Aligning the Ambitions of Employers and EmployeesWed, 01/22/2014 - 17:50
Grupo Empresarial PAE came about as the result of an effort to consolidate several service companies that once operated independently. This has allowed the firm to cover a range of HR aspects, all of which are important to the proper running of a corporation, such as employee management and salary payments. “We take care of employees across a broad spectrum of possible needs,” says Fausto Muñíz Patiño, President of Grupo PAE. “Grupo PAE adapts to the individual needs of its clients to allow them to operate without any HR management distractions. We train, pay, and provide job security to our clients’ employees. Our collaboration with oil and gas companies through Grupo PAE’s sister company Contempo also provides portable dining facilities at sites where oil and gas companies set up operations,” he adds. Given how sensitive HR conditions are to the working conditions of each particular company, Muñíz Patiño explains that Grupo PAE focuses on one important differentiator in offering its services: location. “Our clients require our services at their locations, which is why we locate ourselves in the same city or directly in clients’ facilities to ensure a smooth process for the delivery of our services.”
Beyond this, Muñíz Patiño’s abiding priority is to help the oil and gas market to better understand the benefits that HR managers can bring to their operations. He says that HR companies agree that the Mexican oil and gas industry is facing a shortage in terms of technical and professional expertise. When positions cannot be filled by local talent, Grupo PAE’s clients are often forced to turn to professionals from the US, Colombia or Venezuela. Such workers have often gained experience in Mexico and abroad, working for PEMEX or other contractors. Grupo PAE has adapted to this reality and subsidizes part of the training costs for these new employees at worksites, while retaining a percentage of their salary to cover the subsidies.
A candidate’s nationality may be relevant but is not crucial for employers. Grupo PAE has understood how to best transmit the abilities and experience of its workforce regardless of nationalities. In so doing, it has hit upon those aspects of foreign workers that can either be beneficial or prove to be a hindrance. Language proficiency and experience on similar projects are obvious factors, but Muñíz Patiño says international perception also plays a part. “Mexican workers are regarded internationally as being hard-working, dedicated, and able to deliver results. We have found many Mexicans for key positions that demand a high level of trustworthiness. There is also a tendency to hire Mexican workers in the US because their wages are lower than their American counterparts but the quality of their work is just as good.” In addition, knowledge of Spanish is an asset in the American market due to the strong Latino culture.
Muñíz Patiño also understands that the industry’s generation gap is exacerbated at PEMEX, given the company’s dominance in hiring Mexico’s best oil and gas experts. He believes that PEMEX needs to put its employees through specific training courses and technical programs to better qualify them for needed positions. “If the Mexican government and its bodies do not work together to keep the local talent within the country, skilled workers will continue to choose other countries for their higher level education and training. It is currently more attractive for a Mexican student or worker to leave in order to obtain valuable skills abroad than to stay in the country. Mexican wages and job offers do not motivate individuals as much as the ones they can find elsewhere, particularly in countries that provide a higher quality of life.” Muñíz Patiño believes a strategy to mitigate this phenomenon is to allocate public funding to address this issue. Salaries must be increased and training options should be offered. In order to do this, however, employers must support their employees while having enough incentives to do this at their own expense.
A positive effect of the 2012 Labor Reform has been the increase in job offers, he admits, but work security has not improved in equal measure, and the lack of details in the reform has made employers cautious. This has had a counterproductive effect on competitiveness and investments although Grupo PAE is trying to bring order to the confusion by pushing its clients to implement employment contracts on different terms, including hourly, trial, and training contracts at every level. Muñíz Patiño says this would help to settle the minds of employer and employee alike.