Gabriel Aparicio
Country Manager
Kelly Services
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View from the Top

What Companies Want from Their Talent

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 15:10

Q: What added value can a global company like Kelly Services provide the local market?

A: We just celebrated our 71st anniversary and we have been present in Mexico for 27 years. This has allowed us to understand Mexico’s human capital and integrate global best practices into our local operations. Our mission is to connect talent with work, and our vision is to become the best company at doing this. Kelly Services’ clients can be sure we will always work with their best interests in mind, following strategies that comply with the country’s regulations. Our service-oriented approach is a key part of our strategy that is based on the ARRIVE methodology: analyze, review, refine, introduce, validate and execute. We analyze the conditions of the company, review the company’s needs, refine the potential solution we can offer, introduce it to the client, validate and execute it. The process follows a continuous improvement and is supported by standard operating processes and quarterly revisions.

Q: What are the most pressing human capital needs for aerospace companies in Mexico?

A: Mexico’s economic growth has been supported by FDI in six main industries: electronics, plastics, chemical, oil and gas, automotive and aerospace. Thriving FDI has provoked a change in Mexico’s talent landscape, growing demand and leading companies to search for specialization. Kelly Services works across six industries: automotive, aerospace, healthcare, advanced technology, financing and oil and gas. Our responsibility is to map talent regardless of the industry in order to ensure availability to our clients. At the moment, most companies are demanding engineering directors, project directors, plant managers, quality and service managers. Human resources is also a popular area in terms of talent, as companies look for the best way to retain their people.

Within the aerospace sector, mechanics and electronics specializations are the most in demand, as well as professionals focused on industrial and aeronautics engineering. In this sector, quality is crucial, which means that candidates must be extremely responsible and dedicated to their job. English is also a must due to the constant information and material exchange between Mexico and the US, along with strong teamwork and the ability to learn quickly. We have also found that companies look for people who can solve complex problems, have a critical mind, creativity and adaptability.

Q: What is your opinion regarding new graduates and their technical capabilities?

A: Our experience in talent sourcing helps us identify specialized talent according to what the client is looking for. However, when companies do not require such specialized people, our suggestion is to always go for new graduates, either from university or technical institutions. These people are eager to learn and participate in the industry.

Having said that, Mexico faces a challenging situation in terms of human capital development and education. Almost 50 percent of all new graduates are not prepared to address the industry’s needs. As a result, people who know they have the right skills and training are always looking for the company that offers the best deal and the most attractive compensation plan. Corporations prefer to grow talent inhouse but they are not afraid to look for capable people in other companies or even in other industries. In this environment, it is crucial for companies to know how to best retain their people.

Q: What would be Kelly Services’ advice to universities and technical schools to improve the academic preparation of Mexican talent?

A: Innovation and generation of scientific knowledge are two key economic drivers, both of which are closely linked to the quality of a country’s human talent. Mexico needs to stop being a country with access to technology and innovation, and become a region that generates knowledge and added value. The government, academia and the private sector must work together to develop highlevel researchers, scientists and engineers who also have a performance-oriented vision.

All three branches must learn to identify new types of leadership and conduct people to an environment of innovation and knowledge generation. At the same time, the government, academia and the industry need to understand that work conditions have changed and they must embrace flexibility as a standard for the new generation of workers. Establishing training and career development plans should also be a priority for companies. Schools and universities only plant the seed for knowledge; companies are the ones that help people specialize. Right now, there is a gap between what academia can teach and the level of innovation companies manage, especially considering the growing Industry 4.0 trend. Therefore, companies must share their knowledge through professional practices and multidisciplinary training.

Q: What are your expectations for the aerospace sector in Mexico?

A: The Mexican automotive industry is currently established within a polygon delimited by Baja California Norte, Tamaulipas, Puebla and Jalisco. The aerospace sector is inside that area, clustered mainly in Baja California Norte, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, El Bajio and State of Mexico. The industry has developed significantly thanks to Mexico’s privileged geographic position and we expect it to keep growing. There are over 270 companies employing more than 45,000 people. The challenge for the country is to ensure that the level of specialization the sector requires can be met with local talent.

Companies should not look for skilled people abroad. However, the only way for this not to happen is to improve the national education system. The number of engineering and science graduates must be congruent with the needs of companies. Meanwhile, academic plans must be developed in line with the industry’s requirements, not only in the main aerospace clusters but across the country. If companies need workers in Baja California, then talent should come from Baja California universities.