What is the role of Mexico in the global business strategy of the company?
Mexico is extremely important to the company. Kelly's Mexico operations are ranked between fifth and seventh out of all the group's global operations. Kelly has been operating in Mexico for 30 years across 17 industries. The industries with the greatest investment are automotive, aerospace, high technology, science, natural resources, and finance. We work in these six industries, which is why we have over 12,000 employees in Mexico. We do not have physical facilities throughout the country, but representatives. We have operations on site, and this sets us apart. Since we are close to our clients, we understand the needs of the client and look at how to evolve our services.
How does the new labor reform affect the industries where you have presence?
The labor reform has extremely positive benefits. More than 500 articles mainly related to labor justice and freedom of association were reformed. This is a consequence of the USMCA, the new trade agreement between Mexico, the US, and Canada. Freedom of association puts all three players on equal footing and allows them to compete with other regions of the world in better conditions.
What is the next step for Kelly in Mexico when it comes to human resources?
The world of work is changing, and at Kelly, we are aware that we have to keep up if we want to be successful. After 73 years in the market, Kelly Services is ready to identify the way people wants to work today and rebrand accordingly. We believe in promoting independent and non-traditional working styles to match the new workforce dynamic. People today are searching for experiences, knowledge, and a company whose values matches theirs. We must accept that today's talent is much more qualified. The new generation does not live to work but works to live.
What has been the response of national and international companies in Mexico to non-traditional work structures?
The independent work scheme is different from the flexible work scheme. Independent work in Mexico has certain limitations because it is not regulated. One of the reasons why organizations do not adopt independent workstyles is that they are afraid of being non-compliant. On the other hand, they have not understood it culturally, and subsequently have not developed processes that help in its implementation. In Mexico, organizations seek to promote formal work and then move toward non-traditional work styles. Mexico has already taken the first step as a country. Article 311 of the Federal Labor Law considers telecommuting or home office. We are evolving in that direction, though we cannot promote independent work until it is properly legislated. We are behind in comparison to other countries, but we are well on our way. Notably, Kelly Services surveyed more than 200 decision-makers in different industries in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, and America and found that 65% of those decision-makers employ independent workers. Asia Pacific is the most developed region in this field, followed by the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region and Latin America. Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico are more developed than the US in this regard. Today, one-third of the world's workers are freelancers. According to statistics, in the next five years, work on demand will grow by almost 20%. Modern workers want to invest in their training and development and look for work-life balance.
What are your plans for Mexico for 2020?
Mexico's economy grew by 0.3% in 4Q2018 and 0.1% in 1Q2019. 2019 did not represent a growth in sales, but a growth in productivity and efficiency. For 2020, we have a conservative, single-digit growth target. We hope the stability generated by the actions of the government will be reflected in the economy. The Mexican business sector supports the government, and the government is keen to maintain a healthy dialogue with the sector.