But while the number of graduates in engineering has soared during the Calderon presidency, the number of Mexicans employed as engineers has grown only slightly, from 1.1 million in 2006 to 1.3 million in 2012.
“We’ve combined an aggressive government-sponsored production of engineers with no clear plan to put them to work,” said Roberto Rodriquez Gomez, a sociologist who studies education policy at the Autonomous National University of Mexico.
“The problem is that many companies in Mexico don’t want to hire an engineer who innovates; they want to hire a technician,” said Jorge Alcantara, 22, who commutes two hours each way to the National Polytechnic Institute.
Mexico is employing an outdated workforce development model. The goal is to train local people for local jobs. That was a great idea way back in 1910.
With excess engineers, Mexico should be more strategic about talent exports. If Mexican universities become well known in the United States for producing highly skilled employees, then the companies will move to the source of the graduates. The best way to get on the radar is to staff labor markets screaming talent shortage.