacheco, a research professor at the Centro de Estudios Demográficos Urbanos y Ambientales (Cedua) at Colegio México (Colmex).

Graciela Bensusán, professor at Flacso Mexico, believes that you shouldn't take such quick "leaps" without exploring all the options and consequences. "What I would like to see is a very informed debate, very reasoned and that we know where we want to go with employment and where we want to lead the rules of subcontracting," she adds.

For Bensusán, the objective of outsourcing regulation should be to ensure adequate payment to subcontracted workers, the right to "bilateral collective bargaining," social security contributions with real wages and that profit sharing is granted.

Meanwhile, Landy Sánchez, a research professor at Cedua del Colmex, points out that there are currently no concrete data to determine the working conditions of subcontracted workers, although there is no significant difference between the wages paid by subcontracting companies and those that do not.

"It has a lot to do with where they are located, that has to be very clear, who is subcontracting, what companies and what type of activity is being subcontracted. And the hypothesis of what may be behind, that we partially see it, is that this difference is due to the type of tasks that are being taken out of companies," says Sanchez.

The three researchers make up the team that conducted a study on the current panorama of outsourcing in our country to have more elements to help regulate it. In which it is revealed that 74% of the establishments that use outsourcing have subcontracted all the personnel, including the workers that dedicate themselves to the main activities of the company.

In Mexico, the Federal Labor Law prohibits that all the personnel of a work center be subcontracted. However, the study reveals that this is not the case in practice.

In that sense, Graciela Bensusán considers that the first step to regulate the subcontracting of workers is to apply what is already established by the legal framework through inspections. This can be improved with a directory of outsourcing companies and the application of a Mexican Official Norm that establishes the criteria for outsourcing and certifies the companies that provide this service.

"We do need an Official Mexican Standard that will lead to building a certification system for subcontracting companies. I think you can do the standard immediately, the certification of companies and that's where we would have to discuss what we require of a company that subcontracts to make it legal," says the specialist.

Bensusan says that both the certification system and the directory will allow a more timely audit of subcontracting in Mexico.

"Where would we have to reflect more, first discuss whether it makes sense, if necessary, if it is feasible, for example, to limit subcontracting to specialization only. If we are really going to believe that it is possible to prevent subcontracting part of the main activity. I think there are intermediate solutions," she questions.

The professor of Flacso Mexico points out that the distribution of profits is a point for improvement, because Mexico could explore, like other countries, a scheme that allows the outsourcing of the main activities, but ensures the distribution of profits of subcontracted workers.

Current panorama

According to the study, subcontracting has focused on the degree of having sectors with a high intensity of subcontracted workers, such as corporate, financial services, information, and commerce. At the other pole - low intensity - are educational services, business support, and distribution (logistics).

"It is observed that the number of sectors in which it is present is diversified (subcontracting), basically in all of them, the level increases and the presence is consolidated in those where it was already present. What there is, is very clearly a diffusion of subcontracting basically in all branches of the economy," Landy Sanchez explains.

However, the universe of economic units that recognize subcontracted workers is low, just 75,000 establishments. The study, Landy Sánchez explains, corresponds to formal outsourcing.

"In the country, we have around 4.2 million establishments, the first rank to know is that subcontracting is very concentrated because of those 4.2 million establishments, only 75,000 declare hiring personnel provided for another social reason. To a large extent, this is due to the productive structure of the country, where a large majority of companies are micro establishments, not necessarily formal," says the Colmex researcher.

According to Edith Pacheco, large companies tend to outsource more, but with formal mechanisms.

Researchers suggest that the economic census includes a special chapter for subcontracted workers. "It is necessary to make this type of worker visible and to promote that in our surveys we really detect the workers, on the side of the economic censuses, indicated as dependent on another social reason," says Pacheco. "We cannot have their quality of employment," adds Graciela Bensusán.

Source: El Economista

Recommended stories