The poor skill level of the workforce is a key factor behind Mexico’s disappointing economic performance. The education level of the Mexican workforce is well bellow of OECD average. And those skills that workers have are frequently not what employers are looking for. Some 30.9% of Mexican employers report facing difficulties in finding people with the skills needed for their vacancies.
Poor education outcomes are not made up for in the labour market which is characterized by low-technology activities. Workers that join the labour market rarely connect themselves with high-tech activities. This is due to the low level of innovation of the Mexican economy. Among OECD countries, Mexico scores poorly on measures such as patents and top scientific publications and both public and private R&D investment are well bellow. The current government has made a commitment to raise R&D intensity to at least 1% of GDP. This effort will have to be accompanied by private investment and greater training of Mexicans in technological fields.
In fact, obstacles to boosting the country’s innovative potential include a weak domestic research base. A well-educated workforce is essential for an innovative economy as it enables firms to invent and adopt new products and services, but also to undertake organizational change and to develop new processes to adapt to changes over time. The skills associated with innovation include specialised knowledge, general problem-solving and thinking skills, creativity, and social and behavioural skills, including teamwork. Many of these skills need to be acquired through formal education. It is important to continue investing in workers that are already in the labour market to improve their skills.
Based on materials of document «Mexico policy priorities to upgrade the skills and knowledge of Mexicans for greater productivity and innovation», May 2015, OECD.