At least 3.1 million Mexicans have a second job , according to data up to the second quarter of the year from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) . This represents around 5% of the employed population in the country. Some do it to complete a sufficient income to meet monthly expenses, others to have financial support and some more to grow their assets.
However, more than half of Mexicans earn minimum wage or less in their second occupation.
Another 2 million are looking for another job, and of these, 365,000 people do so with the aim of having two jobs, not just to change jobs. In some cases, this search is related to the precariousness of wages, in others, because there are people who have their own business or work in the family business.
Professionals become entrepreneurs
Graciela is a geophysical engineer, originally from Puebla, who for some years has had two jobs. One of them within his own company. This gives you two advantages: not being left without money in the event of ending an employment relationship and, when you work in both positions, having enough money to travel and satisfy your tastes and those of your family.
She is one of the 1.8 million Mexicans who work in a second job, as independent workers in the country, most of them in the tertiary sector.
“I started working when my children were born,” says Graciela, who provides engineering services to measure slope stability, an essential activity in civil engineering works, such as highway construction.
In the environment, he met companies and people who, after recognizing his professional work, contacted him for certain projects. This workflow, however, required Graciela to issue invoices and, in addition, due to her other work activities, she needed help from other colleagues.
So she decided to set up a company, hire an accountant and formalize her independent activity without leaving her other job. “There are very few days when I don’t have a job,” says Graciela.
He does not earn much more than his colleagues
The engineer considers that, despite both activities, her income is not higher than the average of professionals in her area. While in Mexico, 65% of Mexicans with two jobs receive a minimum wage or less in their second job, according to the National Survey of Occupation and Employment, with data up to the first quarter of 2022.
Of course, to ensure her financial stability and that of her business, Graciela assigns herself the lowest salary and uses it to pay for the most essential things in daily life. The rest of the income is reinvested to grow the company. And, the salary from the other job is used to buy his furniture, travel and as an emergency fund in case of illness or accident.
From family business to freelance
Benyi Sotelo studied Communication and Journalism at the FES Aragón and as soon as he finished his degree he began to gain experience in audiovisual productions. But his work history goes back to the time he was studying high school, in the family business, the Foto Studio Tauro, located in the Tacubaya neighborhood of Mexico City.
There he learned to work and generate income to pay for his studies. And it continues to do so to date, as it is a regular and constant job. But, at the same time, he offers his services independently, as a freelance, to shoot and take photographs in the field, for various projects.
“I have been able to get clients from outside the company, who suddenly offer me work, but if it were to disappear, or the family business, my economic situation would be a bit compromised, although there are possibilities that I could get ahead with just one of them , the freelance world takes many turns, for better and for worse”, says Benyi about the hypothetical case of being left without one of his jobs.
Benyi believes that his level of income is very ad hoc with what it means to be a freelancer in this country, but he acknowledges that as a freelancer he can make two full weeks of work double or triple what one of his colleagues would earn with a fixed office salary.
“The fees are very low even so, many other colleagues squander the work, they almost give away their services as long as they are hired, and based on this, many companies that require our services are governed by these low budgets, and when one raises their prices, they prefer to go for someone who charges them cheap,” estimates Benyi, who would only be determined to leave one of his jobs when a “giant” opportunity arrives, in which his time, effort and 100% dedication are recognized.
Another advantage of being a freelancer is your free time, as it gives you the opportunity to be absent from work at times and be at family gatherings, hang out with friends and even play video games every other Monday morning.