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Demand for Leadership Growing in Mexico’s Automotive Sector

exeqfind | 22.10.2013

The US auto industry’s dominant position in Detroit and the Midwest began to erode in the 1980s when foreign automakers began building more and more automotive plants in the Southern US.  This was driven primarily due to weaker labor unions and lower labor costs.

The US auto industry’s dominant position in Detroit and the Midwest began to erode in the 1980s when foreign automakers began building more and more automotive plants in the Southern US.  This was driven primarily due to weaker labor unions and lower labor costs.

A recent report on the auto industry from the Brookings Institution is showing that the Southern US is now seeing much of that employment going further south to Mexico.  The report was championed to serve as a case study on competitiveness for Tennessee’s automotive industry.

The past five years have shown a steadily increasing amount of investment that is signifying a new trend with Mexico in the driver’s seat for that change.   We (The QualiFind Group) experienced this first hand back in 2002 when we were engaged to assist Toyota in hiring the management team for their Tacoma plant in Tecate, Baja California.  Since that time, both foreign and domestic auto makers have been increasing their footprint south of the US border.

The Brookings report measured job losses and gains in six regions:  US, Canada, Mexico, the US Midwest, the US South and the state of Tennessee.  The numbers further illustrate this migration as follows:

Share of Automotive Jobs in North America 2000 2012 Change from 2000 to 2012
United States 64.5% 53.4% -11.2%
Canada 8.4% 7.5% -1.3%
Mexico 27.1% 39.1% +12.1%
Midwest 39.5% 29.7% -9.7%
South 16.7% 18.2% +0.4%
Tennessee 2.9% 3.3% +0.4%

The above numbers reflect data available in 2012 which would suggest that the data’s accuracy is closer to that of late 2011.  Since that time, Mexico has announced new automotive facilities for Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Honda, Mazda and Nissan.

We are seeing this trend first hand as we take on new search assignments for management and leadership talent throughout Mexico.   In some sectors of the market we have seen employers lacking organizational depth and / or awareness of their employment brand simply unable to hire at the level they need or prefer simply because they are unable to compete with the larger OEMs or suppliers.

How do you see the current supply of A-grade leadership talent in Mexico?

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