Meet Cecilia Diaz

In our series of interviews with AIMS partners in other countries, the turn has come to Cecilia Diaz, Managing Partner at AIMS International Mexico. She talks about what it is like to work as an Executive Search consultant in the Mexican market and about how she and her colleagues have a strong focus on, among other things, technology with the important tech hub in Guadalaraja and supporting international clients.

Mexico is Sweden’s second largest export market in Latin America after Brazil. The first Swedish companies appeared over 100 years ago, such as Ericsson, which was established in 1904. There are over 150 Swedish or Sweden-related companies with operations or representation in Mexico. Half of these are subsidiaries, half of which in turn have production in the country, including exports to third countries.

Swedish companies employ a total of more than 100,000 people in Mexico and the largest employer is Autoliv with about 13,000 employees around the country. We export telecom equipment, medical products, vehicles, including vehicle components. Sweden imports, among other things, internal combustion piston engines, telecom equipment, coffee and alcohol.

What is Mexico’s economy like?

Mexico´s diversified economy, including hi-tech industries, oil production, mineral exploitation, construction, aerospace and manufacturing is among the world’s 15 largest economies and is the second largest economy in Latin America. (Brazil is the fist one)

How is the overall situation in Mexico after over a year of the Covid-19 pandemic?

According to the IMF, GDP contracted by an estimated -8.2% in 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Nevertheless, IMF’s April 2021 forecast projects a growth of 5% for 2021 and 3% for 2022, subject to post-pandemic global economic recovery. Although the COVID-19 created significant challenges, the agricultural sector has been one of the more privileged sectors in Mexico.

Output in service-related activities (including trade and transportation) dropped 5.2 percent in Mexico, while goods-producing industries (including manufacturing, construction, and utilities) fell 0.5 percent while Agricultural output increased 4.4 percent.

Describe the development of Mexico as a new hub in IT and tech development.

Mexico’s IT outsourcing industry has been growing at an annual rate of 10%-15% and is now considered the third-largest exporter of IT services ($21 billion+ IT exports).Social, technological and economic factors are contributing to an explosion of innovation and technology development in Mexico, making the country a prime hub for global organizations implementing artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (Iot), cybersecurity and cloud solutions.

Supported by higher education, a growing middle class, and women’s participation in the economy, Mexico’s workforce offers superior English and Spanish language skills, proximity to the U.S. and Canada, convenient time zones, and a collaborative culture with more than 650,000 working technology professionals, and a technology workforce expanding three times faster than the global average, Mexico is primed to support international technology development.

Mexico now has the largest fintech environment, tech start-ups have tripled since 2010 as well as government and VC investment in the startup ecosystem. In addition, Mexico’s working age population is projected to be 68% by 2033, more than any other LatAm nation, according to (ResearchAndMarkets.com)

Guadalajara- the IT hub. How has the development been continuing since the start? Where is Mexico today as a tech hub?

The state of Jalisco is the first technology outsourcing destination chosen by the big makers of semiconductors of the Silicon Valley. As early as the 1960s, the IBM-like players were attracted by Jalisco’s education level, affordability, and government subsidies.

Since Guadalajara was chosen by the Federal Government and MIT to be the new Digital Creative City, gave the city significant funds to invest in building the infrastructure to host new IT Companies, the city became the core of Mexico’s IT software industry. Its robust telecommunications  infrastructure has also fostered significant growth, with some of the world’s largest high-tech companies, such as IBM, HP, Intel, Oracle, and Continental, calling it home.

The area ranks fourth in foreign direct investment which comes mainly from the United States, Germany, Spain, Japan, India, and China. Its cultural richness and economic vitality also make it one of the most cosmopolitan areas in the country, offering a high quality of life to its citizens

In what areas do you see the highest demand for Executive Search and Talent Management services in Mexico?

The industries with more demand for ES are Media & Technology; Agribusiness and Industrial (Electronics, TELECOM); the positions (which can be in all industries) that have had a growth in search demand are those related to e-commerce and digital market at different seniority levels.

Regarding Talent Management, unfortunately due to the pandemic many companies have stopped investing and aimed on the development beyond the technical training of their teams. A great area of opportunity to specialize in is Succession Planning since in Mexico 70% or more of the companies are family owned, there are large companies already in 2nd or 3rd generation, institutionalized that have not worked yet on their succession plan and replacement schedules in case of loss of talent in a key position, this is situation generates a very interesting opportunity to develop customized solutions that allow them to go down this path.

What kind of clients and positions do you work with?

We work with a wide range of clients, companies that are part of global groups with international presence, Mexican companies in the process of internationalization and even companies on their way to institutionalization, our main expertise is in highly specialized management and executive positions.

Most of our clients belong to the following industry segments:

  1. Industrial, Engineering & Logistics (80%)
  2.  Pharma, Healthcare Care & Life Science (13%)
  3. FMCG, Retail & Luxury Goods (7%)

Positions levels searched for:

  1. Lower Management
  2. Functional Experts
  3. Directors

Disciplines:

  1. Operations
  2. Human Resources
  3. Sales
  4. Administration
  5. Finance
  6. Marketing
  7. Customer Service

How specifically do you handle international assignments?

 As part of a global organization, we receive international assignments that require our local expertise, and at the same time leveraging a global vision at all times.

The first thing we do when receiving an international referral is a meeting along with the partners who refer the potential client in order to know the scope of the project, how has been the overall process (formats, personality traits of the client in terms of negotiation, his/her profile) once this first stage has been completed we have a kick off session with our Client to understand in depth their requirements and to know better their expectation on what needs to be ¨tropicalized¨ and what needs to remain at its full essence.

We then put the pieces together, to develop a strategy that will allow us to fulfill any position required in this market, with the stamp of the best quality that can be matched at an international level.

Our tools, best practices, and global expertise shared between Partners always allow us to go a step further in every search. 

How would you describe the Executive Search market in Mexico?

Executive Search in Mexico has been impacted by the digital transformation and the challenges that companies must make more efficient use of their budgets.

Tools such as LinkedIn (and other social networks) have impacted globally and Mexico is no exception, however, despite the networks and AI, a great differentiator and added value is the expertise of our consultants, their deep knowledge and understanding of the client, needs, culture and the market.

I believe that the Mexican market as a common denominator will try to search autonomously, estimating that through networks they will achieve the identification of the ideal profile. Nevertheless, as time passes by, they end up realizing the internal searching process has taken them much more effort and resources than planned, at that moment they will decide to look for an ally. 

What makes AIMS International Mexico one of the absolute leading companies in the country in Executive Search?

We are aiming to be one of the big players / leaders in Executive Search.

  • Global Presence
  • International approach
  • Expertise in the field
  • Service completely focused and centered in the client (customized service)
  • Team of professionals and a collaborative culture

Mexico has happy, solidary, competitive people and good workers!

Cecilia Diaz

Thank you Cecilia for taking the time to speak with us and also thank you to the other team members in Mexico who contributed with research and facts for this article:

References

https://santandertrade.com/en/portal/analyse-markets/mexico/economic-political-outline

https://ndscognitivelabs.com/insight-mexico-the-new-global-technology-development-hub/

https://connectamericas.com/content/guadalajara-mexican-silicon-valley

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mexico-rises-as-a-global-hub-for-innovation-as-tech-start-ups-have-tripled-in-10-years-300814747.html

https://www.dallasfed.org/research/swe/2021/swe2101/swe2101c.aspx

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